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100 Celebrities Who Overcame Addiction

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition characterized by compulsive substance seeking, continued use or engagement in an activity despite negative consequences, and long-term brain changes related to continual substance use.

Addiction can be behavioral or physical, and the two types often go closely together and can even co-occur. Physical addiction typically involves compulsive intake of a mind-altering addictive substance. On the other hand, behavioral addiction occurs when a person loses control of their conduct in order to engage in particular behaviors that produce temporary pleasure but are ultimately harmful to their wellbeing when repeated in excess.

Behavioral addiction is the impulse to engage in a particular behavior or activity irrespective of the detrimental consequences on a person’s capacity to be physically and mentally healthy and functional in the household and community. The individual may find the behavior psychologically satisfying or get a “high” from doing it. Still, the implications of continually making the choice to engage in that behavior may leave them feeling guilty, remorseful, or even overwhelmed.

Addiction is now recognized as a “chronic relapsing brain disease” by medical experts in the United States and around the world. It is a complex problem that exists in the addict’s brain — in their underlying belief systems, cognitive processes, compulsions, obsessive thinking and subsequent behavior, as well as in physical changes in certain brain structures and levels of neurotransmitters. Thus, the person affected does not have full control over their actions or thoughts.

Irrespective of the substance or activity to which an individual is addicted, addiction often has a much-cascading effect that not only puts the addict’s life in jeopardy but also provokes untold levels of pain, strain, fear, and negative consequences for family members, loved ones, friends, co-workers, and the surrounding community.

The term “addiction” is frequently misused and applied to any form of overindulgence or to any bad habit. But, in truth, something becomes an addiction only when it starts to produce significant issues and consequences for the person and for people around them.

Addiction to alcohol and drugs is believed to be caused by a combination of physical and psychological reliance on those drugs. Nevertheless, an addiction does not have to involve physical dependence. Undoubtedly, a physical dependence can develop as a result of addiction to some substances, such as alcohol and narcotics, but this does not have to be the situation for someone to be an addict.

Physically, addicts respond to a particular activity or substance distinctively from others who are not addicted, and will usually crave it when they attempt to abstain. The truth is, whether there is a physical dependency or not, the root of the issue is psychological. Those who become addicted to an activity like sex or gambling do not require the behavior to maintain physical homeostasis; they are psychologically reliant on the activity, but not physically.
Addiction is a progressive condition. Without the proper care, support and therapy, the addict can only worsen over time. Such an individual should expect a continuous worsening in their life, surroundings, and relationships if they become locked in the downward spiral of chronic drinking, drug misuse, or another addiction. If they are unable to overcome their addiction, they face the risk of worsening mental and physical health, and even of death. Addiction is an extremely dangerous disorder that takes and destroys lives needlessly every day.

What defines an addict?

Two striking characteristics distinguish an addict from an individual who merely overindulges.

For an addict:

  • Immediately after they start using a substance or engage in an activity, they lose all control of their intake or actions and find it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to stop on their own.
  • Suppose they are able to stop as a result of medical intervention (like a medical detox) or serious repercussions. Even then, since the problem resides in their mind, they may not be able to stay stopped. It is likely that they will instead relapse at a certain stage unless they get adequate treatment for the psychological aspect of their addiction.
A person who just overindulges will generally be able to stop or moderate their drug use if given a compelling cause to do so, like a health warning, the threat of losing their job, or the threat of a relationship collapse. They may require medical assistance due to physical dependency, but they will still typically be willing to stop.
However, without the proper expert aid and treatment, an addict will be unable to moderate, stop, or permanently stop their drug use despite the severity of the effects on their mental wellbeing, work, health, finances, or personal relationships.
As previously stated, a person does not have to be physically reliant on a substance to be an addict. Such a person may go days without drinking or doing drugs, but once they surrender to their mental need, they quickly lose control over how much they consume. This can have serious effects, such as an alteration in personality while drunk, or a binge that lasts for hours or even days.
In between these binges, they may have times of abstention or self-control. But once the psychological impulse sets in, the consequences of their last drink or drug event may not even enter their mental process. If it does, it is disregarded, and the addict remains deluded enough to think (at their core) that this time, it will be different, unless they have finally come to terms with their condition and begun their process of recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please do not wait another day to seek help. Addiction is a uniquely devastating condition that destroys the lives not only of addicts themselves, but of their friends and family as well.

