Dr. Drew’s new book says most celebs are narcissists

elton john oscar party 240209

File this one under “DUH!” Dr. Drew Pinsky, star of such exploitation-style reality shows as “Celebrity Rehab” and “Sober House,” has written a new book titled “The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing America.” He claims his research shows that celebrities become famous to feed their narcissism, not the other way around. His research team gave hundreds of celebrities and non-famous people the same narcissism test and found that celebs scored significantly higher.

Celebrities’ bad behavior is rooted in mental illness, according to “Dr. Drew” Pinsky, who is best known as the host of Celebrity Rehab and Loveline — a nationally syndicated radio show that invites listeners to call in with questions about sex and drugs.

In his latest book, The Mirror Effect (on bookstore shelves Tuesday), he spells out a theory that stars are predisposed to narcissistic personality disorder long before they become famous. Their dysfunctional behavior is rewarded by Hollywood and portrayed as normal by the press.

“As reporting on celebrity behavior becomes even more ruthless and mean-spirited, I am struck by this disconnect between how a celebrity’s behavior is portrayed in the media, and the very real problems that underlie their actions,” wrote Pinsky.

He argues that the media fails to acknowledge that celebrities are mentally ill when holding them up as role models, so everyday people have begun to emulate their unhealthy behavior.

In 2006, Pinsky and his co-author Mark Young published the first systematic study of celebrity psychology in the Journal of Research in Personality. The new book explains that research and how it fits into the larger context of our culture, which they argue has been soiled by shameless producers, agents and paparazzi.
The first three chapters read like a history textbook, recapping famous celebrity mishaps and an era when those unfortunate episodes were carefully hidden from the public. It gives readers a glimpse of just how conservative Pinsky really is. He seems to prefer the good old days when movie studios were able to keep Rock Hudson in the closet.

The celebrity doctor is not a fan of MySpace or Facebook either, because they allow people to seek attention by acting out like celebrities — posting provocative pictures and personal stories about irresponsible behavior.

“Without appropriate monitoring, these social networking platforms are subject to abuse by those who are most vulnerable to the endless feedback loop they create,” wrote Pinsky. “This is known as an urge/compulsion/reinforcement cycle, and it’s very similar to what happens to those who crave drugs or other addictive substances.”

[From Wired]

Well, if celebs are clinically defined as narcissists, doesn’t Dr. Drew himself fall into that category?I’d be curious to see how he scored on this test. I really do question his abilities. If he’s so great at his job, why are all these people on his reality shows always relapsing? I can’t think of a single celeb he’s tried to “help” who has been able to stay sober. He seems far more interested in creating good drama for TV than actually helping any of these people. Maybe he should take his own advice. It’s interesting that he believes that most celebs become famous because of a deficiency in their personality, but I think with most of them, that’s pretty obvious. Nothing to write a book over.

Dr. Drew attends Elton John’s Oscar Party in Feb. 2008. Photo credits:WENN.
elton john oscar party 240209

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45 Responses to “Dr. Drew’s new book says most celebs are narcissists”

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  1. buenavissta says:

    “Well, if celebs are clinically defined as narcissists, doesn’t Dr. Drew himself fall into that category?”
    MSat, you are wise.

  2. Mimi says:

    i thought the very same thing (re: pot/kettle) when i read that. i must say, though, that i really enjoyed his “love line” radio show with Adam Carolla (sp?) back in the ’90s. I miss it.

  3. geronimo says:

    LOL! Love your no-nonsense assessment of him there, MSat. No credibility and probably the biggest narcissist of them all.

  4. Michele says:

    Dr. Drew,

    Thank you, Captain Obvious!

  5. Chiara says:

    That would have been my question. I have a good friend who is an MD/addiction specialist who does not spend his time in self-aggrandizing self-promotion.

    Dr. Drew is notorious for promoting non-medical treatment for narcissists …what does this say about him?

    Unfortunately the best is not on the airwaves … Dr. Keith Ablow.

  6. RAN says:

    LOL MSat, I agree with the other posters… you hit THAT nail on the head with perfection :)

  7. Leandra says:

    Dr. Phil and Dr. Drew = Fame Whores = money

  8. Ron says:

    Just like him. A realtive of mine was in Dr Drew’s care at his Las Encinas Center. Let me tell you, Dr TV, as we came to call him was NEVER there. You practically had to pull teeth from the receptionist to get him on the phone. We finally requested another Dr be put on the case. Dr Drew’s only concern is how much face time he gets on B cable networks. Or what B list celeb he is working with. I don’t think that he is a bad person, but his focus should be on what he loves…being on television.

    I think that might make him a narcissit.

  9. Tony says:

    If you read what he stated, there is merit to it. The Dr. is articulate and intelligent.

