We’ve all grown up watching movies and television shows wondering what it could be like to be on one. The life of a celebrity appears so glamorous and luxurious we can’t help but wonder if we could live the same kind of lifestyle. Being in blockbuster films, performing on stages to millions of people, posing for a photoshoot, living in the Hollywood hills sounds wonderful to most people. The life of a celebrity seems worry and trouble-free, but is this always the case? Short answer, no it isn’t. Just because a person lives a life that is seemingly more luxurious than our own doesn’t mean they’re happier than us. Money and fame are not the sources of happiness. Though many of these celebrities appear to be living their best lives based on the outward appearance, that doesn’t mean they’re omitted from the same struggles that other people deal with. In this case, we are of course talking about addiction. Addiction in Hollywood is a very real issue and many people in the celebrity spotlight do suffer from this. But, we must ask ourselves, how does someone who seemingly has it all develop this sort of habit?
First, What is Addiction?
Before we really get into why these individuals are seemingly more vulnerable to developing an addiction, let’s discuss what addiction is and the science behind it.
Addiction is a disease that directly affects a person psychologically and physiologically. When a person flirts with substance use, they are inviting a deadly disease into their lives. Even one-time use of drugs or alcohol can increase a person’s chances of developing a substance abuse disorder. If someone starts to use substances more and more frequently, they could easily develop an addiction and dependence on their substance of choice. This sort of issue can lead to long-term psychological and physiological health problems if left untreated. Memory loss, serious health deterioration, cancer, insomnia, withdrawal, and schizophrenia are just some of the few things that often come about from prolonged, untreated addiction. But, these sorts of consequences only come about if a person becomes consumed by addiction and lets a substance control their life. So, how does all this relate to celebrities?
Celebrities vs. Addiction
Whenever we hear of a celebrity being put in jail or passing away, we often think to ourselves, “Alright, which was it? Drugs or alcohol?” Though this is a valid question, it’s important to not reinforce the stigma that is associated with addiction. Many of us grew up being taught that addiction was a choice, but this is not necessarily the case. Addiction is not easily controlled, thus making it a disease. If we see a celebrity frequently being put in the clink for DUIs, we often think they’re just being reckless and dumb. Yes, these actions are reckless and can endanger themselves and others, but we shouldn’t be so quick to judge. We may think we know what kind of lives these people live, but in all reality which just see what the media shows us, which is often extremely surface level. Even outside of this, it can be hard for people to understand why a person would actively abuse substances if it just winds them up in trouble. We’re here to help you better understand some possible reasons why these people may start abusing substances, regardless of their seemingly perfect lives.
Why Do They Fall Into Addiction?
It’s hard for someone on the outside looking in to understand why a person would abuse substances. But let’s look at some possible reasons as to why celebrities are seemingly so vulnerable to substance abuse:
- Reason #1: Easy Access To Substances – The Hollywood elite have no shortage of money and social influence. Because of this, they have an easier time acquiring substances than someone outside of Hollywood would. Because they have a more disposable income, the cost of drugs or alcohol may not be a huge concern. This means they can get however much they want, whenever they want, without the worry of cost.
- Reason #2: The Public Eye – Celebrities are constantly being watched by fans, the media, and other Hollywood stars. Sometimes, public opinion can weigh heavy on a person and cause them to seek out unhealthy coping mechanisms. They may turn to drugs or alcohol if start to have feelings of worthlessness, isolation, depression, etc.
- Reason #3: Peer Influence – It’s no secret that drug and alcohol abuse if a rampant issue among celebrities. Even if you’ve heard stories of celebrities being caught with drugs or on drugs, you’ve likely heard stories from others who were former addicts. With that in mind, it’s reasonable to assume that some of these people fall victim to peer influence. Young, impressionable actors may look to see what their fellow thespians/musicians are doing and adapt in order to fit in. This often happens with child stars like Macaulay Culkin, Shia LaBeouf, Drew Barrymore, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez.
- Reason #4: Family History/Genetics – A little known fact is that addiction can actually be genetic. If a person has parents or grandparents who have struggled with addiction in the past, they become much more likely to develop a substance use disorder. This reason is not exclusive to celebrities alone, but it plays a key role in the development of addiction for any person.
Hope For Hollywood
Though addiction is a very grim and sad topic, there is always hope that shines through. In Hollywood, there are some A-List celebrities who are leading the charge against addiction and sharing their stories in hopes of saving others. Just to name a few: Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga, Russel Brand, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Alec Baldwin, Elton John, and Robert Downey Jr. are some of the biggest names for sober advocacy. Each one of these individuals struggled with some kind of substance abuse disorder at some point in their lives and they came out on top after they realized just how great of an effect it was having on their lives. Through their advocacy, Hollywood could start to change for the better. Here’s to hoping we see a major change in Hollywood this decade.
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