Celebrities and Addiction – A Brief Look at the Ugly Side of Being Famous

Addiction has been a problem for centuries, but it’s only in modern days that people became more preoccupied with finding ways to overcoming it. The more scientists look into it, the more they discover the numerous factors affecting addiction.

One of the many findings about addiction is that addiction knows no sex, social or financial status or age. No matter if you’re a CEO, doctor, famous Hollywood star, or regular Joe, you may develop an addiction at some point in your life. As a matter of fact, celebrities may have a higher risk of becoming addicts than regular people.

Celebrities and drug addiction

It’s a known fact that addiction and overdosing can affect all people, and personalities make no exception. Actors, reality TV stars, musicians, and high-profile individuals have been dealing with substance abuse and overdosing. Truth be told, addiction is tragic for all people, but celebrities get under the public eye a lot more than regular folks.

We’re continually reading about celebrities and addictions; we hear about their traumatic battle with alcohol or drugs. It’s everywhere we look and everything we hear about, so it makes perfect sense for us to think that addiction is more common amongst famous people than ordinary people.

However, people working in the entertainment industry have taken a good look at the numbers and realized that the addiction rates among famous people are the same as in society at large. Surprisingly, there’s a higher risk for people working in the hospitality industry to develop an addiction than for those in the entertainment and arts industry.

Why do celebrities turn to drugs and substance abuse?

What is hard for us to understand is that celebrities are also humans, and they have no magic powers. They’re just exposed to addiction like all of us, and face common problems just the same. Some professionals warn that celebrities may even incur a higher risk of developing dependence due to their relentless lifestyle, challenging job, and pressure. It’s easy for them to have access to drugs, and money is seldom an issue. But it’s also easier for them to look for solutions, as they have the financial power to enroll in fancy healing programs that have a better chance of solving their dependence. Lindsay Lohan went to a Ayahuasca retreat in the jungle back in 2014, and she described the experience as “dying and being reborn,” and an opportunity to “part with the wreckage of the past”.

It’s difficult to see it from the couch at home, but celebrities live under an impressive amount of pressure since they have to perform amazingly at all times. They’re not allowed to make any mistakes (not even when it comes to dressing when they walk their pet), let alone to start abusing substances or drugs. Constant feelings of depression, anxiety, and inadequacy are common in famous people.

Now that you get a glimpse of the pressure and stress they’re dealing with, you get to comprehend why they turn to drugs and substance. It’s the famous “stress + relief = repetition” that professionals talk about. Celebrities often end up self-medicating for alleviating stress. When the body feels the anxiety, sadness, or unease, it’s going to crave substances. But once the addiction to drugs occurs, being famous may worsen the addiction since the financial aspects aren’t there to stop them from abusing. People providing them drugs are practically all around, and some have no moral issues giving them drugs. Assistants providing medicines to their famous employers is no news, and they take advantage for sure.

Do celebrities end up overdosing in Hollywood?

The longer the addiction lasts, the higher the risk for a celebrity to deal with harmful consequences and even drug overdose. Sadly, we hear about stars dying from drug abuse or conditions related to drug abuse all the time. Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, Marylin Monroe, or Philip Seymour Hoffman are only some of the many celebrities who died from an overdose.

Drug overdose doesn’t always kill, and we have Burt Reynolds, Eminem, or Pink to prove it. It can be, nevertheless, a wake-up call and a chance for one to start the healing process.

Even if addiction, deaths related to it, and publicity, addiction is still a common problem among celebrities and regular people as well. Heath Ledger, who lost the fight with drugs in 2006, talked about how drugs and alcohol are instead praised and not blamed in the entertainment business. It’s probably one of the reasons for which people in the entertainment business start using and abusing in the first place.

Do celebrities advocate against drug and substance abuse?

Many famous people dealt with addiction at some point in their life, and they have been encouraged to advocate in anti-drug programs. It’s the case of Melissa Gilbert, who struggled with both alcohol and drugs. Her struggle made her involvement in plans for parents, guiding their children through drug abuse and recovery from dependence. She was both the kid and the parent, so she gets a good understanding of the complexity of addiction amongst parents and children alike.

Having his son arrested and imprisoned for drug-related charges, Jackie Chan instantly turned into an anti-drug activist. He was determined to put his entire energy to good use, encouraging young people to stay away from drugs. He sustained the efforts of drug control policies on helping children and teens not to become addicted.

All in all, celebrities possess a fantastic position to address the public. They have incredible power to get to their fans, spreading the word on addiction and how to heal it.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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