Borderline Personality Disorder,  Celebrities,  DBT,  Emotions,  Odds and Ends,  Other Disorders,  Self-Injury

Dr. Drew tells us some celebrities have mental illnesses

Duh! Anyway, here is an article from Wired about celebrities and mental illness:

Dr. Drew PinskyCelebrities’ bad behavior is rooted in mental illness, according to “Dr. Drew” Pinsky, who is best known as the host of Celebrity Rehab and Loveline — a nationally syndicated radio show that invites listeners to call in with questions about sex and drugs.

In his latest book, The Mirror Effect (on bookstore shelves Tuesday), he spells out a theory that stars are predisposed to narcissistic personality disorder long before they become famous. Their dysfunctional behavior is rewarded by Hollywood and portrayed as normal by the press.

“As reporting on celebrity behavior becomes even more ruthless and mean-spirited, I am struck by this disconnect between how a
celebrity’s behavior is portrayed in the media, and the very real problems that underlie their actions,” wrote Pinsky.

He argues that the media fails to acknowledge that celebrities are mentally ill when holding them up as role models, so everyday people have begun to emulate their unhealthy behavior.

In 2006, Pinsky and his co-author Mark Young published the first systematic study of celebrity psychology in the Journal of Research in Personality. The new book explains that research and how it fits into the larger context of our culture, which they argue has been soiled by shameless producers, agents and paparazzi.

The first three chapters read like a history textbook, recapping famous celebrity mishaps and an era when those unfortunate episodes were carefully hidden from the public. It gives readers a glimpse of just how conservative Pinsky really is. He seems to prefer the  good old days when movie studios were able to keep Rock Hudson in the closet.

The celebrity doctor is not a fan of MySpace or Facebook either, because they allow people to seek attention by acting out like celebrities — posting provocative pictures and personal stories about irresponsible behavior.

“Without appropriate monitoring, these social networking platforms are subject to abuse by those who are most vulnerable to the endless feedback loop they create,” wrote Pinsky. “This is known as an urge/compulsion/reinforcement cycle, and it’s very similar to what happens to those who crave drugs or other addictive substances.”

After that rather stiff introduction, the book becomes a psychology lesson with celebrities as examples.

Pinsky seems fond of interpreting behavior in the light of evolution, and gave this explanation for the asinine stunts performed by Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O on the show Jackass.

“Some have speculated that such acting out may be deeply rooted in our genes, as a way to display genetic prowess and adaptability,” wrote Pinsky. “In this theory, males (in particular) who survive dangerous stunts are displaying their biological capacity to survive in adversity.”

In their 2006 study, Pinsky and Young found that celebrities from reality television score the highest on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Pinsky is convinced that the producers of those shows carefully select contestants with psychological problems, because they will bring extra drama to each show.

“Having served as a consultant to several reality shows, I know what the producers are looking for in contestants,” wrote Pinsky. “The standards regarding mental health are extremely fluid.”


  • Wandering Coyote

    Um…hmmm…While I’m positive some celebrities have mental illnesses just like the rest of the population, I’d not assume they all have the SAME mental illness, and I certainly wouldn’t paint them all with the same brush as this article seems to. I think assuming they are mainly narcissists is a mistake. I also think that how celebrities’ behaviour is reported in the media is not always indicative of the real life situation. Just my 2 cents.

  • Dulce Liebe

    Informative…Just goes to show that celebrities are just people like all of us.Makes sense coming to think of it-they’re exposed to more pressure than normal people. And with the media always on their tails, very possible to get some mental disease in the long run.

  • Kelly

    Actually NPD is not a mental illness but a behavior disorder. There may be aspects of mental illness present but it is behavioral and not mental.

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