With the recent passing of singer Whitney Houston, 48, the celebrity world’s wound of addiction is torn open once again. Immediately after her death, rumors swelled that it must have involved the drugs that she battled throughout her career. In truth, it did involve these drugs and her name was etched onto a memoriam list that included Billie Holiday, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, John Belushi, Amy Winehouse, and Elvis.
Are celebrities more prone to addiction because of the pressure of being in the worldwide spotlight or do they seem to be more prone to addiction because everyone hears about their addiction? Some would argue that celebrity performance pressure could equate with the emotional stress of raising a family while working two jobs that together still don’t pay all the bills. Does their income and lifestyle just make it easier to acquire the drugs they crave?
While celebrities have more advantages than the average person, they still suffer from the same physical and emotional impacts of addiction. And, like the average person, they need therapy and treatment in order to overcome the disease and move on to a healthier lifestyle.
Celebrity Advantages Lead to Disadvantages of Addiction
Guns N’Roses bass player, Duff McKagan, 48, believes that celebrities may be more prone to addiction because of the advantages they have over the average person. His belief is echoed by others.
- Money – The average person may steal from family members to scrape up the money for drugs and sometimes only stop using because they run out of money. Celebrities have excess amounts of money to feed their addiction until the breaking point.
- Access – Celebrities don’t have to find their drugs on the street. The drugs come to them.
- Social Acceptance – Celebrity parties often invite the use of drugs. It is socially acceptable to use drugs with friends and associates with no embarrassment.
- Time – Time at work can involve drug use.
Nothing is Secret
Although it seems there are more recent reports of celebrities suffering from addiction, it may just be because today’s social media and news media has everyone connected with the latest information. The public heard about the tragedies of Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland, but how many more celebrities suffered addiction in silence and, in their attempt to hide it, gave up on any idea of treatment? While some celebrities may not fear using substances in front of friends, they still may fear admitting that they have a disease that must be treated.
The Show Must Go On – Recovery
Several celebrities attributed their recoveries to a few of the same instigators and knew that without proper treatment and therapy they couldn’t manage their life. Talk show host Wendy Williams, actress Mackenzie Phillips, and singer Steven Tyler admitted the substances were consuming them and if they didn’t stop, they would die. Celebrities also mentioned something or someone that made them want to live. McKagan couldn’t watch his mother endure any more pain because of his dangerous addiction.
Actress/writer Carrie Fisher, 55, tried to escape her addiction by doing everything from sky-diving to mountain climbing to cure her addictions. It wasn’t until she used electroshock therapy that she finally felt "mentally sound."
Success stories are still emerging. Lindsay Lohan and Robert Downey Jr. are just a few more celebrities who have let rehab treat them and who have found their stardom in both their professional and personal lives once again.