THE BLOG

Celebrity Rehab 101 -- Risks and Prevention

08/08/2010 08:46 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan...

Every week another celebrity shows up in Rehab, but do we ask why? The addicted star has been a staple of plays, then movies, now unreality television. Are there any ways to present this massacre of talent?

Here's a list of some of the risks of fame and their antidotes:

Post-Work Adoration

With people clamoring to touch your hair, grab your autograph or just glance at your face, it's not hard to start feeling you deserve a title like North Korea's Kim Jong Il, AKA "Guardian Deity of the Planet."

Risks -- entourage of sycophants; stimulants, alcohol and opiates to "keep the feeling going"; narcissistic withdrawal from daily routines.

Antidotes: Keeping up with family and old friends; time in nature; spiritual rest techniques; staying fit; reading history books (including entertainment history) and noting how many names you recognize

Get It While You Can

The Internet Age is fast, fast, fast and fickle, and you can watch your ratings go up and down minute by minute. And the next phone call, even if it is three in the morning, might be your next big break.

Risks -- Impossible work schedules; never ending networking; mental and physical exhaustion; stimulants and sleeping pills; sex addiction; tobacco.

Antidotes -- Short and long term planning, in writing, of what you want to do; keeping old friends close; protecting sleep time; daily physical fitness routines; spiritual rest techniques for perspective; making life musical by following body clocks and keeping regular times for activity and rest

Public is Private
Getting photographed every time you go to the bathroom can drive anyone over the edge. Why else would Jodie Foster go off on a 17-year-old?

Risks:Anger, helplessness, depression, physical violence, alcohol.

Antidotes: Planned, scheduled time away; Friends in places other than financial and cultural capitals; hiking in natural scenery; physical and mental rest techniques to quickly calm you in the maelstrom; acting in the media like you're "just folks."

Performance Pressure
If 10.000 people are screaming your name, you better be good -- really good. Plus everything you do will be on the internet within two hours.

Risks: Panic attacks; endless anxiety; fear for one's physical safety; alcohol; stimulants; tobacco

Prevention -- frequent rehearsals, with liberal use of rest downtime (necessary anyway for memory formation, including for physical skills); self-hypnosis and paradoxical relaxation to calm down; scheduled review of performances to see what worked and what didn't; quick social connections to friends and family

Shift Work and Hyper-arousal
It's 10:30 p.m. In 30 seconds you're supposed to perform perfectly for hours, go to post-performance parties and schmooze, then suddenly turn off the excitement and fall asleep instantly at 3:30 a.m..

Risks: Stimulants, including coffee and tea; sleeping pills -- often in combination with stimulants to produce the "Up Down Trap" of trying to be both "on" to perform and then quickly "off"; alcohol; profound sleep deprivation with intermittent depression; general physical malaise.

Antidotes: Protected sleep time, with quiet, comfortable, cool, dark sleeping quarters; physical fitness including dancing; control of after work alcohol (alcohol effects on you at midnight are two to three times what they are at 6 p.m.); physical rest techniques like yoga, deep breathing and paradoxical relaxation; plant-based diet

Travel
Seeing the world can be great fun even if airplanes are high desert environments stuffed with internationally competitive recycled viruses. And that's after you manage to get on board.

Risks: Jet lag; depression; colds and flus; endless discombobulation; sleeping pills; alcohol; downers; feeling your body belongs to someone else

Antidotes: physical rest techniques like yoga and deep breathing; avoiding red eye flights; mental rest techniques like self-hypnosis; reading when not working (The Transportation Safety Administration is apparently not frightened by books or magazines); frequent small meals; avoiding stimulants

Living Fast and Full
Warren Zevon and Lady Gaga said "I'll sleep when I'm dead" and many performers think the same. Unfortunately it works the other way around; every animal model of sleep deprivation ends up with very dead animals.

Risks: Stimulants; downers; alcohol; hallucinogens; narcissistic relationships that end really badly; infections; physical collapse; suicidal behaviors

Antidotes: Conversations with old people, particularly performers; talks with grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, mentors and teachers; regular vacations; spiritual and mental rest techniques that can provoke feelings of awe; yoga; scheduled daily physical workouts.

Risk Reduction for Non-Performers

Even if you're not a celebrity, you might be at risk for rehab. Sometimes the risk is genetic, as is true for many illicit and prescription drugs, though often it's behavioral, as happens to overstressed, multitasking workers in a time of economic crisis.

How do you prevent getting hooked? Social connections; physical, mental, social and spiritual rest; nutritional variety; regularity of your daily pattern; alternating mental and physical activity; setting a daily rhythm to life.

Mostly listen to your body. Just learn the way your body is built. We renew and rebuild our bodies very quickly and effectively. One way to avoid Rehab is to enjoy the Way of Rest, the process by which our body naturally restores, rebuilds, and renews.

Use your body the way it's built, and it will thank you.