  10. Trey says:

    It takes an average of seven times to successfully break the rehab/relapse cycle. I don’t know how well Drew stacks up against other centers or what his methods even are, so I can’t really assess if he’s actually any good or not.

    I can say he’s light years better than Dr. Phil.

  11. the original kate says:

    at least this guy is an actual docttor, whereas “dr” phil is nothing of the sort.

  12. MSat says:

    I’d say Jeff Conaway had been in rehab a minimum of 7 times before setting foot in “Celebrity Rehab.” Yet, Dr. Drew thought it was okay for his girlfriend to continue to visit him at rehab knowing that she was sneaking alcohol and drugs to him! The only reason he would allow this is so the show would be more dramatic. Any other drug treatment counselor would have thrown that woman out.

    And how about his decision to allow Steve Adler from Guns N Roses to stay at the sober house even though he showed up for the first day wasted on heroin? In a real world scenario that guy never would have been allowed to stay – he would have been transitioned to an in-patient facility. But instead, Dr. Drew decides it was just a slip up, and Adler ends up bringing heroin into the house- putting all the other recovering addicts at risk.

    In short, he sucks as a doctor and is only concerned with his own career.

  13. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    That’s shocking! :)

  14. pat says:

    Well, if that isn’t the cat calling the dog’s ass hairy!

  15. UrbanRube says:

    Actually, “narcissism” as psychiatrists deal with it refers to an actual personality disorder like “bipolar” or “dissociative,” etc. So he’s saying more than that celebrities like attention. He’s saying they’re further up that spectrum from “never want any attention at all” to “will die without constant attention” than most of us are.

    And “curing” chemical dependency is one of the toughest tasks in psychology or psychiatry.

    However, I don’t know whether he’s a great physician or not; I was disappointed to hear Ron’s comment and think that’s a shame.

  16. cookies says:

    first of all duh ! of course celebs are narcisstic there put into this position were there being catered to and waited on hand and foot , no one tells them what to do and they have adoring fans , so yeah dr. drew of course there gonna been narcissist. Second off to say every celeb has a mental illness or had narcissistic tendencies before they were famous is flat out ignorant. . did he talk to every celeb in hollywood and ask them if they have a mental illness and were in love with themselves before they were famous . .

    Dr. Drew just becuase you treated some c-list celebrities that were addicted and possible mental problems doesnt mean everyone in hollywood does and is a narcissist..

    Why dont you go ahead and get a show already and stopped “trying” to treat celebs with addictions problems cause we all saw what a great job you did with the ones’ on “sober house” i mean the only reason why he’s doing this is cause he’s a narcissist himself and wants to see himself on t.v . .

    dr. phil and dr. drew should have a show together so that way they can talk about how great they both are. .

    Sorry for the rant but i really don’t like this guy he’s such a damn hypocrite and plus his show is so f$#@in stupid . .

  17. poopoo says:

    Ahhhhhh Is Dr Drew making you think of someone you defend endlessly. Namely Angelina Jolie that you have to shoot the messenger. I have stateed time and time again that Angelina Jolie suffers from this. In fact it is one of the worst cases I have ever witnessed in the mesia. Aside from Madonna.

    ““As reporting on celebrity behavior becomes even more ruthless and mean-spirited, I am struck by this disconnect between how a celebrity’s behavior is portrayed in the media, and the very real problems that underlie their actions,” wrote Pinsky.

    He argues that the media fails to acknowledge that celebrities are mentally ill when holding them up as role models, so everyday people have begun to emulate their unhealthy behavior.” My feeling about Jolie exactly. I mean you have noticed this is what anti’s have been saying all a long. And it made you mad. Will this be posted?

  18. Lem says:

    How is Jeff Conway? Anyone?

  19. Baho says:

    Urban Rube: Bipolar is not a personality disorder, it is a mood disorder. There’s a huge difference but suffice to say that the mood disorders are essentially treatable whereas personality disorders are not (at least not without tremendous effort and will by the sufferer and lots of therapy). This is why recidivism is so high among criminals with personality disorders. Personality disorders include antisocial personality disorder(psychopathy), borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder to name a few.

    Sorry for the TMI but when you’ve got a condition in the DSMV4 (I’m bipolar), you get to know the DSMV4, ;-)

  20. Baho says:

    p.s. wish I didn’t need to though, that’s for sure…

    So sang Jimi-Hendrix: “manic-depression is a frustrating MESS!”

  21. Baho says:

    And Urban Rube, you are exactly right in pointing out that narcissistic pd is a psychiatric illness surpassing “aren’t I wonderful/gorgeous” – Paul Bernardo is a diagnosed narcissistic personality. Karla Homolka is histrionic.

