DMX and Demi Lovato: An Expert Weighs in on Celebrities and Addiction

Demi Lovato’s Dancing with the Devil docuseries and the death of rapper and actor DMX put a spotlight on the issue of celebrities and addiction. These incidents show how difficult it can be to stay sober, especially when in a demanding career like entertainment.

In her documentary, Lovato explained that some of her troubles were rooted in her childhood. According to Lovato, her father struggled with addiction and was abusive toward her mother. The Sorry, Not Sorry singer’s mother says her daughter was around during some of the abuse.

Demi Lovato | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Demi Lovato | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with Patrick Cronin, an addiction specialist with Ark Behavioral Health. He discussed the triggers for addiction in some celebrities and explained Lovato’s comment about being “California sober.” Here’s a look at what he had to say.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: Why do so many celebrities become addicted to substances?

Patrick Cronin: Substances are easily accessible to celebrities and can provide the fastest escape from stress, depression, and anxiety. This is a particularly susceptible group that seeks either emotional numbness or enhancers due to the nature of their work. 

CS: What does it mean to be “California sober?” Is this really better than full-on addiction or is it just as bad?

PC: Some definitions on the internet may vary slightly but most refer to California Sober as a lifestyle trend where people abstain from using alcohol and hard drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, but continue to use marijuana and other psychedelic substances like psilocybin, mushrooms, and LSD.  

It’s hard to say if it’s a bad decision or not. Each individual faces different recovery challenges based on their personal journey. So, I would recommend speaking to a professional before choosing this lifestyle or recovery path. 

CS: In your opinion, could DMX’s tragic death have been prevented?

DMX |  Mark Davis/Getty Images for Coachella

DMX | Mark Davis/Getty Images for Coachella

PC: Death is not something that can be prevented or manipulated. Being sober is a daily decision and unfortunately, for some, this is a constant battle that calls for help.

CS: How can celebrities avoid addiction?

PC: Being a celebrity means constant exposure to expectations from managers, fans, and close circles. Stress, depression, and anxiety can be some of the biggest triggers for substance abuse. The best advice is to choose their close circle of friends and staff wisely and to seek help when needed. 

CS: What advice would you give to the friends and families of someone who is addicted? How can they help?

PC: Watching someone you love struggle with substance abuse is hard. My advice would be:

  • Take care of yourself first and make sure you are in the right mindset to help.
  • Do your research (support groups, recovery centers, designated detox clinics, etc.)
  • Always show your loved one that you’re supportive.     

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