Are There Factors that Predispose Artists to Addiction?

It is recognized that some professions have a higher incidence of alcohol and drug abuse. This is particularly true for the arts and entertainment industry. Professionals such as actors and musicians show higher rates of drinking and drug usage than the general population with nearly 14% reporting past month drug use and 11.5% of reporting heavy drinking.  

Performing artists who are drawn into drug use are often young and their immaturity could be clouding their decisions without first considering the consequences. Because of this drug dealers also target the rich and famous artists by making their way into their inner circle and enticing them with the temporary pleasures of alcohol and drugs.  

A number of lifestyle factors could be the backdrop for addiction problems reported among rock stars and other creative individuals. The freedom around scheduling and working hours among the artists may contribute to the rates and types of substance use. In addition, artists generally have their performances during night times when many people are drunk or high on drugs. 

A few other factors include: 

Stress and anxiety: In the news, we hear of musicians and other popular performers drink themselves to untimely deaths due to stress associated with their profession. 

Stage fright: Public appearance is a cause for panic for most people. Many musicians who succumbed to addiction report having panic attacks about playing in public. The artists who resort to alcohol and drugs to control their performance anxiety struggle to come down after their stage performance is over. They then drink more to relax, which turns into a habit difficult to get out of. Almost like a vicious cycle.

Lack of confidence: Studies show link between low self-esteem and substance abuse. People, including entertainment professionals who have low self-esteem often use drugs or alcohol to feel better about themselves, if only temporarily.

Peer pressure: Entertainment professionals face peer pressure to appear fearless and cool. Usually, artists such as musicians, work in bands consisting of more than 10 people traveling and practically doing everything together. Often this puts a lot of pressure to indulge in irresponsible behavior to please others in the group. 

Recently, perhaps after many tragic deaths among famous artists, things seem to slowly change for the better. The new generation of players appear to be more conscious about mental and physical wellbeing.

Nowadays many artists take part in physical activities such as running, cycling, and yoga. There is an increasing recognition that the best way to handle the stress of performance stress is to address the problem by being physically fit.