Alcoholism In The Entertainment Industry: Are You At Risk?

This article is a guest contribution from freelance writer Helen Dawson

alcohol and addition in the entertainment industry

Are those that work in the entertainment industry more at risk for problems with alcoholism and addiction?

While there might not be any scientific evidence to prove that specific professions ‘attract’ addiction, research does tend to suggest that the career we pursue may directly affect recreational drinking habits.

The entertainment industry is renowned for being a sociable and glamorous ‘scene’ – even if those who actually work in the business know that this is often far from the case. Nevertheless, the opportunities for social drinking may crop up more frequently in the entertainment industry than in other professions.

Add this to the existing research that suggests those in the creative field are more likely to become embroiled with substance abuse and it’s hardly surprising to discover that the arts, design, entertainment, sports and media industries rank third on the list of Most Addiction-Prone Careers according to The Fix.

There have been many high profile cases of film stars and musicians going to rehab in a bid to break their harmful addictions, but do we just hear more about them because they are in the public eye?

How can you tell if that innocent after-work drink is spiraling into something more sinister?

Here are some signs that your recreational drinking is developing into an addiction.

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Desire to Drink

The first sign of an impending drink problem is usually finding yourself thinking about when and where your next drink will come from.

Looking forward to a night out is one thing but relying on the thought of an after-work tipple to get you through the day is usually a warning sign of a developing dependency.

Drinking Alone

The nature of the entertainment industry is busy, bustling and social. An actor may enjoy some drinks at an awards ceremony or a DJ may have few drinks during a long club night. Many people in and out of the entertainment business simply enjoy a nightcap at home to unwind after a stressful day.

In moderation, this is pretty normal but when we begin habitually drinking alone it can be a sign that we are using alcohol as a method of escapism or a tool to self medicate. Drinking alone while out can also be risky with research showing that women who drink alone in bars or clubs are more likely to be targeted by sexual predators while lone men are more likely to be involved in violent conflict.

If you find yourself drinking alone, ask yourself why. Are you really having fun or has it become a necessity?

When we become addicted to something it takes priority over everything else in our lives – our health, our relationships and our work.

Being in the entertainment industry requires long hours, public appearances and dedication – it is not usually a career that you can successfully maintain for long periods of time while attempting to conceal an addiction. If you find that your drinking is interfering with your ability to arrive to work on time, fulfill your duties and perform to an adequate standard then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate.

Health and Appearance

There are a number of health complications associated with prolonged, habitual drinking. Aside from the fact that drinking to excess can make you disorientated and impair your judgement, making you more prone to accidents and injuries, the substance itself can also damage everything from your liver to your heart and even deplete your brain cells.

Stomach troubles and headaches are also a key symptom of too much booze and with research suggesting that 60% of alcoholics suffer from insomnia, this could be one hangover you can’t simply sleep off.

alcoholism in the entertainment industry

Working in entertainment can require long days and odd hours – often a recipe for addiction problems

Over time, excessive alcohol consumption will affect your physical appearance which can be very detrimental to the career of performers, actors, presenters and those in the public eye. Wine and beer tend to rot tooth enamel which can lead to tooth decay and drinking is also thought to increase premature ageing.

Low mood

Entertainers are there to entertain and engage an audience. Doing this successfully while drunk or hungover is an arduous task that is unlikely to end well. Alcohol is a known depressant that is has been directly linked to mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and even self harm and suicide.

On a physical level this could be because alcohol affects our brain chemistry and causes upheaval with our feelings and responses. But over time the very act of drinking regularly can have negative consequences on our life that can be a starting point for mental health disorders. Of course then we drink to escape our troubles and the cycle continues.

If you are a heavy drinker experiencing anxiety and low mood, maybe it’s time to cut back.

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.

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  1. […] proven that entertainment is one of the toughest industries to work in. It has also been linked to alcoholism and drug use, most likely as a way of coping with its fierce and severe nature. Even though there are many […]

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