What we see on TV and in the movies impacts how we think and feel as a society. The music we listen to can make a difference as well. So can podcasts or radio shows. Generally speaking, the media we take in can shape how we feel about things, and that is certainly true when it comes to addiction.

For instance, luxury rehab is always available, and we sometimes see depictions of it on TV. Is what we see close to reality, though? You can always find rehab facilities when you need them, but what you experience there may not be exactly like what your favorite TV show depicts.

Let’s talk about this in a little more detail right now.  

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew

For several years, a show was on the air called Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. It was about celebrities who came to get clean at Dr. Drew Pinsky’s rehab center in Pasadena.

It was a hit partially because people seemed to like seeing celebrities who were struggling with addiction. Some of the reason for this might have been because it made them seem more relatable.

The show’s watchers reasoned that if these celebrities could get into trouble with alcohol or drug use, then it could happen to anyone. The show humanized the individuals who appeared on it.  


However, there was a difference between the celebrities that appeared on Celebrity Rehab and what a non-celebrity dealing with alcohol or drug addiction might go through. On the Celebrity Rehab show, the stars of TV, film, and the music industry were compensated for their appearance with free drug and alcohol treatment and counseling. That was not available to a normal person facing those same problems.

The show Intervention was a more realistic look at what might happen to a non-celebrity who was struggling with substance abuse. This show dealt with ordinary people who were getting into trouble with drugs and alcohol.

Still, even this depiction was not completely accurate. Some of the emotions depicted on-screen during the show felt genuine, but it was still reality TV, which often blends reality with scripted melodrama.

What’s Real and What’s Fiction?

TV shows, movies, and music might sometimes pick addiction as fodder for entertainment, but only some of these depictions are the least bit authentic, while others might be completely fabricated. Most people who struggle with addiction do so out of the limelight. That’s the real difference between drug or alcohol addiction as shown in popular culture and what might happen in an ordinary person’s private life.

In truth, if you’re having trouble with drugs or alcohol, the recovery process will not be glamorous. There will be no cameras, and there won’t be a script to follow.

When addiction is depicted in popular culture, it may be a realistic look at this very serious issue, but just as often, it won’t be. Separating fiction from reality becomes crucial if you’re dealing with this real-life problem and trying to get clean.