PHILADELPHIA, PA – The world was in shock on Saturday when legendary singer Whitney Houston died at the age of 48. But looking back on the final few years of her life, the unraveling was evident.
Houston, tangled in an ill-fated marriage to pop singer Bobby Brown, and plagued with drug and alcohol problems, couldn’t deal with her problems privately in the public eye – and they eventually made their way to television, news pages, the Internet and even the concert stage.
Psychiatrist Dr. Karl Benzio, founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network, an addiction and mental health referral program, says that Whitney Houston’s unfortunate problems perhaps led to a life cut short-and her final years were a cry for help.
“While we don’t know yet the circumstances of Whitney Houston’s death over the weekend,” Benzio said, “her addictions were certainly something she struggled with and lived out in the public eye. To me, this is an example of an extraordinary talent, one who got caught up in fame, perhaps a bad relationship and the temptations for control that often come with celebrity.”
Benzio said the timeline of Houston’s life perhaps took a sharp turn toward the dangerous in her marriage to Brown, which was reportedly stressful and marked by her increasing drug and alcohol use since the couple wed in the early ’90’s. The counselor points to National Marriage Week and Valentine’s Day as a time when many focus on relationships and marriage.
National Marriage Week, which began Feb. 7, focuses on what couples can do to strengthen their marriages, especially since healthy marriages are on the decline. A study released by Pew Research Center in December 2011 found that the percentage of Americans who marry has dropped from 72 percent in 1960 to 51 percent in 2011. The number of new marriages fell 5 percent from 2009 to 2010.
“We definitely can’t predict that Whitney Houston’s failed marriage contributed to her downfall,” Benzio said, “and we can’t say that had she not married Bobby Brown, or not divorced him, her life and recent death would have been any different. But we do know that broken relationships cause a host of other problems-addiction problems for some-that can lead to some devastating scenarios.”
If you are a parent, teacher, counselor, or someone who works with teens you need to know about cutting and self-harm behaviors. Cutting and self-harming behaviors are typically seen among younger teen girls, although older teens and boys can also engage in cutting. They often take care to cut themselves only in places where their injuries and scars can be concealed by clothing to hide the practice from parents, siblings, and teachers. It’s usually hard for parents to understand why their teen would cut himself or herself on purpose.
Dr. Benzio, Christian Psychiatrist and founder of Lighthouse Network, will help you understand causes and reasons young people cut, skills to help them handle the pressure they are facing, and how to counsel them through these destructive behaviors to manage life challenges and storms successfully.
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