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Shia LaBeouf: Mentally Ill, Alcoholic, or Just Trolling Us?

Shia LaBeouf: Mentally Ill, Alcoholic, or Just Trolling Us?

At the ‘Nymphomaniac’ Premiere – 64th Berlinale International Film Festival
image via nypost.com

Yesterday we posted an article about Shia LaBeouf in which we wondered whether he was suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, or whether it was all part of his idea of “performance art.” Well, news broke this morning that LaBeouf, 27, has checked himself into rehab. So, it seems, we weren’t far off the mark; LaBeouf is indeed struggling with alcoholism – and perhaps as a result, some form of mental illness, as the two often go hand-in-hand.

With his latest brush with the law, being arrested for harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass after some highly-publicized drunken outbursts during the Broadway performance of Cabaret Thursday, it seems that LaBeouf has hit rock bottom. LaBeouf, carrying The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, checked into a Los Angeles rehab.

And, apparently this isn’t the first time that the actor has attempted recovery.

In the past, LaBeouf had spoken about how, as a child, he attended AA meetings with his father. As a teen, LaBeouf seemingly had no issues with alcohol or other drugs as there were no incidences to speak of. Instead, the former Disney child actor spent his time wisely, focusing on building quite the promising film career. However, in 2007, he was arrested at a Walgreen’s for what he described as “intoxicated” behavior, and a year later, was arrested on drunken driving charges; it seemed that the actor’s alcoholism was burgeoning.

That same year, in 2008, the National Enquirer reported that LaBeouf had picked up a chip to celebrate his 60 days of sobriety at an AA meeting in Los Angeles. Which is troubling because of the whole anonymity thing.

In 2011, the actor spoke openly about his substance abuse, telling Parade magazine that  that he was an “alcoholic” after being involved in a bar brawl.

At this time, LaBeouf was said to be attending AA meetings rather frequently in both New York and L.A.

By the following year, however, there was growing concern regarding the actor’s sobriety as he was heard bragging about drinking moonshine and dropping LSD while “researching” movie roles.

More recently, LaBeouf seems to be upping the ante with his antics, all of which seemed to involve alcohol. There was the recent NYC bar brawl, which took place after the actor was seen downing margaritas. Then LaBeouf was seen chasing a homeless man through the park. Then the whole Cabaret incident. All the while, the actor has appeared more and more disheveled in appearance. It’s clear that LaBeouf is struggling with his alcoholism and that it’s taking its toll on his health and mental well-being.

Original story reads below.

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What the hell is up with Shia LaBeouf? A child Disney star who seemed to have successfully made the transition to adult celebrity status, what with his roles in the blockbuster Transformers franchise and a role in the ever-popular Indian Jones series’ latest installment The Crystal Skulls, among other projects. As of late, LaBeouf has been acting like a righteous d-bag. We’re left wondering: is it mental illness, substance abuse, or is it all just an “act?”

The latest news involves the 27-year-old actor being tearfully led away by police from the Broadway production of Cabaret on Thursday evening, after he allegedly disrupted the performance by shouting loudly at the cast on stage during the show, smoking and smacking lead actor Alan Cumming on the butt.

While being escorted out of the theater by police, the actor hurled insults and profanities at police officers.

Due to his drunken display during the Broadway show and subsequent arrest, LaBeouf was arraigned in Midtown Community Court on Friday. He was charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass following the incident. Reports describe the actor as “bleary-eyed and unkempt” as he was released from custody by the New York Police Department on Friday morning.

LaBeouf’s bizarre behavior in New York City is just the latest in a string of outbursts from the former clean-cut Disney Channel star.

And a week before his Broadway stunt, LaBeouf apparently almost got into an altercation outside a strip club in New York City. TMZ’s website posted a short video clip Sunday, showing LaBeouf bouncing around as if he’s getting ready to throw punches at another man; LaBeouf appears to be taunting an unidentified man but then quickly walks away after an exchange of words.

Even his former co-stars have been expressing concerns for LaBeouf. Siobhan Fallon Hogan, who starred in Holes with Shia, told The Metro: “I think there’s a ton of pressure when you’re in the acting business. It’s hard growing up acting – being a child actor. There’s so much pressure to act the right way. There’s so much attention from the press that, if you make one wrong move, it’s under a microscope. I can see that being hard for him.”

LaBeouf made headlines in February after he wore a paper bag over his head with “I am not famous anymore” scrawled on it at a Berlin film conference, saying that it was an act of “performance art.”

