Marilyn Monroe's death continues to spark addiction, mental health conversations

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(KTLA) — Marilyn Monroe’s tragic death at the age of 36 shocked the world 60 years ago and still carries weight today, especially surrounding the topics of mental health and addiction.

Monroe’s death was one of the first deadly celebrity overdoses in Hollywood and perhaps the most notorious still to this day.

Monroe kept her demons hidden

While millions of photos portrayed Monroe’s life as perfect, it was anything but that. She had a traumatic childhood, as her mother suffered from schizophrenia, which forced Monroe to take shelter in various foster homes.

Later in adulthood, her addiction to drugs and alcohol took a toll on her.

“There were some severe attachment issues for her,” explained Joni Ogle, CEO of Transcend Recovery Community and Heights Treatment. “It made sense that she was medicating and trying to soothe her nervous system because it was probably never regulated.”

The ease of addiction

It was known that Monroe did seek psychological help, however that may have differed from the treatments of today.

“What was common at that time were prescription medications,” Ogle explained. “Everybody just threw medication at the problem, which kind of created the tsunami (of addiction) where we are today. That’s the one common thing that I see when I look back at older celebrities who have died of drug addiction. They had a psychiatrist or a doctor who was right there, just prescribing them medication and nobody really around them to help them.”

Ogle mentioned another deadly celebrity overdose, Elvis Presley.

“They were performers, and people wanted them to perform. They just did what they had to do to get them up there to perform. Often, that’s a lot of medication,” Ogle said.

“People just need you to do what you need to do, to bring in the money and to keep the system going,” Ogle added.

Ogle said while many people believe celebrities are superhuman, they’re just like the rest of us.

“They struggle as we all do. One universal thing is that all humans struggle. It’s just a matter of what with. If we can talk about it and bring it to light, that’s the important part.”

Whether it’s a big-time celebrity or a close friend, Ogle says, if people were more open about their struggles, it would help us all feel less alone.

“Addiction thrives in isolation,” she explained. “So it just grows, and you feel alone, and you feel ashamed, and you don’t want to talk about it. So then it thrives.”

While Monroe’s death occurred six decades ago, addiction and mental health continue to be a conversation today in Hollywood and beyond.

“It’s kind of trendy to have a therapist now, and it has been probably for the last 15 years,” she continued. “It does help hold people accountable. You can’t really do therapy if you’re so medicated. You have to be able to process your trauma and process what’s going on. So a therapist would notice that.”

Transcend Recovery Community “is a full-fledged community comprised of nine homes throughout the Los Angeles, New York, and Houston areas.”

For more information, head here.



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