Celeb Hit-and-Run: They're Not Like the Rest of Us and They Need Better Coping Skills

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Actress Amanda Bynes was accused in a hit-and-run accident and could face up to a year in jail (http://lat.ms/QFsPxs). Following in the footsteps of other celebrities like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, it's not unusual for celebrities to have run-ins with the law. Therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil says people who are constantly in the spotlight need to develop better coping skills and support systems instead of trying to live their lives like everyone else.

In the latest of a series of run-ins with the law, actress Amanda Bynes could face up to a year in jail for her alleged role in a hit-and-run accident (http://lat.ms/QFsPxs). "We know that celebrities are no stranger to the law," says therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil. Look no further than the likes of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, even Martha Stewart. "One of the problems arises," she says, "when celebrities THINK of themselves as above the law."

Instead of trying to get away with as much as they can, Dr. Bonnie says people in the spotlight need to develop better coping skills. "People with such demanding jobs that put them in the spotlight constantly need to be able to re-coup and re-group from the thrill-seeking that comes with a high-stress career. Otherwise, they're going to try to alleviate the stress themselves by self-medicating, and the results can be detrimental if not deadly."

Dr. Bonnie calls this thrill seeking behavior the Biochemical Craving for Connection which needs to be treated like similar diseases of addiction like alcoholism or gambling. People with stressful jobs are looking for a release from this constant pressure. "They get a high from the thrill of risky behavior, which often has negative effects, which in turn increases stress levels, which makes them seek even riskier behavior - and so forth," explains Dr. Bonnie. The more risks they take,the more powerful they feel, and since celebrity lends itself to feeling powerful anyway, their risky behavior can be more extreme says Dr. Bonnie.

Anyone who has an addiction craves what they're "allergic" to - people under stress look for a thrill to calm themselves down but it actually stresses them out more, and this is also the case with other more well-known forms of addiction. All addiction, at it's simplest form, is a way to self-medicate. And it's deceptive, says Dr. Bonnie. Self-medication often appears to "take care" of the problem for a while, but in the end it ends up further contributing to the struggles that addicts face.

To see Dr. Bonnie talk more about the mind/body connection, click here: http://youtu.be/vOIomp6CHSo Check out more information on the biochemical craving for connection in her book Make Up Don't Break Up.

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