Sensitive, creative, demanding more from themselves than is humanly possible, celebrities constantly engage in self-criticism regarding their ability to perfect their craft, whether they are actors, musicians or artists. As their celebrity status grows, so does their reliance on others to provide the sense of self-worth and validation essential to maintaining confidence in themselves and their talent.
Celebrities Who Died From Addiction
In fact, the psychological precariousness of all celebrities is disturbing and contributory to addiction. In addition to obsessively worry about whether a bad review, poor sales of their latest CD or sudden, unexpected loss of adoration from their fans will destroy their career, they must deal with people who use them for money or as stepping stones to establishing their own career. They must cope with tabloids lying about their personal lives, opportunistic industry insiders looking to exploit them and the extreme lack of privacy afforded them.
For many celebrities, alcohol and drugs provide a powerfully effective, immediate escape from the crushing stress of being famous. Alcohol, heroin and barbiturates instantly relieve overwhelming anxiety, panic and self-defeating, often suicidal thoughts while cocaine and methamphetamines will elevate their energy, mood and creativity. In many cases, celebrities become addicted to depressants and stimulants because they need something to let them sleep and something to keep them going during the day.
How Do Celebrity Drug Addicts Rationalize Their Addiction?
Celebrity drug addicts often justify their addiction–especially a prescription drug addiction–by denying they are addicted and claiming that:
- I’m not breaking the law taking pills prescribed by my doctor. I can take as many as I want and it’s perfectly legal
- I’m not hurting you or anyone else
- If you had to deal with what I have to deal with in life, you’d take pills, too!
- I am not addicted! I can stop whenever I choose to stop
- It’s not like I’m using heroin–prescription drugs won’t kill me like street drugs can
- It’s not my fault I need my prescriptions. My mental/physical illness isn’t something I wanted!
- No one cares about me, so why should I care?
List of Celebrities Who Died From Drugs & Addiction
We lose dozens of celebrities in the prime of their careers every year to addiction. Here are 21 famous people who died due to their drug and/or alcohol addiction:
- Prince (57 years old)–accidental fentanyl overdose
- Micheal Jackson (50 years old)–acute benzodiazepine and propofol intoxication
- Jimi Hendrix (27 years old)–barbiturate overdose
- Elvis Presley (42 years old)–suffered cardiac arrest due to having 14 different drugs in his system, including barbiturates, codeine and morphine
- Janis Joplin (27 years old)–overdosed on heroin
- Anna Nicole Smith (33 years old)–overdosed on at least nine prescription medications
- Whitney Houston (48 years old)–overdosed on cocaine and drowned in a bathtub
- Amy Winehouse (27 years old)–alcohol overdose/poisoning
- Jim Morrison (27 years old)–suspected heroin or LSD overdose
- Heath Ledger (28 years old)–overdosed on oxycodone, diazepam, hydrocodone and several other depressants
- Lenny Bruce (41 years old)–overdosed on morphine
- Sid Vicious (22 years old)–committed suicide by overdosing on heroin
- Philip Seymour Hoffman (46 years old)–overdosed on heroin, amphetamines, benzodiazepines and cocaine
- John Bonham (31 years old)–acute alcohol poisoning
- Bon Scott (34 years old)–acute alcohol poisoning
- Edgar Allan Poe (40 years old)–alcohol poisoning and laudanum, a morphine tincture
- Chris Farley (33 years old)–morphine and cocaine overdose
- Dee Dee Ramone (50 years old)–heroin overdose
- Scott Weiland (48 years old)–overdosed on cocaine, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and ethanol
- John Belushi (33 years old)–heroin and cocaine overdose
- River Phoenix (23 years old)–heroin and cocaine overdose
Successfully overcoming their drug or alcohol addiction would have required these celebrities to do three things: enter a rehabilitation program, receive cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling to learn how to manage their addiction and come to understand that remaining drug-free means gaining and maintaining control of irrational fears and realizing a strong sense of self-worth does not depend on others.