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Why Are Child Actors Vulnerable to Drug Addiction?

Learn more about child actors and drug addiction, as well as available treatment options for drug addiction here.

What Is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is the inability to quit using a drug even though doing so is harmful to one’s physical and mental health. Alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine are examples of substances that are regarded as drugs.1

Addiction is described as “a curable, chronic medical disorder involving intricate interactions among brain circuits, heredity, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences” by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.2

Understanding Substance Misuse

Alcohol, nicotine, sleep aids, anti-anxiety drugs, and other legal substances can all cause addiction. The narcotic painkillers known as opioids, whether taken legitimately or illegally, can also cause addiction. Drug use alters the brain, making quitting physically and psychologically challenging, and addiction treatment frequently necessitates ongoing therapy and care.

What Drugs Lead to Addiction?

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Alcohol and drug abuse can have a variety of effects; even a short duration of use can have severe adverse effects, such as:
  • Immediate and direct repercussions: Abuse of substances can have immediate, direct implications on one’s health, ranging from heart rate and body temperature regulation to psychotic episodes, overdose, and death. This pattern of drug abuse is fueled by the opioid crisis, which saw almost 30,000 individuals die in 2014 from heroin or prescription drug overdoses. Unintentional alcohol, cocaine, or non-opioid prescription medication overdoses resulted in an additional 20,000 fatalities that year.3
  • Indirect effects of dangerous behaviors: Drug and alcohol abuse can cause impaired judgment, leading to unsafe behaviors, including driving while intoxicated (DWI), unprotected sex, and sharing needles and syringes. 10% of drivers admit to indulging in DWI each year, and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a factor in hundreds of fatalities yearly.

How Common Is Drug Addiction?

In the US, about twenty million people engage in substance abuse. Substances that abnormally raise dopamine levels in the body are frequently the root of substance use problems. These substances include nicotine, alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription medications.
An estimated 271 million individuals, or 5.5 percent of the world’s population between the ages of 15 and 64, took drugs in 2016. While this is comparable to the 2016 estimate, a longer-term perspective shows that drug consumption is 30% greater currently than it was in 2009.

How May Drug Addiction Affect Me?

Drug abuse can have a wide range of immediate bodily consequences. These may consist of:
  • Slow breathing
  • High body temperature
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • A change in appetite
  • Uncoordinated actions
Drug usage can cause dependency and withdrawal symptoms in the short term. Physical dependence on a drug can occur rather quickly, meaning that users will quickly require more of that substance to experience the same euphoric feeling, or “high.”4

Why Are Child Actors Vulnerable to Drug Addiction?

Child stars are staple figures in a majority of films and television series. Their rise to fame can be attributed to their real acting and singing abilities, and more frequently because of their sweetness and likeability. However, as many child actors grow up and mature, they battle drug and alcohol addiction. Many young celebrities have lost their lives to drug addiction and overdose.

Link Between Child Stardom and Drug Abuse

According to a report by Cheat Sheet Entertainment, a celebrity psychologist affirms that fame is addictive because it makes people feel on top of the world in the same way that some drugs do.5
As child actors grow up and spend less time in the spotlight, drug abuse can creep in. These child actors rely on drugs later in life to achieve that same euphoric feeling they get from being in the spotlight. They may also turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with trauma they experience while acting.

What are the Symptoms of Drug Addiction?

Depending on the frequency and duration of use, there is a vast array of physical symptoms and consequences that stem from drug addiction. The symptoms one may experience when using drugs may include:
  • Bloodshot eyes and looking tired
  • Changes in appetite, usually eating less
  • Changes in physical appearance
  • Craving the substance being abused
  • Difficulty completing tasks at work, school, or home 
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, despite knowing negative consequences
  • Inability to reduce or control drug use
  • Money issues 
  • Weight loss

Why Are There So Many Celebrities with Drug Problems?

Being a celebrity can be mentally and emotionally taxing. It has been established that many stars battle with drug problems for the following reasons:
  • Highly competitive and stressful industry
  • Pressure from the outside world
  • Frequent harsh criticism 
  • Constantly being in the spotlight and having limited privacy
  • Child stars being thrown into the adult world
  • Peer pressure
  • Addiction to the high that they get from being in the spotlight

What Are Treatments for Drug Addiction?

