Saturday, February 13, 2010

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew - Good or Bad for Addiction

Celebrity Alcoholics and Addicts in Rehab on a Reality Show

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Pinsky was a reality show about addiction started in January 2008. Dr. Drew hoped Celebrity Rehab would help save lives, dispel ignorance about addiction, and show that going to rehab isn't a 21-day vacation from your problems; drug rehab is hard, emotional work, and addiction treatment is only the beginning of the long road to recovery.

A reality show.  Celebrities.  Rehab.  A mix of men and women from a variety of backgrounds with one thing in common -- addiction. Celebrities who've lost their children, careers, job offers, beauty, fame, fortune, and much more. Celebrity Rehab showing celebrity addicts coping with addictions going through withdrawal and rehab was sure to air some crazy, wild television.

Some viewers may ask if Celebrity Rehab is merely a scripted reality show made by blood-sucking vulturous vampires preying on celebrity drug addicts and alcoholics lining everyone's pockets to produce the show.  The truth is there is incentive for the celebrities to agree to go to rehab and publicize their detox and addiction treatment process. These celebrity addicts and alcoholics who agree to go to rehab at Pasadena Recovery Center not only get free treatment (worth approximately $50,000 to $60,000) and receive a prorated stipend once per week to stay on Celebrity Rehab and continue with their addiction treatment.

Maybe the money is the reason they agree to go to rehab, some celebrities have lost their fame, family, wealth, careers, and tried repeatedly to stop using drugs. I know addicts, alcoholics, cravings, withdrawal, rehab, relapse, recovery, so if getting these celebrities into free treatment and paying them incentive money to stay can help them then maybe it's worth it.

Dr. Drew stated in an interview that the media exploits addiction and addicted celebrities, and I agree. He uses Britney Spears as an example.  She is parading around partying, but the media and paparazzi are only interested in taking the most embarrassing photo or video to degrade her.  Dr. Drew is a physician who specialized in addiction medicine and treats all sorts of people with addiction, including dual diagnosis.  He treats celebrity addicts, but the Pasadena Recovery Center is not just a "celebrity" alcohol and drug treatment center. I don't believe Dr. Drew Pinsky had any malicious intent or a goal to harm any of the alcohol or drug dependent substance abusers who came through his doors for rehab.

The purpose of Celebrity Rehab was to raise awareness about addiction, likely using celebrity drug addicts to attract viewers, however after relapses and five celebrities who died surrounding a relapse, Dr. Drew Pinsky decided to end the show because of the media criticism blaming him for five celebrities who died after their appearance on Celebrity Rehab. Celebrity or not, a stay in rehab does not cure addiction, and relapse rates are high; because these celebrities appeared on the show and then passed away they are forever tied to the show.  There were many celebrities who were helped by Celebrity Rehab and went from rock bottom to working again and living in recovery.

People claim Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab is not about helping addicts, it's bad for addiction, and a way to exploit addiction by using celebrities.  If Celebrity Rehab wasn't about people recovering from addiction, but instead recovering from cancer I wonder if Dr. Drew's show would have undergone such scrutiny.  Addiction is a disease but addicts in remission aren't celebrated like a cancer patient.

Watch Celebrity Rehab and decide for yourself whether the show helped or hurt addicts and the perception of addiction.  Some scenes may seem overdone, but the truth is your watching people publicly struggle with addiction and drug abuse, some for the first time, and even though they're celebrities, they are still addicts, real people going through real detox and treatment.

Be Safe.