April 10, 2012
Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino, star of MTV’s controversial Jersey Shore, has confirmed a recent two-month stay in rehab for substance abuse. In a March 21, 2012 statement from the reality star, Sorrentino names an addiction to prescription medications used to “deal with exhaustion” as the reason he sought treatment. According to the New York Post, Sorrentino had checked into rehab once before at age 27, not long before joining the case of Jersey Shore.
Substance abuse, in the form of an addiction to prescription medications, can be the result of chronic use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for reasons other than their indicated use or in a manner or in quantities other than directed. In cases of substance abuse, whether the substance of choice is drugs or alcohol, outward signs of abuse can include such negative behaviors as:
- Failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home
- Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous
(i.e.,driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by substance use)
- Arguments, extreme paranoia, or physical fights that occur when under the influence or are provoked by criticisms about substance use
- Substance-related legal problems, including arrests for substance related disorderly conduct.
Especially in men, substance abuse often functions as a mask for depression or anxiety, or some other underlying disorder. A 2009 qualitative study on men’s depression (here) found that men’s experiences with depression included both typical symptoms (as described in the DSM-IV-R) and atypical symptoms such as substance abuse, escalating interpersonal conflict, and anger management problems.
Before news of The Situation’s stay in rehab broke, some media outlets had already speculated that substance abuse issues could be present, noting that in the most recent season of Jersey Shore, his behavior was erratic throughout, particularly during an episode in which the gang goes camping. In this show, “Sitch” appears extremely paranoid and agitated, even breaking into a sweat though he is not physically exerting himself. Other episodes feature Mike’s heavy alcohol consumption, leading some to wonder whether his rehab stay included treatment for alcohol addiction. While the line between truth and fiction is often difficult to tell in so-called reality shows, Mike’s troubling actions and outward behavior were enough to raise concern, even among diehard fans of the hard-partying reality show participants.
Mike posted last week on his Facebook page that he’s “back stronger and better than ever!” After two months in rehab for substance abuse, it is typical that intensive follow up treatment continue. Hopefully Mike is also pursuing psychological counseling to address the underlying issues that led to his problems with substance abuse. It has been confirmed that The Situation will be a part of the upcoming season of Jersey Shore, though filming has not yet begun and it unclear whether Mike’s substance abuse issues will be addressed as part of the story line.