Famous Drug Addicts in History: Writers and Artists That Battled Addiction
20.6 million Americans struggle with dependency issues.
Many of them are famous artists and creatives.
Some people erroneously believe that there are is a link between creativity and addiction, however, that isn’t the case. Instead, there is often a link to the type of people who are more susceptible to become addicts. That’s largely why a recent Scientific American article states that so many creative people struggle with addiction.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most famous drug addicts in history.
If you struggle with addiction, know you’re not alone.
Huxley may have invented a Brave New World, but he also suffered from an addiction to mescaline. The famous writer’s 1954 book, The Doors of Perception, is based on some of the hallucinations he suffered while taking the medication.
Although The Doors of Perception isn’t his most famous work, Jim Morrison liked it enough to name his band, The Doors, after it.
Famous for his book On the Road, Kerouac suffered with an addiction to benzedrine. This was a drug originally introduced to help decongest the airways. Later, it was sold to help a variety of ailments from obesity to high blood pressure.
Kerouac was so enamored with the drug that it made an appearance in Chapter 7 of his famous book. In it, two of the main characters do benzedrine and then sit facing one another.
Stephen King is the master of horror, but he’s had to face his own demons in order to survive. King has written over 63 novels, but will always be a recovering addict.
The famous writer’s addiction was once attributed to his financial and personal struggles. But even after the book Carrie become a commercial success as both a novel and a film, King still struggled to slay his demons.
King is often described by former friends or family members as a functioning cocaine addict and alcoholic. He even says that sometimes he used cocaine to help him write and plow through some of his deadlines.
He admitted that he had always been “quasi-suicidal,” but his wake-up call didn’t happen until his daughter found him asleep in his own vomit.
The famous writer attended a detox and rehab center and vowed to get clean. According to Coastal Detox, medical withdrawal is one way to help an addict get clean without facing much of the unpleasant side effects of going “cold turkey.”
He has stated that his family is his reason for continuing to stay clean.
Charles Dickens is synonymous with Christmas, as many theater companies around the country perform an adaption of his famous A Christmas Carol each year. He’s also written many other famous books, including Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities.
While his mind was brilliant, he often found he liked to unwind by smoking hookahs full of opium. Opium is derived from the poppy plant and is similar to heroin.
Dickens was so consumed by his addiction that he died of a stroke, which was likely caused by his penchant for opium.
The 1953 Pulitzer Prize couldn’t keep Hemingway away from his drug of choice: alcohol. The famous author is known for For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises.
While highly praised during his lifetime, the author still couldn’t shake his penchant for drink. Still, he didn’t imbibe while he was writing, preferring to keep the two worlds separate. He felt that he worked much better when sober, something too many artists don’t believe.
There are many speculations about why Hemingway eventually took his life, but it is suspected that he suffered from a deep depression. He expressed many times that the life of a writer was lonely.
Some believe he had an underlying medical condition that was only made worse by his love of alcohol.
Marilyn Monroe, screen siren of the Golden Era of Hollywood, was famously addicted to barbiturates. She has been accused of going “doctor shopping,” by complaining about pain to various doctors and having them fill her prescription for the substance.
The famous blonde died of an overdose of medication, which some believe to have been purposeful, and others not. There is a theory that Monroe actually suffered from a crippling condition known as endometriosis, in which the inner lining of the womb grows outside of it. Some believe that her death was not purposeful, but because she was in so much pain that she accidentally took too many painkillers.
Edgar Allen Poe
Poe is known for his spooky stories and poems, especially “The Raven” and macabre “Tell-Tale Heart.” But while he could get a good scare out of his audience with his words, he struggled immensely with alcohol throughout most of his life.
Poe also struggled financially during his life, perhaps due to his addiction.
His death in 1849 still remains a mystery. He was taken to a hospital after being found in an incoherent state and died hours later. He was never able to tell doctors or nurses how he got so confused.
Some theorize suicide, but others think he could have been a victim of a crime or suffering from a physical ailment doctors were unable to diagnose.
Famous Drug Addicts in History and Creativity
Many famous drug addicts in history falsely believed that they needed drugs to be creative. In fact, Stephen King had to learn to write all over again without the influence of drugs or drink, but he was eventually able to create many amazing works sober.
If you’re worried you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, click here for 5 signs that you might need rehab.
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