Perhaps the most memorable cringe-worthy incident involving LaBeouf occurred December of last year when it came to light that the actor ripped off graphic novel writer Daniel Clowes when he released the short film, HowardCantour.com, but passed it off as his own work.

What made matters worse was LaBeouf’s reaction to being exposed a plagiarist, as he issued a series of bizarre apologies. Most notable was the one in which he hired a skywriter to write  “I am sorry Daniel Clowes” in the Los Angeles sky on New Year’s Day, which the actor then promptly snapped and tweeted along with three definitions of the word ‘cloud.’

In a tweet, he blames his plagiarism on his alcohol use: “I lifted the text, probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.”

LaBeouf is due in court on July 24.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

In the News: Colleges Crack Down on Drugs and Alcohol

In the News: Colleges Crack Down on Drugs and Alcohol

College: a time during which certain rights of passage occur, namely, binge drinking and experimenting with other drugs. Of course, it doesn’t have to be but, for many Americans, their times spent on college campuses is one filled with books and booze (and some other substances in the mix, too).

For this blogger, that was certainly the case. I started out with alcohol and weed in high school and, by the time I got to college, I was trying out many different things: mostly designer drugs, such as Ecstasy, Special K (ketamine), and LSD. Weed was always my constant, though, and I began to drink less and less.

That was in the early 2000s. More recently, colleges and universities have begun to take alcohol and other drug use on their campuses more seriously.  Alcohol and drug offenses are being more aggressively pursued and punished. And this even as the rate of serious crime on college campuses has dropped, according to a government report released Tuesday.

A federal law known as the Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report crime data, however, compliance is inconsistent across the board, and those who advocate on behalf of victims of campus crime say that many institutions of higher learning are either disorganized or intentionally misleading with their reporting.

The annual report from the Education and Justice Departments found that in 2011, colleges and universities started disciplinary proceedings for alcohol or drug offenses against 162 of every 10,000 students, not including those who were arrested. That was up from 132 in 2001.

Over that same interval, the rate of students being arrested on campus for alcohol- or other drug- related crimes was pretty consistent at 35 per 10,000 in 2011. The report did not differentiate between arrests by campus police officers and by outside law enforcement agencies, or indicate how often colleges called in outside police officers.

S. Daniel Carter, of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to campus safety said that the increase in disciplinary actions “doesn’t reflect actual increased offenses; it’s about stepped-up enforcement. Typically, when something gets to the point of a liquor law violation being enforced, it’s not just a kid having a beer in his room — it has escalated to something bigger.”

According to statistics, there was a sharp decline in reports of serious crimes on campuses but, campus safety specialists cautioned that, while there had been somewhat of a drop, the figures shouldn’t be taken at face value. In fact, according to these specialists, much of the decline was a result of new guidelines from the Education Department on how to define the most common of the serious crimes, which is burglary.

The reported rate rose in just one category of serious crimes, forcible sex offenses — from 1.9 in 2010 to 2.2 per 10,000 the following year. Specialists attributed this increase to victims being more forthcoming with being victimized and making reports.

Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, which is a major organization of colleges and universities said, “I think it’s very difficult to look at all of these numbers and draw really precise conclusions.” He added that the exception is that “college and university officials are paying more attention to alcohol and drugs.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

8 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Relationship with Food

8 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Relationship with Food

“Our obsession with appearance, our fixation on diet and our food- and information-abundant culture have given rise to an epidemic of unhealthy relationships with food,” says Michelle May, MD, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. “Food has become our focus instead of being the fuel for a full life.”

Here are 8 signs you have an unhealthy relationship with food.

1: You ‘eat your feelings’

There’s a difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. If you always reach for your comfort food(s) at the first sign of feeling something you don’t want to feel, such as sadness, loneliness, or depression – or if you look to food to enhance feelings you’re experiencing, such as joy and excitement – this is a sign that you have an unhealthy relationship with food.

2: You eat when you’re bored

Likewise, if you reach for the snacks simply because you don’t know what else to do with your hands, then you probably think about food as something other than what it truly is: fuel for living (see #4).

3: You think of food as a reward

I know I have been guilty of this one in the past. I used to *try* to deprive myself of dessert, telling myself I didn’t need the calories. But, my next thought would always be, “But, I’m a good person, why should be punished by not allowing myself to have that piece of cake?” It’s obvious to me now just how screwed up my attitude towards food was…and still is, sometimes.