  22. meow mix says:

    Jeez Baho–I’m a Canadian living in Kentucky for over 10 years and those 2 names just sent a real jolt through me. Not something I wished to remember so many years later. Those poor girls.

  23. Baho says:

    Sorry for that Mix, I just meant to illustrate the terms in a way most US-Canadian people would get. I know what you mean though, and I concur.

    This is why it’s particularly irresponsible for Dr. Dick to run around playing fast and loose with terminology and arm-chair diagnoses.

    Take care.

  24. ChristinaT says:

    dr phil IS a doctor, he has a PhD.

  25. Baho says:

    Christina, yes we know, but he is not an MD – which psychiatrists are. The latter is a medical doctor whose area of specialty is psychiatry – same as neurosurgery or ophthalmology or cardiology. Phil has a doctorate in social work or some other area of the social sciences or humanities.

  26. ChristinaT says:

    yes i know, you don’t have to explain accredidation to me… i have a PhD myself. many claim doctor phil is not a doctor, well that’s just not true. he has a doctorate in psychology, which is plenty to practice psychology. granted, he doesn’t have an MD, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve the dr. in front of his name, it simply means he hasn’t earned an M.D. after it.

    anyway, i have no allegiance to dr phil, i just wish people would realize that a PhD is justifiably called a doctor.

  27. ChristinaT says:

    just to add, maybe people should specify that he’s not a MEDICAL doctor. i find it personally offensive when one spends 6-7 years of their life, and the public doesn’t fully understand the process of accredidation.

  28. Elanenergy says:

    I think this is precisely WHY celebrity gossip cites have become so popular–because regular people ARE NOT narcissists, and so we have to come marvel at the lengths at which these stars are indeed mentally ill. It’s the ONLY negative/leveling experience these grandiose celebs have ever had to endure—public ridicule, finally. Go gossip mongers, get those celebs into treatment. Let the ego smashing begin here.

  29. Jamine says:

    I agree with what he has said. Although I do not know alot about Dr Drew, never heard of him before now, so I can’t really comment on him as a person. But i think he is onto something.

  30. Jamine says:

    Baho, there are psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors etc. A psychiatrist can prescribe medicine and do brain surgery, a psychologist or counsellor can’t. But they are still doctors. To become a psychologist or counsellor you can study social sciences, or you can study psychology.

  31. heh-heh says:

    POT: Most celebs are mentally-ill narcissists.

    KETTLE(S): Takes one to know one.

    Thank you! Try the veal.

  32. Megan says:

    Says a guy who’s clearly had a nose job and is a celebrity himself. I agree with what he’s saying, but it pretty much applies to him as well.

  33. Lila says:

    I understand that a lot of people hero worship celebs, but you have to admit he has a point. Just because you take issue with the source himself that doesn’t invalidate his point. Most of you are just attacking his appearance and making superficial observations. He is a trained professional and certainly not the first one of his kind to point this out.

  34. Baho says:

    Jamine: Because a psychiatrist is an MD. A psychologist is not, though they have a doctorate. Psychiatrists don’t do brain surgery, that is the domain of the neurosurgeon.

    Many people with a PhD (‘doctor of philosophy’)in the social sciences and humanities generally don’t use the the term ‘Dr.’ it’s considered gauche and pretentious. If they’re teaching and are tenured or tenure track, ‘professor’ is preferred. Some will use PhD after their name but not many do that either. In the university environment anyway, rank in the tenure stream is more important since it is considered one has the necessary accreditation (the PhD) to be in the job in the first place.

    I do agree though that if someone has earned their PhD, they have the right to call themselves ‘Doctor.’ It’s not a cakewalk by any means and I certainly don’t want to imply that at all.

  35. Elanenergy says:

    Celebrities = narcissists. Politicians = narcissists. Wall street = narcissists. This is an epidemic, this personality disorder, particularly in America, where winning means everything and the ends justify the means. Dr. Drew PInsky speaks the truth, even if within the psychiatric community, he himself is considered a publicity hound.

  36. the original kate says:

    since when do pyschiatrists perform brain surgery?! i don’t think so…kind of like saying my my GP will do an appendectomy.

  37. FF says:

    Dr Drew’s leaning towards it himself, imo. Maybe it happens when someone aims a spotlight at you?

    To be honest, I think some celebs are narcissists – maybe even most – but I also think that under that kind of scrutiny you’d have to develop at least a little bit of an inflated opinion of yourself to get through the day. Other wise why would you promote anything? Get up on a stage in front of anyone? You’d just feel like a faker all the time.

    You’d have to be around an amazing group of people to stay grounded AND yet have a healthy ego. You get a lot of flack in the public eye – even when you’re in retreat from it.

