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Abnormal Psychology: The Case of Lindsay Lohan

Autor:   •  March 12, 2018  •  4,003 Words (17 Pages)  •  71 Views

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Lindsay’s alcohol problem reached an entirely new level the night of July 24, 2007. Not even two weeks out of court-ordered rehab, Lindsay was arrested with a second DUI following a high-speed car chase (Morris, 2008). After drinking her night away at a party, she had gotten into an argument with her assistant who quit on the spot. Enraged, Lindsay drove after the assistant only later to lose her and wind up chasing her assistants mother at speeds over 100 mph down the highway. Not only was she charged with DUI, but also driving with a suspended license, and felony charges of possession of cocaine and transportation of narcotics (Morris, 2008). This brings Lindsay to qualify for a third criterion: recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it’s physically hazardous (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). To be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, an individual must only exhibit two of the criteria listed in the DSM-5. Clearly, Lindsay over qualifies for this diagnosis.

In addition to her alcohol use problem, Lindsay has repeatedly shown use of cocaine. Throughout her long periods of probation and outpatient care, she was frequently drug tested. Completely aware of these tests and unable to gain self-control, she failed a drug screening in 2010 when cocaine was found in her system (“Lindsay Lohan,” 2015). Prior to this in both of her 2007 DUI incidents, she was found with possession of cocaine. It’s fair to assume that cocaine use has been a problem for an extended period of time in her early 20s. In an interview with Oprah, Lindsay admitted she has done cocaine between 10 and 15 times (Rivas, 2013). This evidence makes it clear that Lindsay cannot seem to keep herself away from the drug despite harsh consequences; however, Lindsay also notes that alcohol was her drug of choice and using cocaine simply enabled her to drink more (Rivas, 2013). With such little evidence about her cocaine use, there isn’t enough sufficient evidence to diagnose Lindsay with stimulant use disorder; however, stimulant use is evident in her life.

Lindsay’s father began his battle against alcohol and cocaine in the early 1980s when he was in his 20s (Roseingrave, 2014). Similar to Lindsay, his cocaine use often followed after drinking; this habit became a never ending cycle (Prato, 2011). His addictions continued throughout Lindsay’s childhood. Although her father was absent much of her childhood, studies have shown that being born to an alcoholic parent puts you at higher risk of becoming an alcoholic than being raised by one (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). It is also important to note that Lindsay’s father was also the child of an alcoholic (Roseingrave, 2014). This being said, there’s a strong possibility that Lindsay has a genetic predisposition to addiction. However, genetics do not fully explain the addiction behavior of an individual (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) and therefore cannot sufficiently serve as the cause of Lindsay’s substance abuse problems (Butcher et al., 2014). Essentially, there is no specific cause of Lindsay’s substance abuse. Rather, there are factors that put her at risk of addiction and make her more vulnerable to addiction such as genetics, parental guidance, social circumstances and stress.

The Osborne Association states that “separation due to a parent’s incarceration can be as painful as other forms of parental loss and can be even more complicated because of the stigma, ambiguity, and lack of social support that accompanies it” (n.d.) In addition to this, having a parent in jail deems similar situations as acceptable to the child, and often leads to experimentation of drugs and alcohol when given the opportunity (“Families, Prison and Drug Addiction Statistics,” n.d.). Lindsay’s father stayed in prison for years during her childhood. When he did come home, Lindsay noted that he would usually be on drugs and very angry: “we’d be walking on eggshells, and it would be a very tense, scary household” she said (Peretz, 2006). Lindsay’s childhood and adolescent years entailed minimal parental guidance and monitoring and lacked an overall support system. Lindsay had her first drink at age 17 (Morgan, 2013). Her drinking behaviors quickly escalated from this point in time.

Statistics have shown that around this age is when people are most prone to risky behaviors such as drinking and using drugs. Judgement has yet to fully develop even in late adolescents (Barret & Hernandez, 2007). Social circumstances also play a large role in these behaviors. Social risks for alcohol use include the people you associate yourself with and the culture you’re living in (Burke, 2012; Kilbey, Downey, & Breslau, 1998). Today, people often have the expectation that drinking will increase their popularity and usually succumb to peer pressure. The main problem sources from your peer selection. Michael Lohan said in an interview that “Lindsay has a problem with attaching herself to the wrong people. She’s been told not to go out with people who use drugs or sell drugs, and all the people around her are drug dealers” (Chung, 2013). Additionally, Lindsay grew up in a place where almost everyone is exposed to alcohol to a certain extent, America (Butcher et al., 2014). The young star was exposed to alcohol at home a great deal and was constantly trying to meet the expectations of her fellow celebrities and it didn’t help much that she lived so close to a city where clubbing was seen as normal. The last couple years of her teens, she was seen clubbing frequently in the city’s night clubs with other local and visiting stars.

Throughout her life, Lindsay experienced an abnormal amount of stress. She often put herself in the middle of her mother and father as a child. All she wanted was to keep the peace. In an interview with Piers Morgan, Lindsay said “I was being pulled in different directions all the time and never had time to just sit and relax” (Morgan, 2013). This took a major emotional toll on Lindsay. The star started counseling at the mere age of 13 (Morgan, 2013). Watching her parent’s relationship fall to pieces on top of the stress of being the “main breadwinner” in her family put an excruciating amount of stress on Lindsay. Michael said in an interview in 2011 “Most kids that are products of divorce become addicts in some way … kids are torn apart. They love their mom and dad, but they’re being pulled to both sides, and it puts a crack in their heart and they fill it with the wrong things” (Prato, 2011). He calls it broken heart syndrome. In addition to this, Lindsay experiences stress from the fame itself. “Celebrities are the sacrificial victims of our adoration” (Loftus, 1995). Celebrities have little, if any, privacy in their life and are pressured every day to


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