Paula Abdul Breaks Longtime Addiction to Pain Medications

Paula Abdul Breaks Longtime Addiction to Pain Medications

Addiction goes on in secret for years, as celebrity stories consistently demonstrate – until the dependence becomes so strong that the person’s very life hangs on the verge. This is the story for Paula Abdul, who announced her 12-year addiction to prescription painkillers in 2009.

Known worldwide for her pop music career and role as a judge on the talent search television show “American Idol,” Paula Abdul said in interviews in 2009 that she guarded an addiction to prescription painkillers for over a decade.

Like many celebrities and non-celebrities, the addiction to prescription painkillers began as a pain treatment. Abdul began receiving treatment for a painful illness that is believed linked to her previous back surgeries, as well as incidents sustained in both a car and a plane crash. In reflecting on the addiction, Paula Abdul said that it became a way to carry on with her performances and meet expectations while enduring pain from a series of sports and dance-related injuries.

With honesty and an open proclamation of herself as a former drug addict, Abdul revealed her story in an issue of Ladies Home Journal magazine in 2009. The pop-singing legend was also honest about her experience with withdrawal from prescription painkillers, which she said brought on severe symptoms including hot spells, cold sweats, teeth chattering and physical pain. In interviews, she described the withdrawal process as terrible, but even at its worst, better than living with the addiction.

The singer also tried alternative therapies, like Chinese medicine. Pain medications for Abdul also included a patch infused with painkillers 80 times stronger than morphine along with medications for nerve-related pain. Side effects from her various pain medications led Paula Abdul to endure insomnia and other problems, even fueling suspicions that she was under the influence of drugs while working on the American Idol set.

Paula Abdul said her addiction was close to a tragic or fatal ending when she decided to take steps to stop the problem. Abdul voluntarily entered California’s La Costa Resort and Spa to begin rehabilitation and withdrawal.

Now fully embracing recovery, Abdul works to remain pain-free with exercise and yoga and is living with a new outlook on life apart from the physical, occupational and emotional consequences of an addiction to pain medications. Her story serves as a reminder that even long-held addictions to drugs can be broken.  

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