There are many ways to treat drug addiction, including:
  • Detoxification: Detoxification, commonly known as “detox,” or withdrawal therapy, aims to remove the substance from the person’s system. The goal of detoxification is to purge the body in order to begin the mental healing process.
  • Medication-assisted therapies: Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) involves using prescription medications in conjunction with counseling and behavioral treatments. It helps treat opioid use disorders (OUD) and may help some people maintain recovery.
  • Behavioral therapies: Behavior therapy, a type of psychotherapy, can be carried out by a psychologist or psychiatrist as part of a drug treatment program, or you may receive counseling from a certified alcohol and drug counselor. It has many benefits, including helping patients develop coping mechanisms for drug cravings.
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Find Help for Drug Addiction at Alta Centers

Drug addiction can result in other disorders such as depression and anxiety, so it must be treated promptly. If you are battling addiction, Alta Centers is here to help you. With our various treatment options and highly trained medical professionals, we have the ability to treat a wide array of addictions and help you maintain sobriety. Contact Alta Centers today to begin your journey to recovery.

What is an Intervention?

In a situation involving substance use disorder, planning an intervention may be the best, and safest, option to help someone who is living with an addiction. So, what does intervention mean? An intervention is a strategically planned process of confronting the person who is living with addiction about the consequences of their actions while simultaneously encouraging them to accept help and treatment for their addiction.1

The key feature of an intercession is that while it can be an immensely helpful option in convincing a person that they should seek treatment, it should not be done solely by friends and family members. Without the aid of a specialist, or someone who is equally trained in the process of interventions, an intervention may do more harm than good.

An intervention specialist is someone that has been professionally trained in helping people break free from their addictions. They can help a person without judgment, emotions, or blame to understand how their actions are negatively impacting themselves and those that they care about.

When performed properly, without judgment or pressure, and with the aid of a qualified intercession specialist, 80-90% of substance use interventions are successful in convincing the patient to seek help.

Early Intervention

Treatment is more effective the earlier that it begins for an alcohol or drug abuse disorder. As with any other health condition, early intervention and treatment can prevent more significant problems further on in life.

Unfortunately, in many cases, an alcohol addiction intervention or a drug abuse intercession does not take place until most other options have been exhausted. It can be difficult for those struggling with a substance use disorder to realize or admit that they need help.

It often takes a life-altering event, such as a divorce, loss of employment, or a housing crisis for a person to be willing to seek treatment. Because early
alcohol and drug intercession can be so beneficial, first responders must be able to recognize the symptoms of substance abuse.3

What is a Nursing Intervention?

Nursing interventions are often the first time a patient will experience care for their disorder. It takes place when someone enters a care facility such as a clinic or hospital for a condition that may or may not be caused or exacerbated by their substance use disorder.

After initial evaluation and stabilization, a nurse will take action to help their patient by suggesting healthy physical or emotional coping mechanisms for a patient that wants to quit using the substance that they are addicted to. The nurse will also be able to offer education and information to the patient about other treatment facilities or care providers that can help them on their road to recovery.

Alcohol Intervention

A Further Look at Interventions

Nearly 50% of adults in America regularly drink alcohol, and it is believed that as many as 25% of those Americans have an alcohol addiction, most commonly in the form of binge drinking. In many situations, once a person with an alcohol use disorder realizes the way that alcohol is negatively impacting their life, they can reduce the amount that they drink, or even quit entirely, without outside assistance.

However, some people that have an alcohol use disorder are unable to see how their addiction is negatively affecting them. In this situation, an alcohol use intercession can be extremely beneficial. Some of the benefits of interventions include:

Drug Intervention

A Further Look at Interventions

Over nineteen million adults struggle with a drug abuse disorder and of those, nearly 74% also struggle with a co-existing alcohol abuse disorder. Drug abuse and addiction can be a much harder disorder to recover from than alcohol addiction, particularly due to the high rate of co-use that most people with a substance use disorder experience.

In many cases, suddenly stopping the use of an illicit substance can be just as harmful, if not more so than using the substance itself. The side effects and withdrawal symptoms that a person may experience when they decide to stop using a substance can be severe and at times life-threatening.

Luckily, substance use is a highly treatable disorder and several medications can help a person wean off of illicit substances in a safe, sustained, and monitored manner. A drug abuse intervention can help someone realize that they have options and that they can recover safely and healthily.

Questions About Treatment?

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