Some forms of mental illness have a higher association with addiction than others, Goldman said. "Depression might drive people to escape from that feeling, or if someone's manic, they may want to calm themselves down and avoid the racing thoughts," he said.
In the case of co-occurring disorders, both need to be treated simultaneously for a successful recovery, Goldman said.
"You can't force someone to get help unless they are a danger to themselves or others," he said. On the other hand, "You can't do nothing," he added.
Getting friends on board would help, Parsons said. But some of Sheen's pals have told reporters they think he's mentally stable.
George Santo Pietro, a friend of Sheen's, told ABC News that Sheen is still in control. "There's a method to his madness," Pietro said. "There's a bigger story to Charlie than everyone has seen."
Others maintain that Sheen's dramatics are part of a carefully calculated publicity stunt.
But, if that's the case, said Parsons, "it backfired."
SOURCES: Beverly Flaxington, personal and career coach, and author, Medfield, Mass.; Jeffrey Parsons, Ph.D., psychology professor, Hunter College, New York City; Bruce Goldman, L.C.S.W., program director, Project Outreach, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Zucker Hillside Hospital, West Hempstead, N.Y.
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