Drug addiction is often considered a problem found in low socio-economic sectors of society, but in reality anyone, at any age in life, is at risk for addiction. Some of the most wealthy and affluent people, because of their lifestyle and social settings, may actually be at greater risk for exposure to drugs at a young age. Combining this with pressure to perform and to not simply become a name of the past can create mental and emotional stress, particularly for those that may not have the support they need to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Child stars in the movie and television industry seem to be particularly at risk for alcohol and drug addictions. This may be because of the intense public adoration that is placed on kids at a very young age. Children struggle to try to find a “normal”, which often means they have to continually get that big part, continue to do well in life and be all things to all people. This pressure, combined with readily available drugs, can be a deadly combination.
While many child stars are still battling drug addiction in very public ways, others have had their lives ended far too early because of the addiction or a combination of drug and alcohol abuse. This list includes such celebrities as Corey Haim, River Phoenix, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, Judy Garland and Dana Plato to name just a few. Looking at the names it is easy to see this is not a new problem and drug abuse and child starts has been an issue for years.
The sad fact for many of these young stars is that the adults in their life that are supposed to protect them may be at the heart of their addiction. Parents, managers and co-stars often promote the use of drugs through their own behavior and addiction issues. They may turn a blind eye to their child’s drug use because keeping the child happy means ensuring a huge income; allowing them to live the life they desire.
Many of the child stars with public drug and alcohol addictions have long standing feuds with their families or one or more of their parents. These stars often use alcohol and drugs as a way to deal with the stress, depression and emptiness that is so typical of children that feel abandoned, used and unloved by their parents. This group includes stars such as Lindsay Lohan, Drew Barrymore and Macaulay Culkin, all who ended up with significant and very public drug addictions as well as ongoing family issues.
Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life, Love & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your free E book “Filling The Empty Heart” and your “Are You a Love Addict Quiz?” at www.sherrygaba.com Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Take Sherry’s quiz for a free eBook Filling the Empty Heart: 5 Keys to Transforming Love Addiction.