4: You don’t understand the concept of ‘food-as-fuel’

Although you can certainly enjoy food, its main purpose is to fuel the body. I realized that I had an unhealthy relationship with food when I couldn’t understand how other people could just eat what was necessary for their body at the time and not overindulge.

Dr. May says, “Before eating, pause to ask yourself, Does my body need fuel? Why am I thinking about food if my body doesn’t need it?” She adds, “If you do need to eat, listen to your cravings: Indulging a little now can keep you from overdoing it later.”

5: You eat even when you’re already full

There’s no real feeling of being satiated by a meal. Even if you feel full, you continue to eat because you still don’t feel satisfied; there’s still a feeling of something missing that you hope to fill with more food.

6: Your activities revolve around eating

Whereas things used to revolve around alcohol and other drugs, you now equate socializing with going out to eat.

7: You have stringent rules

You are super rigid about what you can and can’t eat but, “this kind of rigidity is all about fear of losing control,” says Susan Albers, PsyD, author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food.  She adds that, “Rule-based eating doesn’t take hunger and cravings into account.” And all of this is just setting yourself up for a fall. Besides, it’s also an indication of the obsession that you have when it comes to food and eating. If you’re always counting calories, then you’re being consumed by your unhealthy relationship with food.

8: You’re dyingggg to be thin (maybe even literally)

Just like any other relationship, an unhealthy one is full of deception. If you tell yourself you’re doing a cleanse or a fast, or that you’re going to start juicing because you’re doing it for the antioxidants but you’re really doing it because you heard it’ll make you drop weight quickly, you’re playing with fire.

Depriving yourself of crucial nutrients, or only allowing yourself to eat a select few (orthorexia) and pretending it’s healthy is a dangerous game. And ironically, it can cause a backlash of weight gain by perpetuating the whole vicious cycle of “starve, binge, hate yourself.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, addiction, or food addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Junkie, Crackhead, Dope fiend: Is it ever OK to use derogatory terminology to describe addiction?

Junkie, Crackhead, Dope fiend: Is it ever OK to use derogatory terminology to describe addiction?

Addiction has many faces, touches all levels of class and creed, and has many names. Titles like ‘Junkie’, ‘Crack-head’, ‘Dope Fiend’ are thrown around, and other not-so-fun nick-name’s like ‘Drunk’ all create a negative mental picture for most people. The stigma attached to these names is associated with a variety of stereotypes that are typically considered as tasteless, foul, or degenerate individuals. So is it ever OK to use derogatory terminology to describe addiction?

Taking it Personal

Most addicts and alcoholics in recovery would probably prefer that someone who has never lived that life-style should never call them by these names. Calling someone who is struggling with addiction, if it is a friend or relative, coworker or associate, is detrimental to their self-confidence, their emotional stability, and their self-worth. People who are in the grips of a progressive illness like alcoholism or drug addiction are usually dealing with a variety of internal conflicts, and by using those terms to identify them people are giving the suffering individual another reason to buy into the stigma.

It can create hostility and resentment in relationships if a person takes these personally, and it can cause an addict or alcoholic to regress in their recovery if they feel they cannot escape their past. For those who have not dealt first hand with this illness it is poor character to ridicule the addict or alcoholic, active or recovering, when they most likely have a hard enough time facing the issue on their own terms.

Letting the Derogatory Define You

For those of us in recovery, there can be different results on our mentality based on these names. It can be harmful to our progression through life and through our relationships to be subjected to these names from our peers. Playful or not, these names can subconsciously find a home in our minds, and develop into the image of ourselves we have in our own head that traps us in that stigma.

If we are labeled by those we are surrounded by, or even if we label ourselves as the ‘Junkie’ or the ‘Drunk’, we may not even realize the way we adopt that as our true self. That idea that we will always be looked at as the ‘Crack-head’ or the ‘Wino’ can keep us from striving to be more. It’s possible that if we cannot let go of the ‘Junkie’ title it will only be harder to let go of that ‘Junkie’ mind-state. It is said we are capable of us much we believe we can accomplish, so if we promote the stereotype of a ‘Dope Fiend’ in our lives, are we only setting ourselves up for failure? Are we convincing ourselves and others every day that we are only as good as our ‘glory days’ and promoting that idea in others like us? In this respect we have to decide what is OK for the individual.

