Though people dream of a career in the middle of the fame and glamour of Hollywood, there is a dark side to the glitter and gold. Drug addiction has affected many of the Hollywood greats, past and present. While some people working as professionals in the spotlight might be able to acclimate to the constant attention, they all have different ways of dealing with the unique pressures of working as a professional entertainer.
It is always interesting to consider that, of the over 22 million people in the United States that need drug addiction treatment, many of them work in the entertainment industry. Very few people can understand the enormous responsibilities and expectations that contemporary celebrities face everyday, but educating yourself about the power of drug and alcohol addiction is a great start.
Public Drug Abuse Struggles
Any journey to lifelong sobriety has a string of dark moments that you might not want to be publicly exposed. When you’re battling drug and alcohol addiction, there are no holds barred, and everything about you is vulnerable to exposure to friends and family.
Take that to the next level: a publicist may be tasked with protecting their client’s privacy, but entertainment journalists are as ferocious as they are persistent: the ‘paparazzi’ have been known to hide in various places in an effort to snap a photo of a famous person in their day-to-day activities. A famous photograph of Robert Downey, Jr. chasing away an entertainment news photographer made its rounds on the internet a couple of years ago, sometime before the release of Iron Man, a step that took him to his previous recent distinction as the world’s highest-paid actor.
Robert Downey, Jr., though, is an excellent example of how the face of drug addiction can change with the times: despite Downey, Jr. coming to fame during a time when the country was pulling itself out of the Crack Epidemic, the rising Opioid Crisis is what affected him deeply. It was in the early 2000s, when the Opioid Crisis finally began to garner the attention that it deserves, that Downey, Jr. finally got the help that he needed, and went on to continued success.
Britney Spears also struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol, as did Amanda Bynes, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson. Robert Downey, Jr.’s appearance, unlike a stereotypical addicted person, did not so drastically change that he was found out. Though he had a history of misbehaving or pulling a stunt every once in a while, he was never the frail, translucent wisp of a man that we typically see in movies – he remained robust, and healthy-looking, at least, on camera. Knowing that Downey, Jr. was living with addiction to drugs and alcohol means changing the way that we think an addicted person looks. All of the struggles of the stars are media sensations, and make the struggles of those lucky enough to survive even more trying.
Dr. Drew Pinsky, a famous doctor, raises an interesting truth: this struggle is widespread throughout the entertainment industry, and it’s not just the most famous people. Rising actors and actresses will also often fall to the pressures of Hollywood, and lapse into addiction to drugs and alcohol.
The trick, according to Dr. Drew, is that an addicted celebrity, like any other addicted person, learns quickly how to keep their habit a secret – at least, for a little while. When it spins out of control, though, their work is affected, and they can’t escape every reporter’s questions.
When you’re a celebrity, drug and alcohol addiction may render you unable to leave your home, but home is a place where the habits can manifest, and conquer you. While a variety of 12-Step programs exist to assist anyone who is ready to transition to a life free of drug and alcohol addiction, privacy issues may not provide the type of environment necessary for a person in the spotlight to recover thoroughly. The added stress of media coverage during what should be a peaceful, productive recovery can drive a person to relapse, putting their health and their lives at risk yet again.
History is Telling
Nothing about the widespread use of drugs in Hollywood is new to Hollywood’s history. The long history of drug abuse in Hollywood began as early as the silent film era. During this time, many famous actors and actresses were exposed to a variety of drugs. Professional athletes, it turns out, aren’t the only group that use performance-enhancing and endurance drugs.
The studio culture of the Golden Age of Hollywood was filled with drugs given to actors and stage crew to keep them going for days that could last fifteen to twenty hours. Elizabeth Taylor vividly remembers receiving pills that kept her awake from morning to night, and then receiving pills that put her to sleep for a short time before she was awakened to take the ‘upper’ pills.
Debbie Reynolds, star of the classic movie, “Dancing in the Rain,” pulled away from that culture, listening to her own medical team, and avoided the addiction that she witnessed in so many people around her. As these pills continued to make their way through Tinseltown, other drugs habits developed, as cocaine and heroin took over in the 1970s and 80s as the stimulants of choice for Hollywood. Today, Megan Fox has commented that she knows very few people in the industry, besides herself, who don’t regularly use drugs and alcohol.
Drug and Alcohol Rehab for the Elite
There is no cure for drug and alcohol addiction, and healing doesn’t take place overnight. Choosing the right rehabilitation center for your needs, no matter how great your needs are, is the best thing that you can do for yourself, and for your family. If you’re a person in the public eye and seeking a private place to heal, there are dozens of amazing and hidden gems that will make your journey to lifelong sobriety a good one.
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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 866.893.6816.