'Celebrity Rehab 4': Does Dr. Drew Make Addicts Worse?

Kim Conte

dr. drew pinskyRight now on VH1.com, there is a clip of the first episode of Celebrity Rehab 4 (premiering December 1) that's almost too awful to watch.

In it, the usually feisty and loud-mouthed Janice Dickinson breaks down and confesses to Will Smith (the rehab counselor, not the Fresh Prince) that she's been having suicidal thoughts. It's such a painful scene because of the intense emotional and vulnerable state she's in; and, frankly, I'm hating myself for watching such a raw, private moment in the first place.

So who can I blame for the shame I'm feeling for my voyeurism? The man behind it all: Dr. Drew Pinsky, of course.

Dr. Drew has made a career for himself as a reality television therapist on Celebrity Rehab, Sober House, and, most recently, Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew. On each of his shows, the premise is the same: He convinces D-list celebrity addicts to air their difficult struggles and battle their life-threatening addictions on live TV while an insatiable, voyeuristic audience looks on.

I've always felt a little guilty for watching the show; but this Janice Dickinson clip really put me over the edge. I can't help but think that Dr. Drew is a manipulative person for exploiting these people at their most vulnerable moments. He helps people who need it, sure, but he can't always have their best interest at heart especially when he has so much to gain personally (money, fame, etc.). Plus, rumors are that many of the former contestants are still using even after being on the show.

At the same time, I've heard some recovering addicts, as well as friends and family of addicts, applaud the show and say that it has actually helped them to understand and deal with addiction.

At least I think I've heard them say that. Could it be that I'm just looking for a way to justify the fact that I like the show without feeling like a horrible person?

Celebrity Rehab 4 premieres tonight at 10 p.m. EST on VH1.

Do you feel guilty watching Celebrity Rehab? Do you think Dr. Drew helps or exploits addicts on the show?


Image via VH1.com


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