It may come as no surprise that the entertainment industry can place people at risk of developing drug and alcohol addictions. After all, this profession is often immersed in the nightlife and bar scene, where drug and alcohol use are not only tolerated, but also glamorized. While substance abuse may be common in this industry, that does not mean that arts and entertainment professionals are immune to the dangers of addiction.

Prevalence of Substance Abuse in the Arts and Entertainment Industry

Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows just how common drug and alcohol use is in the arts and entertainment field. Unfortunately, 11.5 percent of professionals in the industry report they have used alcohol heavily within the past month, and 13.7 percent have used illegal drugs. In a given year, 12.9 percent of arts and entertainment professionals will experience a substance use disorder, which is the clinical term for an addiction.

These numbers may not seem particularly high, but the situation appears rather bleak when comparing rates of substance abuse in the arts and entertainment industry to the prevalence in the general population. Among people aged 18-25, around 8.4 percent are heavy alcohol users within a given month, whereas 6 percent of those aged 26 and above use alcohol heavily. Furthermore, 8.4 percent of the general population experiences a substance use disorder in a given year, demonstrating that rates of addiction are higher in the arts and entertainment industry than they are across the United States.

Why is the addiction rate so high for arts and entertainment professionals?

It is clear that addiction is a problem in the arts and entertainment field, which begs the question of, “Why?” According to one study, it may be the culture in this industry. The study, which was published in a 2014 edition of Addiction, found that the most popular alcohol brands are likely to sponsor events, including those in the arts, entertainment, and music industry. Study authors concluded that alcohol plays a key role in the culture of these events. When alcohol is marketed at large events, professionals in the industry can come to view alcohol consumption as normal, and even embraced, and the consequences associated with heavy drinking may not receive any attention.

Concerns surrounding substance abuse in the entertainment industry have been present for years. In a report prepared in the year 2000 at Columbia University, researchers noted that movies tend to glamorize illegal drug use, portraying it in a way that associates it with wealth and luxury, and over half of movies that involve drug use do not show any consequences arising from it. Drug and alcohol use are also heavily ingrained into the music industry, with many artists referencing substance use in their songs, and some artists even making their substance use habits well-known. Famous artists and actors may influence others in the entertainment industry to use drugs and alcohol, and they also create a culture in which substance abuse is accepted.

Finally, experts have believed for quite some time that there is a link between creativity and addiction, making arts and entertainment professionals more susceptible to drug and alcohol use. Some may even use drugs and alcohol to improve their performance, as they may believe that substances foster creative thinking or boost their confidence when on stage. Ultimately, when arts and entertainment professionals make a habit of using substances to enhance their performance, they can become addicted, which leads to worse performance in the long-run.

Addiction Treatment for Arts and Entertainment Professionals

If you or a loved one works in the arts and entertainment field and struggles with addiction, know that you are not alone. It may be challenging to reach out for help, especially when others in your line of work have normalized substance abuse and may see no problem with your ongoing drug and/or alcohol use. The reality is that without treatment, you are likely to sink further into addiction, facing negative consequences like worsened performance at work, and deterioration of your personal and professional relationships.

If you are looking for convenient, confidential treatment for addiction, iRecoveryUSA offers comprehensive addiction services in a 100% remote format via our telehealth app. Contact us today to learn how to begin receiving treatment without ever leaving home.