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Many Find Solace in Charlie Sheen Drama, Expert Contends
Date:3/11/2011

By Margaret Steele
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 10 (HealthDay News) -- Charlie Sheen's apparent public meltdown has all the elements of a made-for-TV drama that has riveted millions of Americans -- and that could, ironically, provide a healthy diversion for some people, at least one expert contends.

While the actor's recent antics, which got him fired Monday from the CBS hit show Two and a Half Men, may be symptomatic of a mental health crisis, Beverly Flaxington, author of the book Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior, said watching Sheen's personal and professional unraveling has been somewhat of a respite for many people from the recession, the upheaval in the Middle East, family pressures and other sources of stress.

"Most news in recent months hasn't been great, and this is a distraction that people can focus on without having it affect them personally," Flaxington said.

Watching Sheen's behavior can make people reflect positively on their own lives, said Flaxington, a personal and career coach based in Medfield, Mass. "It has many of us thinking, 'I have challenges in my life, but unlike him, I'm holding it together,' " she said.

"We can feel pretty good about ourselves," she added.

Sheen, reportedly drunk and naked, apparently trashed a hotel room at The Plaza hotel in New York City last fall. Then last month, his longtime publicist quit amid the tabloid-fodder turmoil. And last week, the highly paid actor (reportedly $2 million per episode of the show) was hit with a restraining order to stay away from his estranged wife and twin toddlers.

Some people enjoy the "mighty have fallen" aspects of Sheen's behavior, Flaxington said. "But there's also a little bit of his behavior that we all connect to," she added. "Don't we all wish we had enough money to tell our bosses off?"

"We're all capable of doings things we're not proud of," F
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