Celebrities, for better or worse, bring attention to the risks that come with substance abuse. Celebrities and the perceptions of substance abuse are inextricably linked. The exploits of celebrities are brought to public attention quickly as a result of their social status, yet the problems associated with drugs and alcohol are far-reaching.
Substance use and dependence can impact anyone. Adolescence and young adulthood are filled with images and beliefs that intoxication is acceptable and makes life exciting. These ideas are often reinforced through stories and experiences that are shared, whether they are true or not. Furthermore, the sensationalized image of intoxication in popular culture is powerful, and particularly influential on young people.
The positive feelings that come with intoxication often lead to poor choices that can manifest in regrettable decisions. Pop musician Justin Bieber was recently charged for drag racing, driving while intoxicated in a residential neighborhood, and resisting arrest. Though we do not know how he feels about this report, it does raise the question whether or not he would have engaged in the same behavior while sober.
Often, positive experiences with drug and alcohol use are socially exchanged while negative stories are downplayed. Culturally, intoxication is not only acceptable, but personally desired, which can lead to a pattern of use that unintentionally develops into dependence. Lack of awareness and the emotional maturity to manage the effects of intoxication, how it impacts intellectual functioning, choices, and behavior is unknown with the first use of substances. Sometimes, after that first use, it is too late to ask yourself if the effects of intoxication truly outweigh the consequences.
It’s important to acknowledge when alcohol or drug use affects a relationship as that would be a major cause for concern. Reflect on your experiences and honestly determine if the effects of intoxicants has or could have contributed to an outcome that was negative or destructive. If life-stressors or emotional distress lead to substance use, it’s time to look for healthy alternatives. Consider if use of drugs and alcohol is associated with a specific problem instead of trying to determine if you or your loved one is addicted. Seek information from your doctor, mental health professionals, and treatment centers as they can help provide the guidance you’re looking for. Awareness is the first step to emotional health, creating an opportunity for growth that leads to a sense of well-being without the use of substances.