Last updated: October 2, 2023
Over the past few decades, impressive advancements have been made in the fields of medicine and healthcare which have provided both diagnostic tests and treatment options for diseases which previously had none. Unfortunately, a strong stigma still exists around mental health, addiction, and psychiatric conditions. One of the reasons for this is that people don’t realize that addiction is a disease just like any other. It deserves the same consideration and compassion as any other medical condition. Furthermore, countless celebrities and historical figures have struggled with addiction as well.
Most people know Thomas Edison as the inventor of the light bulb. Because of his hard work, society was able to harness the power of electricity and use it to power the countless devices people rely on every day. During his time as an inventor, he developed an addiction to a cocaine elixir. This addiction caused a significant amount of strife in his personal life, eventually causing insomnia. He likely relied on the cocaine elixir to keep him awake during his time working with light bulbs. The more tired he got, the more he relied on the cocaine elixir to remain focused.
Charles Dickens was a prolific writer who is well-known for books such as Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities. He is far from the first writer to turn to a drug for some inspiration and his vice was opium. He was well-known for puffing on a hookah at the end of a long day, which he likely relied upon to both relax and to develop new ideas for his next novel. Unfortunately, opium has a number of side effects and likely led to his demise, which was a stroke.
Howard Hughes was well-known for many different interests. He was a famous pilot, a prolific businessman, and well-known for his philanthropy. He was also a film director and developed a reputation as one of the most financially successful people of his era. Unfortunately, the numerous plane crashes during his time as a pilot likely contributed to his opioid addiction. This was obviously long before the Department of Transportation mandated DOT drug testing for all pilots. The plane crashes took a toll on his health and his nerves. Ultimately, he wound up injecting the substance directly into his muscles. In the end, the addiction took a massive toll on his personal life. He wound up as a recluse, developing a massive fear of germs along with obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as OCD.
Kurt Cobain was one of the most prolific singers of the 1990s. As the lead member of Nirvana, he authored many hits, including Smells Like Teen Spirit. Like many of the rock and roll stars of his era, he also struggled with addiction. Perhaps it was the toll that the public life took on his nerves. Maybe he turned to drugs for inspiration for his songs. Regardless, he developed a massive heroin addiction that gradually spiraled out of control. It impacted both his personal life and his professional life, damaging his rapport with his band members. He ultimately committed suicide at the age of 27, likely exacerbated by his heroin habit.
Marilyn Monroe is one of the best-known actresses, models, and singers in the history of the United States. She is also well-known for her life in the public eye. Unfortunately, she also developed an addiction, likely because she needed help to relax, settle down, and unwind. Her undoing was the barbiturates and she was well-known for doctor-shopping. This is where patients visit different doctors in an effort to find someone who will prescribe them what they are looking for. This started to impact her personal life and she began to display some of the hallmark signs of addiction, including the doctor-shopping. She ultimately died of a barbiturate overdose.
Without a doubt, these are only a few of the countless historical figures who have struggled with addiction to various substances. It is important for everyone who struggles with addiction to find the help that they both need and deserve. There are many treatment options out there that can make an immense difference in the recovery process of not only the individual but also their family.