With the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman over night, it just goes to show that mental illness does not abate with age, with fame, with critical acclaim or with parenthood.
There are those who have been quick to write him off as ‘just another Hollywood overdose’ but perhaps we should look at the reason Phillip Seymour Hoffman died with a needle in his arm.
People who abuse drugs don’t do so because they enjoy it. Okay, so they might enjoy it while they are in the middle of a high, but that is a very small moment in the life of a drug-taker. It is everything that comes with it which makes drug use a terrible past time; coming down from the drug, the endless search to get the drug in your possession (which often comes at great cost), the affect it has on your health, and the emotional affect it has on your family.
There is also, of course, the risk of getting caught. Drugs are, after all, illegal.
For the most part (and of course there are exceptions to every rule) drugs are used by people as a means to escape the hardship of life. When speaking of drug users, the ignorant say, ‘why don’t they just quit?’
Because the drug itself isn’t the reason behind its use.
It is the reason why rehab is such an important tool. Users need to learn the psychological reasons for why they use. They need to heal their emotional anguish before so there is no longer a need to mask their pain with drugs.
It is not an easy road to sobriety, as Seymour Hoffman has shown; he was in rehab early on in his career. Addiction doesn’t stop with a hospital visit. It stays with you for life.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was forty-six when he died. He was the father of Cooper, 10, Tallulah, 7 and Willa, 5. He won an Oscar for his role in Capote, and appeared in the films Money Ball, Patch Adams, Magnolia, The Talented Mr Ripley, Almost Famous, and Doubt, just to name a few.
He was an extraordinary talent.