The different types of addiction

There are several different types of addiction, which can be divided into physical and behavioral addictions.

The following are some examples of substances that can cause physical addictions:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Codeine
  • Crack cocaine
  • Crystal meth
  • Diazepam
  • Ecstasy
  • Fentanyl
  • Hallucinogens
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants
  • Ketamine
  • Mephedrone
  • Methadone
  • Opioids
  • Oxycontin
  • PCP
  • Prescription drugs
  • Steroids
  • Tobacco

The following are some examples of common behavioral addictions:

  • Computers and/or cellphones
  • Cutting
  • Eating disorders
  • Gambling
  • Playing video games
  • Pornography
  • Shopping
  • Seeking pain
  • Sex
  • Working

The celebrities who battled addiction and overcame it

Drug addiction is a widespread disease that does not discriminate based on social status, race, faith, or gender. It has the power to destroy the life of anyone, from middle-class stay-at-home parents to powerful corporate CEOs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), addiction is so pervasive now that it affects as many as one out of every 10 Americans. Elite musicians, actors and actresses, politicians, social media personalities, and others are still vulnerable to substance addiction, and may be even more susceptible due to the stress of their lives in the public eye, the pressures of fame, and the increased opportunities for indulgence that come with circulating in an elite social sphere. And the tragedy of celebrity drug addiction simply serves as further proof of how prominent this problem truly is.
Irrespective of the fame, money, and seemingly infinite free time that comes with some celebrity lifestyles, a lot of well known celebrities and public personalities still suffer from addiction.
This list of 101 celebrity drug users demonstrates that some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and other talented artists from around the world have struggled with drug addictions and sought professional help to aid in their recovery. Hopefully, learning about their journeys will help you to reevaluate your concept of addiction, which in turn will help combat the societal stigma around this disorder.
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  • 1. Russell Brand

    Heroin addiction
  • 2. Macklemore

    Painkillers and Prescription Opioids addiction
  • 3. Keith Richards

    Heroin addiction
  • 4. Eric Clapton

    Alcohol, Cocaine and Heroin addiction
  • 5. Corey Feldman

    Heroin addiction
  • 6. Robert Downey, Jr.