Using Insults as Instruments

Then there is the other side of the coin, where we as recovering alcoholics and addicts use names like ‘Junkie’ and ‘Drunk’ as tools to carry the message or sobriety by humbly remembering where we came from. As strange as it may sound, it can be used to empower others early in recovery who struggle with the concept of ever being able to live a life worth living after experiencing the life on the path of self-destruction.

When speaking with other addicts and alcoholics, I sometimes refer to myself as a ‘Drunk’ or a ‘Junkie’ to relate to those who have struggled with their substance abuse, and to show them that I can remember a time where during active alcoholism and addiction I was called by these names, and believed these names defined me as a person. There are few positives attached to these names, but in sobriety and when speaking to others in recovery these derogatory names can be used as instruments of inspiration when wielded properly.

When I tell others that I went from being a ‘Junkie’ or a ‘Drunk’ I do so to shake the assumption that these names mean we cannot be more than what those names suggest. To try and take the sting out of the stigma, I identify with my past and I explain how I ignored the stereotypes and accepted who I was beyond these names. I believe it keeps me humble in a way to remember where I come from and what I’ve done, but it gives me strength to know and share how I have over-come that. These sticks and stones can no longer break me, and I know I am not defined by my addiction. I am a ‘Drunk’ and a ‘Junkie’, but as long as I stay active in my recovery that is not WHO I am, it is a just piece of the portrait.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

In the News: Another Broward County Judge Arrested for DUI

In the News: Another Broward County Judge Arrested for DUI

Yet another Broward County judge has been arrested for DUI after she crashed her BMW into a parked Broward Sheriff’s Office vehicle. Judge Lynn Rosenthal is now out on bond. Rosenthal, 56, was appointed to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida by Gov. Rick Scott in 2012. She previously worked as a federal prosecutor.

Rosenthal’s black BMW sport utility vehicle was seen crashing into a parked BSO cruiser in the parking lot of the Broward County courthouse shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday. Deputies arriving on scene as a result of a call regarding the collision then placed Judge Rosenthal under arrest.

Rosenthal was given a Breathalyzer with the results of .000, meaning that no alcohol was detected. The judge admitted to having taken Ambien, a powerful sleeping pill the night before, however.

The police report stated that, “She last took Ambien CR at approximately 10 p.m. Monday” and that Rosenthal “appeared unsteady on her feet” and her “speech seemed slow and mumbled.”

Ambien can have very similar effects to alcohol on the central nervous system, effects that mimic acute alcohol intoxication,” said Dr. Randy Katz, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Memorial Regional Hospital.

According to sources, blood was drawn from her on the scene.

Deputies also noted that Rosenthal’s car also struck two yellow pillars near the gate of the courthouse parking lot, before hitting the parked BSO unit. Rosenthal told the deputies she wasn’t injured in the crash with the cruiser “or the crash from earlier in the morning,” the report stated.

Rosenthal went on to tell the deputies about a crash she was involved in on 595 that same morning, before arriving in the courthouse parking lot and hitting the patrol cruiser. Rosenthal then stated she had recorded it on her cell phone’s camera and explained how the incident was caused by another vehicle that ran her off the road.

However, when she showed the deputies the video, they concluded that she appeared delusional, as they said there was no other car in the video and that she clearly could not maintain her lane as she drove down the highway. The video showed Rosenthal swerving off the shoulder and hitting a side wall or median. “If this is true, it’s really quite ironic and quite sad,” said attorney Bill Gelin.

Rosenthal’s arrest makes is the third arrest of a Broward County judge on charges of DUI in last six months. In November, Judge Cynthia Imperato faced DUI charges in Boca Raton. A month earlier, Imperato, was seen driving erratically and nearly hit another vehicle in Boca Raton. Then, earlier this month, Judge Giselle Pollack was also arrested on DUI charges.

Pollack was arrested after she was in a crash that involved another vehicle. The incident resulted in the other driver being transported to the hospital with a neck injury. Judge Pollack suffered a burn on her arm but was not transported.

According to police reports, several alcoholic beverages were found in Pollack’s trunk. Officers also found an empty plastic cup next to her seat.

Pollack failed a field sobriety test after she refused to take a Breathalyzer and was taken into custody.

Judge Pollack has talked candidly about her addiction-related problems prior to the incident and even took a leave of absence from the bench in order to get help for her addiction.

Rosenthal is campaigning to reclaim her seat on the bench in this year’s election.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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