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Famous Addicts: People In History Who Abused Drugs

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Famous addicts in history have proven that intelligence doesn’t exonerate people from taking drugs any more than fame does. When those who are under stress need to relax, some turn to drugs, or drink as an escape from reality. Others do it because they believe it enhances their creativity or allows them to stay awake when needed. Addiction to drugs and alcohol have plagued some of the most brilliant, influential individuals in fields of literature, art, and science. After all, being a genius doesn’t mean you aren’t vulnerable to the power of addiction.

Famous Addicts In History

Charles Dickens

One of the more well known famous addicts is Charles Dickens, whos vice was in the narcotic opium. The man who brought us A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist would retire at the end of a long day writing to puff on a hookah filled with poppy latex. He died of a stroke, which may have been the cause of his opium use.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway might well be one of America’s most well-known authors and journalists of the early to mid-twentieth century. He even won a Nobel Prize for his work. However, alcohol became a constant companion, particularly in his later years. He summed up what many writers struggle with in their profession: “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” Drinking likely exacerbated a medical condition he had that led to mental confusion and depression. Hemingway eventually took his own life.

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is considered a major figure in the American Romantic movement, and he is famous for his poems and stories, many of which dealt with the disturbing circumstances and depictions of death. “Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’” is perhaps one of the most well-known refrains from a poem. Like Hemingway after him, he struggled with alcohol dependency, using it to dull the pain of a writers life, although causing him more stress because of the additional personal and financial problems it wrought. This famous addicts death, however, remains a mystery. Poe was found deliriously wandering the streets of Baltimore; when a concerned gentleman saw he was clearly in need of assistance, took him to the hospital where he died.

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick wrote dozens of novels about his own experiences of paranoia, schizophrenia, and drug abuse. His most well known novel,  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, was converted into the box office hit, Blade Runner. Others books that were converted into major films were Total Recall, Minority Report, and Next. His drug of choice primarily fell under the class of amphetamines. While many attribute his incredible writing ability to his drug use, this famous addicts life ultimately paid for it with his poor health. At the age of 53 he died of a stroke.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud was an advocate of cocaine, recommending its use for numerous illnesses and symptoms. Freud was aware of cocaine’s uses as an anesthetic, which he regularly prescribed for his own problems with migraines and depression. He also claimed it cured a friend’s morphine addiction. While under the influence of cocaine, Freud delineated psychoanalytic theory, upon which is formed the basis of modern psychological medicine. This famous addicts life was cut short, Freud passed away of mouth cancer in 1939.

Stephen King

Stephen King is one of the foremost writers in the world, and as we’ve seen with others, took to substance abuse in order to deal with the stress that often accompanies it. King’s choice was to mix a cocktail of cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, beer, tobacco, and marijuana to get him through the day. He even admits he doesn’t remember writing some of his works. Thankfully, his concerned family members staged an intervention, dumping all the evidence of his addiction in front of him. In response, he went to rehab and today claims to be clean and sober.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was, and remains the face of World War II as the Prime Minister of Britain at the time. He was notorious for drinking whisky and smoking cigars, although to say that he had a problem with alcohol may be somewhat of a misnomer. He did, however, take amphetamines repeatedly to be able to stay up and plan the war. His resilience inspired many, but the combination of a high-stress life and substance abuse likely brought on the stroke which ended his life.

Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh is a well-known painter who was troubled persistantly with numerous health issues throughout his life. His paintings such as Starry Night and Sunflowers sell for millions on the open market, but throughout his life, his financial choices and vices left him penniless. Van Gogh suffered with chronic alcoholism, particularly turning to the beverage absinthe; a highly addictive psychoactive drug. This famous addicts mind was showing signs of serious problems. While under the influence of alcohol, he cut off his own ear, and later took his own life by shooting himself in the chest.

Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone at anytime, these famous addicts have proven that. If you are struggling with drug addiction, there is hope. Call us now: 1-800-861-1768.

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