Charlie Sheen Suffers from DIGFAST (mania)
Are you sick of Charlie Sheen? Charlie isn't sick of Charlie Sheen -- not by a long shot. But Charlie Sheen is sick. The question is, what exactly does he suffer from?
Let's Shrink Charlie!
In the wee hours of the morning I found myself unable to sleep. So I turned on the TV. Surprise, surprise! Even at 2 a.m. guess who's on? Charlie Sheen! He's everywhere! On the news! On the radio! In the newspaper! All over the blogosphere! He's comandeered all the media. Maybe he has morphed into Rupert Murdoch!!
Somehow I had managed to miss the announcement of the special called "Charlie Sheen ... Winning or Losing It?" hosted by Dr. Drew (Pinsky, of "Celebrity Rehab" fame). It has been airing repeatedly this week. My bet is that VH1 is playing beat-the-clock. I mean, The Sheen Machine is revved up so high, it's moving so fast, that the content of this show could be ancient history by ...tomorrow.
Dr. Drew website
The experts say it's...
Bleary-eyed and exhausted, I was not able to absorb everything being said on this Dr. Drew special. I do know Dr. Drew had a couple of other addiction experts and psychologists offering their "diagnoses" of Charlie. "What's eating Charlie Sheen?" seems to be a popular passtime among legitimate and armchair psychiatrists alike these days. Seriously. Everybody's got a theory on Charlie. All the world's a shrink.
Now, If we are to believe this particular panel of mental health experts, Charlie Sheen is BIPOLAR. How do we know this? He failed (or would that be "passed"?) the DIGFAST test. DIGFAST is a nifty little mnemonic for the "cardinal symptoms of manic espisode."
D-I-G-F-A-S-T = MANIC
D is for Distractability
I is for Indiscretion (excessive involvement in pleasurable activities*)
G is for Grandiosity
F is for Flight of Ideas
A is for Activity Increase
S is for Sleep Deficit (decreased need for sleep)
T is for Talkativeness (pressured speech)
Diagnostic Note: A manic episode requires at least one week of elevated or irritable mood plus three of the seven symptoms described above.
* Definition from DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed.)
Let's see how our friend Charlie scores. Let's pretend we're playing that basketball game where you earn a letter for every basket (sometimes known as HORSE, but in this case we're spelling out DIGFAST).
Indiscretion +2 (one for each of his "goddesses." Oops! Only 1 point per letter)
Grandiosity +5 (just kidding, +1)
Flight of Ideas +1
Activity Increase +1
Sleep Deficit ???*
Symptoms have been in evidence for more than one week: Check
Exhibits at least three of the seven symptoms: Check
*There is no direct evidence that Charlie is sleeping less. Deductive reasoning tells us he is. He certainly looks haggard and hollow-eyed. And given his self-proclaimed sexploits with his two goddesses (I believe one's a prostitute and one's an actress), it's safe to assume he's spending his nights engaged in actvities other than sleeping. But that one's not verifiable. So we'll score Charlie a "0" for "S."
So based on the above, Charlie is for sure DIGFAT -- close enough, don't you think, to a full-on, bona fide DIGFAST manic episode?
Bipolar ... or Addict?
But wait! What about his addiction problem? Isn't Charlie's primary problem that he abuses drugs and alcohol? Isn't he famous for his binges?
Yes. Charlie is an addict/alcoholic. No one is disputing that. (No one could possibly dispute that.)
But what Dr. Drew et al are saying is that Charlies is also bipolar.
The two conditions frequently co-occur. In fact, 60% of bipolar people "self-medicate" with drugs and/or alcohol.
When queried about his bipolar diagnosis, Sheen's description of his abnormal brain activity is classic bipolar. Textbook, even. (See video below.)
When asked why he turned to alcohol and drugs, Charlie responds, "They work!" That simple statement speaks volumes.
Rehab, psych ward, or...
Sheen's aberrant behavior is esclating. Use whatever metaphor you like. He's a speeding train about to derail. He's spiralling down. He's about to hit his bottom.
Charlie Sheen can't go on like this indefinitely. He must be stopped or he will crash. And it won't be pretty.
The question right now is, what help would benefit Charlie most?
Does he belong back in drug rehab? He claims he is doing "rehab at home." To give him the benefit of the doubt, he may really be clean. For the moment.
But the longer he continues in this hyperactive state, the more likely he is to relapse. He does not value sobriety. He's made that clear. So what stands between Charlie and his next epic binge? Absolutely nada.
Or is bipolar the more pressing mental health issue? Being bipolar puts him at a higher risk for suicide. Given the severity of his symptoms, he is also at risk for a total break from reality. (Some people think this has already occurred.)
Now, bipolar does not typically require inpatient treatment -- unless the patient becomes a danger to himself or others. Charlie's estranged wife, Brooke Mueller, is concerned enough that she has physically removed their twin sons from Sheen's residence. She is demanding that Sheen undergo analysis as a condition of visitation. Clearly, she doesn't trust him to be around their kids. She fears Charlie might harm them. But that's not enough to have him committed.
Dr. Drew and the experts agree: Charlie (desperately) needs help.
... or let Charlie be Charlie?
As the saying goes, you can lead someone to treatment, but you can't make them recover. Both addiction and mental illness require 100% patient cooperation and compliance. You can't have surgery or pop a magic pill and become healed. If you expect to get well you've gotta want it. And you've gotta work it.
At present, Charlie sees absolutely nothing wrong -- not one thing -- with his current situation. In his mind, he's on a "winning" streak. Okay, so there's tiger's blood coming out of his fangs, but is that necessarily a bad thing? Apparently not for Charlie.
The thing is, he has every right to live this way. It's his life. He has a right to refuse help. He justifies his actions and dismisses his critics.
This is how Charlie Sheen says he wants to "roll."
What we see is a man who is deep in DIGFAST mode. He's digging faster and faster. We all know he's digging is his own grave.
Charlie, there are millions of people who care about you. I know you can't hear me. I know you're not listening to anyone but the committee in your head. But please, Charlie: it's time to put the shovel down.