In the past, drug rehabilitation was something that was typically carried out in secrecy. Drug addiction was to be swept under the rug and hidden from friends, family and outsiders. All of that changed with the popularity of reality television.
Shows such as A&E’s “Intervention”, HBO’s documentary series “Addiction” and “Celebrity Rehab” with Dr. Drew have centered in on the rehabilitation process and shown the world addicts from celebrities to the girl next door. In fact, even scripted television shows sometimes feature characters with drug addiction issues such as Dr. House on the TV show, “House.”
In the past, people were more ashamed of their addictions and didn’t want others to know but times have changed and some aren’t sure it’s for the better. Do these programs sensationalize the addiction and is it making it harder on the addicts to recover by being under the spotlight; some seem to think so. So far, four celebrities have died after appearing on “Celebrity Rehab” with Dr. Drew. Some might point out that perhaps these people would have failed in their recovery anyway but some believe that the high expectations make it even harder for the addict to get clean. When there is a setback the addict may feel even more helpless being under the spotlight. Many even feel that it is an exploitation of the addict. Even though they are compensated for their time spent in rehab, it can be stated that the show is there for the ratings.
So does an addict have a better chance of recovery in or out of the spotlight? That question may never be answered and it may depend on the individual. However, being under the harsh lights of Hollywood may put extra stress onto a person that doesn’t need more stress in their lives. This stress and their coping mechanisms may be what lead to part of their addiction in the first place.
With the success of these shows, we may not see them going away any time soon and in some ways, it may help others that see success stories and feel that they can get the help they need as well and recover from addiction. And there are many success stories from these shows as well. Only time will tell if it is a good idea to spotlight these addictions or if they should be in private where the addict can get help without the outside influence of Hollywood.