(this is a continuation, click here for part 1)
Skip to now. Lindsay was just released from serving 14 days in jail, and 23 days in an inpatient treatment program which she was sentenced to earlier this summer. More treatment for a person who has not had any further drug or drunk driving charges since 3 years ago. Sources at UCLA’s Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, where she attended treatment have now said that she has been misdiagnosed! 3 years ago, as the public got wind of her substance use, a 20 year old Lindsay came out and “admitted she was an addict” and has been caught up in the treatment culture ever since. When you’re young and you get into trouble with substances, you can only “admit you have a problem” because your parents and the courts will accept nothing less. Exacerbating this is the fact that she has another set of parents to please – the public and the media. So she goes into rehab and learns of her “disease” and is diagnosed with all sorts of complimentary problems such as bipolar and ADHD. I have seen too many people given these loosely applied labels only to have their brains scrambled by prescription-happy doctors. According to TMZ on August 20th, the doctors who evaluated her at UCLA “have concluded she does not suffer from the drug or psychiatric problems that were previously diagnosed.”
They go on to say that:
Lindsay has been “weaned off” all of her meds — Dilaudid, Ambien, Adderall, Zoloft, Trazodone and Nexium — and has had no adverse reaction. Likewise, she has had no withdrawal issues in the alcohol department. Bottom line — the docs don’t think Lindsay is an addict.
And, we’re told Lindsay was misdiagnosed in the past with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) — which is why she started taking Adderall. The UCLA docs say LiLo does not have ADHD.
And finally, as for having psychiatric problems — again the doctors say it’s just not the case. Morningside Recovery — the rehab facility Judge Revel initially chose for Lindsay — determined she was bipolar, but the docs at UCLA say she is not.
So we now learn that she has no physical dependence to alcohol, and that the very treatment program the court sent her to 3 years ago put her on a cocktail of brain medications with nasty side effects that she never actually needed! Lindsay is a victim of the system, and it is infuriating to me because it brings up so many bad memories of past clients and friends who have been through the exact same thing – some of whom met an early death as a result.
I stay optimistic though, because as I said, this doesn’t have to end tragically and in fact, Lindsay is nearing the point when, statistically speaking, all of these troubles end for most people. The only question is whether she can survive the further demands of the court, but we’ll get back to that later. Gene Heyman, of the psychology department at Harvard Medical School released a groundbreaking book last year, Addiction: A Disorder of Choice, in which he gives a very rational and research based picture of addiction. In it, he compiles a lot of research to show, like the stats I listed above, that addiction is not by any means a chronic disease, and that most people not only survive it, they resolve their problem with it at a young age and move on with their lives. If we can leave Lindsay alone to live her life, she will most likely have no further problems with addiction (and as I’ve already pointed out – we don’t even know that she has a problem with substance use now). Heyman shows that by age 24 – half of the people who have ever met the diagnostic criteria for addiction – have recovered (it’s actually higher for females too)(p70). So just based on that alone, the odds are that Lindsay is now or will soon be recovered.
Further examination of the rigorous national studies he cites reveals that 75% of females end their substance dependence between the ages of 18-29. He also mentions that most substance dependence and abuse starts when people are in their late teens to early twenties – which makes me say that Lindsay isn’t an anomaly, she isn’t this oddball we’ve made her out to be in the media. She isn’t destined for an early death. Most people who have these problems, have them when they are young, they also stop having these problems when they are young. While the behavior she showed back in 2007 isn’t good behavior, or recommended or necessarily acceptable – it is to some degree, normal. It is a phase, a well documented phase that many people go through. It is no reason to give her a death sentence, or to assume that she’s destined for a lifetime of struggle with “the disease of addiction”.
What I worry about for Lindsay Lohan is the feeling of hopelessness that the trials and tribulations of dealing with the court and treatment systems can instill in a person. I’ve been there. You start to think that no matter what you do, you will still be a target, you will still be harassed, and everyone will still assume that you’re abusing substances – whether or not you truly are. This leads to the thought “screw it, I might as well go ahead and get high”, and it leads to a general disdain for the law and society at large. She has done nothing to show that she’s abusing substances since 2007, yet everyone in the world assumes that she is still abusing substances. It was bad enough for me, to be in a small town, and have the local police pull me over and harass me every chance they had, even when I was a year sober on methadone – I can’t imagine what it’s like to have the whole world expecting the worst of you. I will never live in my hometown again, but Lindsay doesn’t have the luxury of escaping people who are waiting to catch her making a mistake.
There is no sign that her struggles with the system are over, she has now been ordered to outpatient treatment which involves:
- 2 random drug and alcohol tests every week
- 5 12-step meetings a week
- 4 psychotherapy sessions a week
- 2 behavior therapy sessions every week
- and must stay in her current home until November 1st
If she had trouble dealing with the 78 sessions of weekly alcohol education classes, then this isn’t going to be easy. To say, as the headlines do, that this is a rigorous outpatient treatment plan is to severely downplay the situation. She may as well be in inpatient treatment until November, because this plan leaves her no time to actually move on with living her life. And she’s not alone, countless people, with far less money and worse situations are forced to deal with this courtimposed lifestyle every year. She will be focused on thinking about drugs and alcohol, and substance use every day she continues this treatment, it will be a wonder if she doesn’t run off and start smoking crack. I hope she buckles down this time and escapes the system, because at this point, it’s her only obstacle. Odds are, if left alone she will easily abandon substance abuse – if she hasn’t already done so.
Bottom Line, Lindsay is a victim of the system, and I think we should use this opportunity to see the reality of what this system does to people – because there are millions of regular people who are victimized by it every day, who we will never hear about.