If there's a silver lining to all the stories you hear about celebrities whose drug taking and alcoholism catch up to them, it's that it shows addiction is a disease that can afflict anyone. The lesson that we can learn from this is that no one should be ashamed of their disorder, and should instead seek help from drug and alcohol treatment centers before it is too late.
Fortunately, Deryck Whibley, the singer for punk band Sum 41, found help when he needed it most, and appears to be on the road to recovery from severe alcoholism. Whibley attracted attention recently when he was taken to the intensive car unit after drinking alcohol and collapsing. He spent several days there, receiving treatment from doctors who told him that one more drink would kill him.
"I was completely sedated the FIRST WEEK," Whibley said in a post on his Facebook page. "When I finally woke up the next day I had no idea where I was. My mum and step dad were standing over me. I was so freaked out. My liver and kidney's collapsed on me. Needless to say it scared me straight."
Even more shocking than the news that he had the episode were the pictures that surfaced of Whibley in the hospital. He looked considerably more frail than he did when his band was popular about 10 years ago. He's 34 years old, but he looked much older.
However, his condition was stabilized at the hospital and Whibley was able to go home to his family and friends, and plans to take the stage soon.
Celebrity stories like this typically focus on the physical condition of the patient, which is understandable. Whibley likely doesn't want to discuss the root causes and origins of his disease with the public, and he's certainly entitled to some privacy.
But what is often missed in these stories is that addiction and alcoholism are often the result of much more than a taste for drugs and booze. The cause is frequently much more complicated, having to do with the person's mental health and conditions that may or may not have been diagnosed. Too often, treatment focuses not on these problems, but on surface level issues like the patient's consumption.
In order to truly overcome their disorder, a patient must go through a program that addresses their mental health. That is the main reason why Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded Fairwinds Treatment Center in 1989. Few facilities at the time were devoted to treating bipolar disorder, depression and other mental illnesses in connection with addictions and eating disorders. The dual diagnosis programs at Fairwinds aim to rectify this by giving patients a much better network of support to confront and overcome their illnesses.