    Alcohol, Benzodiazepines, Cocaine and Heroin addiction
  • 7. Nicole Richie

    Heroin addiction
  • 8. Tatum O'Neal

    Heroin addiction
  • 9. Carrie Fisher

    Heroin addiction
  • 10. Steven Tyler

    Heroin addiction
  • 11. Daniel Radcliffe

    Alcohol addiction
  • 12. Leonard Nimoy

    Alcohol addiction
  • 13. Zac Efron

    Alcohol and Cocaine addiction
  • 14. Oprah Winfrey

    Crack Cocaine addiction
  • 15. Jodie Sweetin

    Alcohol, Ecstasy, Crack Cocaine and Meth addiction
  • 16. Dennis Quaid

    Cocaine addiction
  • 17. Stephen King

    Alcohol, Cocaine, Sleep-Aids addiction
  • 18. Jon Hamm

    Alcohol addiction
  • 19. Jamie Lee Curtis

    Prescription Opioids addiction
  • 20. Tim Allen

    Cocaine addiction
  • 21. Jane Lynch

    Alcohol and Over-the-Counter Drugs addiction
  • 22. Aaron Sorkin

    Cocaine addiction
  • 23. Angelina Jolie

    Cocaine and Heroin addiction
  • 24. Fergie

    Meth addiction
  • 25. Elton John

    Alcohol and Cocaine addiction
  • 26. Anthony Hopkins

    Alcohol addiction
  • 27. Ben Affleck

    Alcohol addiction
  • 28. Rob Lowe

    Alcohol addiction
  • 29. Travis Barker

    Prescription Painkillers addiction
  • 30. Ben Higgins

    Prescription Painkillers addiction
  • 31. Eva Mendes

    Alcohol addiction
  • 32. Keith Urban

    Cocaine and Ecstasy addiction
  • 33. Braunwyn Windham-Burke

    Alcohol addiction
  • 34. Machine Gun Kelly

    Adderall addiction
  • 35. Lana Del Rey

    Alcohol addiction
  • 36. Kanye West

    Alcohol addiction
  • 37. Jessica Simpson

    Alcohol addiction
  • 38. Demi Moore

    Alcohol addiction
  • 39. Brad Pitt

    Alcohol addiction
  • 40. Dax Shepard

    Alcohol addiction and Drug abuse
  • 41. Demi Lovato

    Cocaine and alcohol addiction
  • 42. Lady Gaga

    Cocaine addiction
  • 43. Matthew Perry

    Alcohol and Drug addiction
  • 44. Ewan McGregor

    Alcohol addiction
  • 45. Colin Farrell

    Alcohol and Drug addiction
  • 46. Tim McGraw

    Alcohol addiction
  • 47. Tom Hardy

    Alcohol and Crack Cocaine addiction
  • 48. John Stamos

    Alcohol addiction
  • 49. Naomi Campbell

    Alcohol and Cocaine addiction
  • 50. Bradley Cooper

    Alcohol and Drug addiction
  • 51. Drew Barrymore

    Alcohol and Cocaine addiction
  • 52. Amber Valletta

    Alcohol and Cocaine addiction
  • 53. Edie Falco

    Alcohol addiction
  • 54. Gerard Butler

    Cocaine and Prescription Painkiller addiction
  • 55. Jada Pinkett Smith

    Alcohol, Cannabis and Ecstasy addiction
  • 56. Sia

    Alcohol and Drug addiction
  • 57. Lena Dunham

    Prescription Anti-Anxiety Medication addiction
  • 58. Alec Baldwin

    Alcohol addiction
  • 59. Wendy Williams

    Cocaine addiction
  • 60. Kelly Osbourne

    Alcohol and Drug addiction
  • 61. Lisa Marie Presley

    Opioid addiction
  • 62. John Mayer

    Alcohol addiction
  • 63. Melanie Griffith

    Alcohol and Cocaine addiction
  • 64. Lamar Odom

    Alcohol and Crack Cocaine addiction
  • 65. Kim Richards

    Alcohol and prescription medication addiction
  • 66. Samuel L. Jackson

    Crack Cocaine addiction
  • 67. Dylan McDermott

    Alcohol addiction
  • 68. Eminem

    Valium and Vicodin addiction
  • 69. Stephanie Pratt

    Crystal Meth addiction
  • 70. Kristin Davis

    Alcohol addiction
  • 71. Amber Portwood

    Opiate addiction
  • 72. Lindsay Lohan

    Alcohol and Cocaine addiction
  • 73. Ethan Embry

    Opiate addiction
  • 74. Jenelle Evans

    Cannabis and Heroin addiction
  • 75. Charlie Sheen

    Cocaine addiction
  • 76. Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino

    Alcohol and Prescription Medication addiction
  • 77. Ozzy Osbourne

    Alcohol and Drug addiction
  • 78. Mel Gibson

    Alcohol and Cocaine addiction
  • 79. David Hasselhoff

    Alcohol addiction
  • 80. Michael J. Fox

    Alcohol addiction
  • 81. Betty Ford

    Alcohol addiction
  • 82. Kristen Johnston

    Alcohol and Drug addiction
  • 83. Martin Sheen

    Alcohol addiction
  • 84. Adele

    Alcohol addiction
  • 85. Calvin Harris

    Alcohol addiction
  • 86. Lucy Hale

    Alcohol addiction
  • 87. Joe Manganiello

    Alcohol addiction
  • 88. John Goodman

    Alcohol addiction
  • 89. Stephen Moyer

    Alcohol addiction
  • 90. Amanda Bynes

    Adderall, Cocaine, Ecstasy and Molly addiction
  • 91. Josh Brolin

    Alcohol addiction
  • 92. Britney Spears

    Amphetamine addiction
  • 93. Anthony Kiedis

    Cocaine and Heroin addiction
  • 94. Bobby Brown

    Cocaine addiction
  • 95. Natalie Cole

    Crack Cocaine and Heroin addiction
  • 96. John Lennon

    Heroin addiction
  • 97. Neil Young

    Alcohol and Heroin addiction
  • 98. George Harrison

    LSD addiction
  • 99. Ray Charles

    Heroin addiction
  • 100. Adam Clayton

    Alcohol addiction
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