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Celebrity Abuses - Why Do They Do It?

Updated on August 21, 2015


People love celebrities, and most of the time they also love to see celebrities fall. Celebrity gossip thrives on it. It’s generally assumed that celebrities have an ideal life of money and fame, yet when they are found to be abusing drugs or alcohol the public tends to turn on them as though they were weak. The celebrity lifestyle is much more difficult than many would imagine, however, and that added pressure can be what sends many celebrities spiraling down the path to self-destruction or worse.

The main thing that many people seem to have problems understanding when it comes to celebrities who abuse sexually, abuse drugs or alcohol is that people who are famous are still just people. Regardless of how much money they have or how well known they are, they still have to deal with the pressures of everyday life… unfortunately, they have to do it while in the public eye, with millions watching and waiting for them to fall.

Paris Hilton

This image was originally posted to Flickr by casasroger at It was reviewed on 20:33, 08 January 2007 by FlickreviewR, and confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.
This image was originally posted to Flickr by casasroger at It was reviewed on 20:33, 08 January 2007 by FlickreviewR, and confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

Understanding Celebrity Abusers

There are many things that can lead celebrities to abuse drugs or alcohol, just like you can find in all walks of life. The main difference is that in short, celebrity comes at the price of having to live their lives under a microscope, with the media watching for celebrity pictures to add to their celebrity gallery pafges, and the public watching their every move for the slightest misstep. Celebrity hairstyles are world news! This added pressure can lead a number of celebrities to drink heavily or to experiment with drugs in an attempt to remain carefree and forget about the attention that they receive for a little while.

Of course, some celebrities also fall into the pitfalls of drug or alcohol abuse as a reaction to suddenly becoming famous and not being able to handle the attention. They may go from struggling in their career to suddenly having the world at their feet, and as they are unaccustomed to having the world at their feet and every vice that they might want to try within arms’ reach it can be quite easy for them to overindulge. As their overindulgence reaches the point where it’s out of control, they may be too caught up in their new lifestyle to notice until it’s too late.

Common Celebrity Abuses

Though celebrities can usually get access to any number of substances that they could abuse, those who develop problems usually have a relatively low number of substances which they develop a dependence for. The majority of celebrity abuse scandals involve either celebrity gossip about how they abuse drugs such as alcohol or cocaine, and occasionally hard drugs such as heroin, meth, or crack cocaine as well. Marijuana is also a common drug used by celebrities, though it generally does not pose an actual risk of chemical dependency so it isn’t considered to be abused like many other drugs.

Of course, in many cases celebrities don’t simply abuse a single drug but instead frequently abuse multiple drugs at once. Alcohol is quite often used in conjunction with harder drugs, leading to potentially dangerous situations for the celebrity while putting both their career and public image in jeopardy.

Celebrity Abuses and Public Relations

Obviously, when a celebrity develops a problem with abusing drugs or alcohol then it can be a public relations nightmare. Often celebrities will be able to hide their substance abuse for at least a little while, but as the signs of abuse become more and more obvious then rumors will begin even if they have not had any public incidents regarding their substance problems. These rumors can have a negative impact on their career as well as their public image, and if they do have an actual substance abuse problem it can make it that much more difficult to hide it.

With most celebrities who battle with drug or alcohol abuse, they find that they can only keep it hidden for so long. Eventually there will be some sort of public problem which will “out” them to the media, be it an arrest for driving under the influence, an accident which occurred while they were using drugs or drunk, or simply being caught by photographers severely intoxicated or strung out. When this happens, there’s little that they can do but admit that they have a problem and try to do as much damage control as possible in order to prevent it from completely killing their career. It may take years for their career to completely recover, during which time they will generally be watched very closely by the media and the public for the slightest signs that they are abusing drugs or alcohol again.

Of course, not all celebrities will try to shield themselves from the bad publicity that they receive… depending upon the extent of their problem they may try to ignore it or in some cases will even act up more in response to it. Some celebrities end up taking a “me against the world” approach to their abuse and the public’s reaction to it, never realizing that the drugs or alcohol is the very thing that is causing their negative public image. This sort of reaction can be the worst for the celebrity and those close to them, as they don’t have the motivation needed to seek help for their addictions and may actually dive deeper into their cycles of abuse as a means of escaping the additional stress of their situation.

Britney Spears

Celebrities Seeking Help

Luckily, most celebrities who are having problems with the abuse of drugs or alcohol are able to realize that they do in fact have a problem and will seek help. Others may be forced into treatment programs as part of a court judgment (if they are arrested or have other legal problems as a result of their substance abuse.) In some cases the celebrities in question may even be made to enter a treatment or rehabilitation program by an agent, manager, or other individual who is influential in their career… this is often done not only to get them the help that they need, but also to try and serve as a bit of positive public relations to offset any negative publicity that they gained through their substance abuse.

The type of treatment program that celebrities enter can vary greatly depending upon the substances that they have been abusing and the circumstances under which they are seeking assistance. If the celebrity in question has been having problems with alcohol, then they might enter a well-known program such as Alcoholics Anonymous where they can have a sponsor to help them get over the compulsion to drink. Other options might include entering a rehab facility designed to get them off of alcohol and working productively on self-improvement in a controlled environment. For hard drugs or narcotics, they may seek a medical treatment facility which can help them to get through withdrawal symptoms and assist them with the transition from drug addiction to sobriety. Of course, the specific programs that different celebrities enter depend largely upon the substance addiction that they’re trying to overcome and the conditions that led to them seeking treatment and rehabilitation. Depending upon the program that they enter, the specific details of their treatment and the activities that they will take part in as a part of it may differ greatly as well.

Celebrity Tragedy

Unfortunately, not all cases of celebrity drug abuse have happy endings. Some celebrities end up consumed by their darker side and sink deeper and deeper into their addictions until they overdose or certain parts of their bodies simply can’t hold out any longer. A great many talented actors, musicians, and other celebrities have ended up dying because of their excesses, leaving nothing behind except another example of a life ended way too soon.

Worse yet, many of the celebrities who have died due to drug overdoses or an excess of alcohol are considered by many to be some of the more talented individuals of their generation. Individuals such as John Belushi entertain and inspire those who come after them, and this can also lead to potential substance abuse problems in the next generation of celebrities as well. Take Chris Farley as an example… his energy and presence were often compared to Belushi’s, and it was well known that Farley was a huge fan of Belushi’s work. He ended up following the path of Belushi’s rise to fame a bit too closely, and wound up getting pulled down into the same spiral of drugs and excess that had killed his hero.

Even if the celebrities in question don’t end up dying from their substance abuse, other tragedies can befall them if they aren’t careful. Overuse of drugs and alcohol can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, and damage to organs such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs. Car accidents can lead to paralysis or permanent injury, as well as the death or injury of loved ones who are in the car at the time that the accident occurs. Users of drugs such as heroin which are injected into the body can also face infection of life-threatening diseases, including hepatitis C or HIV. Sometimes the tragedies that befall celebrities who are abusing drugs or alcohol wind up being worse than just death.

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