Charlie Sheen and Celebrities Raise Addiction Awareness and Boundaries

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With celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan dominating celebrity headlines and Dr Drew Pinsky's new show announced ("Dr Drew" on HLN April 4, 2011), the benefit to society is an increased awareness of addiction and need for substance abuse boundaries. Journey Healing Centers (http://journeyrecoverycenters.com) is grateful to the media for raising addiction challenges. To help the 23.5 million Americans (SAMSHA) dealing with addiction, Journey Healing Centers' licensed doctors and therapists are releasing tips for how to set boundaries and get loved ones back. Whether Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan are active addicts or having other mental struggles is for their doctor to decide, but the water cooler debates and public fascinations are raising important questions about how to help loved ones fighting addiction.

Journey Healing Centers (private drug and alcohol treatment centers) believes that the highly publicized "Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew" TV show and real-life celebrity and sports athletes substance abuse stories like Jets Quarterback Erik Ainge can actually save lives by raising addiction awareness. Because 1 out of 10 Americans (SAMSHA) are dealing with addiction including alcohol abuse, prescription drug abuse, and/or illicit drug abuse, these media stories hit home with many viewers who can relate to the celebrity struggles. When the news highlights celebrities dealing with addiction, Journey Healing Centers gets an increase in calls for that substance. While their treatment centers deal with celebrities, these stories are very similar to anyone fighting addictions. To help families heal, celebrities public possible breakdowns raise addiction awareness in a very profound and public way.

Journey Healing Center's Medical Director, Dr Ravi Chandiramani shared these observations of Charlie Sheen that can apply to anyone fighting addictions, "These are things that we see everyday. First of all, Charlie Sheen's clearly coming out and saying, hey, I don't have a problem, and it's not uncommon. People who need the most help in life, when they have these kinds of problems, aren't usually the first people in the door of a treatment center." Dr. Ravi Chandiramani added, "As a physician, I can't clearly make a diagnosis without seeing the patient. What I can see is that clearly there are some outrageous things being said, and it looks as though Mr. Sheen is spiraling downward quickly." While Journey Healing Centers' ultimate goal is to end addiction for all, below are the benefits of this public outcry.

1. Celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan are raising awareness to the symptoms of addiction that can assist people with recognizing substance abuse faster.
2. Shows like "Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew" and "Intervention" may save another's life by all the media coverage. Even party shows like Jersey Shore raise addiction awareness when viewers see the behavior that the characters display.
3. If someone is struggling with alcohol and/or drug abuse, celebrities and sports athletes who go public about addictions may help addicts get ideas about where and how to get help.

If a loved one starts behaving in similar ways, it is best to have an open conversation, see if they are struggling with anything, ask how you can assist them and set boundaries if necessary. Instead of supporting addictive behavior that seems over the edge, families deserve to establish guidelines that clearly communicate to the addict that these actions are not acceptable and can be harmful to themselves or others. The boundaries also need consequences if the guidelines are broken. Most families struggle with taking a stance with a loved one. Similar to Charlie Sheen's Publicist resigning and CBS firing him from "Two and a Half Men," sticking to boundaries is the best wake-up call for someone fighting substance abuse or mental health issues. Even if the boundaries don't work immediately by holding them, they may eventually seek assistance.

The challenge with many celebrities and loved ones getting treatment is that there are supporters standing by enabling the extreme behavior. Even with the boundaries, the biggest challenge is that an addict will not get better until that person makes a decision to get help. Journey Healing Center's Co-Founder, Lisa Lannon shares insights based on giving her husband an ultimatum that worked, "I knew things wouldn't change unless I took a stand. Giving him the ultimatum of healing from addiction or our marriage was over saved not only his life but our relationship." When someone finally decides to stop any type of substance abuse, it helps to think about how personal relationships can be enhanced, and how stress can be reduced on the family. Josh Lannon, Journey Healing Centers CEO explains, "Once I recognized that my marriage was over if I could not break my addictions, it was a big incentive to stay sober. I was also ready to stop using. I just didn't know how. The ultimatum from my wife was my lifeline." The biggest challenge celebrities face is the star-struck factor, which unfortunately fascinates too many people. Celebrity or not, addiction is a serious problem that needs treatment, and it is time for this dialogue about how to get loved ones back who are fighting substance abuse.

Background:
Journey Healing Centers operates drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers in Arizona and Utah, and has been featured on MTV's Gone Too Far, PBS, ABC News 15 Phoenix, Fox 10 Phoenix, NBC 12 News Phoenix, ABC 4 Salt Lake City, AZ Family Phoenix, NPR.org, USAToday.com, Psychology Today and in People Magazine. Journey Healing Centers has supported thousands dealing with addictions through Residential Programs, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), Sober Living Homes, Aftercare, Sobriety for Life Program and a Free 24-Hour Hotline with Addiction Specialists: 1-866-774-5119 or visit: http://journeyrecoverycenters.com

Media Contact
Liz Brown
310-987-7207

References
SAMSHA Study and Stats 2010
http://recoveryradio.net/2010/11/21/23-million-americans-addicted-only-11-getting-treatment/

SAMSHA - 1 in 10 Americans
http://www.sunstreetcenters.org/wp/category/stats/

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