People dream of being rich and famous when they’re young. The thrill, the lights, the action, the attention, the wealth; though people dream of a career in the middle of the fame that Hollywood offers, there is a dark side to the glitz and glam. Drug addiction has affected many of the Hollywood greats, both past and present. While some people working as professionals in the spotlight might be able to adjust accordingly to the constant attention, they all have different ways of dealing with the unique pressures of constantly being in the spotlight. It is always interesting to consider that, of the 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

drugs and the eliteAny journey to lifelong sobriety has dark moments that you might not want publicly exposed. When you’re battling drug and alcohol addiction, everything about you is vulnerable to exposure to friends and family. Now let’s 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, hoping to catch them in a compromising instance that the tabloids will eat right up. 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. is  actually 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 fail, 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 those struggles of those lucky enough to survive even more trying.

The Struggle

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 addiction to 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. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888.512.1705.

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