    I don’t think most celebs figure that out before they’re famous. I don’t think most of them realise what it actually means or brings with it by implication.

  38. pat says:

    People with PhDs in the social sciences who insist on being called “Doctor” are the true narcissists, in my opinion!

    I have to agree with Baho on this one: “Many people with a PhD (’doctor of philosophy’)in the social sciences and humanities generally don’t use the the term ‘Dr.’ it’s considered gauche and pretentious.”


  39. ChristinaT says:

    i’m sorry but in my field, calling someone dr so and so has nothing to do with narcissism and plenty to do with respect…

  40. Kate says:

    Oh. Puleeze.

    I can’t throw a stick without hitting some sad woman who has spent 10 years getting a PhD in Sociology instead of investing in a real career. Then they insist on being called “Doctor” to make the whole exercise feel worthwhile.

    Get over yourselves! You’re not fooling me….

  41. Craig says:

    Actually, the fact that Dr. Drew is bringing this subject into the forefront is extremely important. Hollywood stars make extraordinary amounts of money, and it is dangerous for a narcissistic to have that much money. People should get paid for efforts. Musicians, display an incredible amount of neurotransmission in playing an instrument and singing at the same time, as well as staying in sync with other band members. They use all lobes simultaneously in their performances. Most groups have to rely on their tip jars for income, rather than what they are paid by a club/bar owner, even when it is packed full.
    Don’t forget that narcissistics don’t just have charm, pettiness, exaggerated sense of self importance, they also covertly spy on other individuals, exploit people’s emotional susceptabilities, and can and do spend every waking moment to get at someone that makes them accurately see themselves. Look and review people’s experiences with narcissistics and that will shed light on the subject. If they have a lot of money on top of this, that exasperates the problem that much more. Narcissism is a very serious anxiety driven mental disorder and not to be taken lightly, especially, if the narcissistic has a lot of money. Remember that an individual should not have difficulty in objectively seeing themselves, and if they become extremely agitated, and even violent, then you know something is seriously wrong.
    Important Fact:
    In all instances of cancer, where a cell does not recognize itself, and in autism and suicidal depression, where a person does not recognize themselves, and in AIDS, where the immune system does not recognize itself,
    TRYPOPHAN is a probable therapy.

  42. Jerzy007 says:

    Wow! These are really great blogs. Growing up I really thought I was a Dr. and celebrity because I sold drugs and stayed extremely high through adolecents and late adult hood. This boosted my ego and I felt famous because of all the attention that I craved I won through actions I regret whole heartedly. I grew up in a rough city, Trenton, NJ, and then moved to the sububurbs where the kids had $$$ and I was light years ahead of them in maturity and what I thought really mattered staying high and making money. So, after watching sober house and being bounced all over the place, halfway house, to psychiatric wards, to hospitals and by the grace of something other than myself am actually on my own…I must say Dr. Drew sucks, the Psychiatrists and Psychologists in addiction I’ve seen where at Princeton house in The notoriously bright school’s campus and everything they have told me about relapse and my craziness, hustler turned hermit personality, negates most of all he stands for on the show with his patients…although, under his own narcissism I still think there will be some positive bits I can glean from his book, like us all, we have gifts and gaps, but from a real recovering addict and bi-polar person, the show was really sad..thanks for reading, it felt good to post this today:) PEace

  43. derrick says:

    This GUY Sucks. DR. Drew SUCKS! and its sad how he exploits these people in the way he does- He kind of remind me of Maury Povich he puts a camera on them in the most insensitive way at times that would require tact and personal privacy. The issues of abuse should be discussed but certain things should not be recored for broadcast. Dr. is very insensitive to some very personal private matters that many suffer with. Tonight was my first night watching the show. I did not feel like getting up to find the remote (i wish I had)as i was pre-occupied. But again this guy/dr sucks and he is a sadd perverted case himself. Where is the efficacy? Dr. Drew just cold and its sick because it reminds me of sick perverted care giver who love his job because it gives him access to his or her own perverse imaginative delusions.

  44. fred says:

    The guys the biggest one of all.A poser for any chance to get on television.Taking advantage of anybody who needs help.Calling people sex addicts rather than just saying they like sex alot.Go away Mr. Goofy!

  45. wordsdontmatter says:

    yeah,DR drew has turned into another freak created by our superficial hollywood rating culture.

    I agree with the other commenter on his show loveline with Adam in 90s was great. He was a real person back then, and seemed to really care about the callers, and was calm.

    i just saw him on piers morgan talking about charlie sheen; in my opinion, dr drew should be put away not charlie.

    he tried to psycho analyze charlie in 30seconds speaking a mile a minute and even said he couldnt treat him due to his new show.

    but the extreme views he holds is gross and worse most of it is supported by our culture. Our country sucks..now