Can we use news clips to figure out if Charlie Sheen has a drug addiction? Addicts I’ve come across almost never admit a problem before recovery. Charlie Sheen has to date publicly denied return to use. But what does the evidence suggest?
The American Psychiatric Society provides a fat book of criteria needed for diagnosis of a spectrum of mental disorders. It’s called the DSM-IV and for addiction aka ‘drug dependance’ they require the following:
A maladaptive pattern of substance use, leading to
clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three (or more)
of the following, occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:
(1) tolerance as
defined by either of the following:
(a) a need for markedly increased
amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication (read “get high”) or desired effect
(b) markedly diminished effect with continued use of the
same amount of the substance
(2) Withdrawal, as manifested
by either of the following:
(a) the characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the
(b) the same (or a closely related) substance is
taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms
(3) the substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a
longer period than was intended
(4) there is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to
cut down or control substance use – such as revolving door rehabs.
(5) a great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to
obtain the substance (e.g., visiting multiple doctors or driving long
distances), use the substance (e.g., chain-smoking), or recover from its
(6) important social, occupational, or recreational
activities are given up or reduced because of substance use – Charlie Sheen reportedly is not welcome on “Two and a Half Men” the hit show where he was reportedly paid a million dollars per episode. His comedy live show since has been described as a bomb. Sounds like severe occupational distress to me.
(7) the substance use is continued despite knowledge of
having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is
likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance – marital breakdown, losing your job, having your kids stripped from you, and wild rants on television fits this bill to me.
So we can only speculate on areas 1-3 without a smoking gun/bong. But we’ve still got a triple pass for diagnosing a drug addiction especially in someone with a known prior history of drug abuse. Gone are the days of entertainer P.T.Barnum who said “There’s a Sucker born every Minute”. We the public are a lot less gullible than a century ago. And we’ve got our eye you Charlie Sheen. Get help. Get your life back man.