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Abnormal Psychology: The Case of Lindsay Lohan

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Abnormal Psychology

Lindsay Lohan

Alcohol Use Disorder

Cortney Bears


Alcohol and drug use and abuse is a major problem in American societies today. Notably, celebrities in the United States have shown a trend of these problems throughout the course of their fame. One celebrity in particular, Lindsay Lohan, became of victim of this fairly early in life. Lohan started off a darling Disney star whom girls could only hope and dream of being. Shortly, Lindsay’s name and face began filling the headlines, only now it was for something other than her new movie releases and pop singles. Quickly parents began to cover the eyes of their little girls as Lindsay became known as the gone wild party girl. Lindsay is now a role model to very few, if any, after spiraling down the dangerous path of addiction.

Lindsay Lohan was born in 1986 on July 2nd to Michael and Donata “Dina” Lohan, a wealthy, married couple of Long Island. Michael and Dina, veterans of the entertainment industry, together jump started their daughter’s career with their convenient connections to the show business (“Lindsay Lohan Biography,” n.d.). Lindsay first appeared in the spotlight when she began modeling for Ford at the mere age of three. The tyke had modeled in around 60 television spots and 100 print ads before she was chosen to star in the well-known film The Parent Trap in 1998 ( Editors, n.d.). Many argue that her role in this film was the greatest success of her lifetime. Lindsay’s starring roles in Freaky Friday in 2003 and Mean Girls in 2004 heightened her success even further. The drop of her first music album in 2004 brought on her title of Hollywood’s new “It girl” and a “triple threat”: Lindsay could act, sing, and write catchy songs (Sales & Diehl, 2010).

In the light of day, the world saw Lindsay living the dream of any young girl; however, her at-home life wasn’t so luxurious. Much of her childhood revolved around her parent’s messy marriage. The ambitious couple hadn’t even known each other for a year before they got married at the end of 1985 with baby Lindsay following eight short months after (Croft, 2012). Growing up she lived with a father who abused both alcohol and cocaine. His behaviors went uncensored and often led to a short, violent temper (Roseingrave, 2014).  Lindsay witnessed her father beat, abuse, cheat on, and, in one occasion, rape her mother (Maysh & Otis, 2013). Michael served multiple prison sentences during Lindsay’s early years mainly because of his job as a Wall Street trade broker (Morris, 2008). He was almost always in trouble with the law for reasons ranging from insider trade to assault. Amongst all the chaos, Lindsay became a big sister of two brothers and a sister (Brown, 2004). Lindsay aspired to keep her family together even at the young age of three when her parents first got separated. With her parents preoccupied in their own problems, she took on the role of a caretaker to her 3 siblings. In 2007, Lindsay told Allure magazine “’I feel like a second parent in the sense that I helped raise my family’” (Croft, 2012). The couple unseparated and re-separated multiple throughout Lindsay’s childhood and adolescents until Dina finally had enough and officially divorced him in 2007 (Pekara, 2007).

Lindsay dealt with plenty of difficult and stressful situations while growing up. In 2004, she began drinking and frequently “partying” at New York night clubs. Shortly after, Lindsay withdrew from her high school in Long Island, packed her bags, and took off to live in Los Angeles with intentions to advance her career. Her sweet girl reputation quickly turned into one of a party girl. With no family or parents around to tell Lindsay what to do and what not to do, going out became an every-night routine. She developed a preoccupation with the press and partying and it affected her life dramatically: she lost an unhealthy amount of weight, became paranoid and mistrusting of her peers, developed insomnia and poor work habits, and her credibility crashed and burned (Sales & Diehl, 2010). James G. Robinson, the C.E.O. of Morgan Creek, publically threatened the troubled starlet in 2006 during the filming of Georgia Rule in response to her late arrivals, absences, and unprofessional behavior saying “you have acted like a spoiled child and in so doing have alienated many of your co-workers and endangered the quality of this picture” (Barrett & Hernandez, 2007). Stints like this are what caused her to begin to lose important roles and get fired from important film projects such as Poor Things and The Other Side.

Lindsay finally came to her senses and took action against her irresponsible behavior. Early in 2007, she voluntarily entered herself into rehab in hopes to put herself back on the right track (Bustillo, 2010). Unfortunately, this did little to help the actress. In mid-2007, Lindsay was busted for two D.U.I.’s, the first arrest with alcohol in her system and the second arrest with both alcohol and the illegal stimulant cocaine in her system (Barrett & Hernandez, 2010). The five years to follow has been considered a crisis for the celebrity. Remarkably she has spent 86% of her time on probation since her 18th birthday, 250 days since 2007 in various rehab facilities, months behind bars, and hundreds of hours participating in court-ordered community service (Martinez, 2010). One of her old boyfriends told reporters “’I almost feel like her soul got lost somewhere and she became her own enemy’” (Sales & Diehl, 2010).

        The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition) discusses a disorder called alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder is a class of substance use disorders characterized by cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms that indicate that the individual persists using the substance despite its associated problems (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Lohan attempted to discontinue her drinking habits by voluntarily entering herself into the Wonderland Center where she spent 30 days trying to rehabilitate herself (Bustillo, 2010). She defended this decision in an interview saying “I have made a proactive decision to take care of my personal health” (Bustillo, 2010). Later that year Lindsay was arrested for drunk driving. Her inability to resist alcohol qualifies her for the alcohol use disorder criteria of persistent desire to cut down or control alcohol use and unsuccessful efforts to do so (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Lindsay has also failed to fulfill major role obligations at work because of her alcohol use, another criterion for alcohol use disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Producers have begun to look at Lindsay as a financial risk and, ultimately, “uninsurable” after her unacceptable behavior was exposed by Robinson when shooting Georgia Rule (Sales & Diehl, 2010). She has also encountered numerous hospital visits as a result of her excessive drinking habits which at one point shut down a production she was starring in, Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005), for three days.



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