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celebrityrehab2011

We Asked a Shrink If 'Celebrity Rehab' Can Work & Why It's So Addictive to Watch

by Alex Moaba, posted Jun 24th 2011 3:20PM
It was a sad off-season for 'Celebrity Rehab,' which saw two former patients, Mike Starr and Jeff Conaway, die of drug overdoses. With the show returning for its fifth season Sunday night, June 26, on VH1, we're starting to feel more and more conflicted about tuning in. Rumors that Michael Lohan was paid $180K to go on the show this season and that Rachel Uchitel was paid $500K last season add to a cloud of ethical issues swirling around the show.

We had questions: Are we watching glorified train-wreck TV, or real rehab where good work can be done? And why is the show so, dare we say, addictive to watch? We had to talk to a shrink to sort it all out.

"I feel that 'Celebrity Rehab' does for rehab and substance abuse what the 'Jersey Shore' does for New Jersey," says Eric Sherman, LCSW, a psychotherapist who's treated patients with substance abuse problems in Montclair, N.J., and New York City. "It gets publicity out there, but is that really the most helpful thing for people to be seeing?"

"What Dr. Drew is doing is in essence paying people money to come on the show," he continued. "It's encouraging bad behavior -- the more they act out, the more screen time they get. And by very the nature of television, things get boiled down to highlight the most dysfunctional and the most emotional. It gives a somewhat false impression of what one might actually encounter in substance abuse treatment."

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