There have been many depictions of addictions throughout the media and on screen, but do these depictions of addiction portray addiction accurately? Or is it depiction watered down/over exaggerated? Here at Footprints of Serenity, we look into addiction and see how the media portrays addiction versus how addiction actually is within individuals. 


How Is Addiction Portrayed on TV?

In researching different TV shows, there seems to be a common theme when it comes to the descriptions of addiction and addicts. Within these shows there seems to be so much despair and deterioration between not only the individual’s livelihood, but also the relationships that they have with other people. The addiction then becomes very stereotypical and to the audience, seems very noticeable, so much so that the other characters within the show should clearly notice. 

The addict’s characteristics are very stereotypical as well, including being portrayed as liars, stealers, and even bad parents. In the way that the media portrays substance abuse and addiction, some recovering addicts may be ashamed to tell their story or to admit they need help. This is because a lot of the tv shows and media are making addicts seem less than, and nothing but crazy people, that will do anything to get the thing that they desire. This of course, isn’t always the case and more frequently than not, addicts are people that are pretty normal but are experiencing a problem. 


TV Shows Addressing Addiction

  • HBO’s Euphoria – Euphoria has been praised for its raw depictions of mental health, substance abuse, and addiction. This show is about a young high school girl who struggles with the pressures of high school and managing her co-occurring disorders. 
  • NBC’s This Is Us – This Is Us has been praised for its honest and emotional depictions of many sensitive topics. Two of the issues that they continually bring to light are mental health disorders and addiction. One of the actors within this show portrays an opioid addiction, which stemmed from his growing problem with depression. An interview done by ABC with Justin Hartley, who plays Kevin Pearson on This is Us, discusses his portrayal of addiction, “I wanted to make sure that we told a story that was honest and true, especially because this is something that people deal with a lot… It’s very dangerous. You can lose your wealth, you can lose your friends, you can lose your trust, you can lose your dignity, you can lose everything. We didn’t want to just tell a drug story real quick and then just wrap it up in a bow.” This portrayal is a real experience that some addicts tend to have. 
  • Showtime’s Shameless – Shameless has been known to sort of be a mixture of comedy and drama. This show follows a family called the Gallagher’s who, throughout the history of the show, all struggle with some sort of addiction. This show seems to have very stereotypical addicts, especially in regards to the mother and the father who are both considered “bad parents.”
  • A&E’s Addiction Unplugged – A&E’s Addiction Unplugged is a documentary series that aims to fight the stigma that is associated with addiction, substance abuse disorders, and recovery. This documentary series tries to shed light on the reality of substance abuse and the process of recovery. Its aim is to show how hope and second chances can change lives. 


How Can Footprints of Serenity Help With Addiction?

Here at Footprints of Serenity, we use many different resources to help with individualized unique treatment paths for each of our clients. We want to make recovery and sobriety as easy as possible for our clients and help each of our clients feel comfortable while doing so. We provide interventions, recovery coaches, and we also help with outside support. Reach out to us today to receive the help that you deserve in an individualized manner that will meet your specific needs.

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