DISCLAIMER: Amanda Bynes’ history of odd behavior and personal struggles have been well-documented, both in the media and her own social media accounts. Now, for the first time, the former teen star is talking about the real reasons why she lost control over her own life. Almost a decade ago, actress Amanda Bynes suffered an extremely public meltdown. She was harshly thrust into an unforgiving spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Her odd behavior and mounting legal problems all played out fully in the public eye, thanks to a series of bizarre social media posts made by Bynes herself. Tabloid headlines and celebrity gossip columnists were all-too-quick to make a remote diagnosis of severe mental illness. But in a candid and revealing new interview, the now-32-year-old Bynes reveals for the first time that her problems were not just the result of uncontrolled mental illness, as so many guessed. Rather, her life and career spiraled out of control due to a serious drug habit. Any apparent symptoms of mental illness were triggered and worsened by substance abuse. Here, we will use her own words to take a closer look to see what we can learn from Amanda Bynes’ struggles with drug addiction, and even more importantly, her eventual successful recovery. We will also be able to highlight the complicated relationship between addictive and mental disorders. Perhaps in this way, we can offer hope and help to others who are waging similar battles right now.
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Early Success and Promise for the Future
Amanda Bynes found success at a young age, joining the main cast of Nickelodeon’s All That program in 1996 when she was just 10 years old. Because of her popularity, she was also a lead panelist on the network’s kid-oriented game show, Figure It Out. By 1999, Bynes was given her own spin-off sketch comedy program, The Amanda Show, which ran for three seasons. As a teenager and young adult, her career really took off, with roles in such popular films as Big Fat Liar, What a Girl Wants, Lovewrecked, Hairspray, and She’s the Man. She also co-starred for four seasons on the WB’s What I Like About You. Professionally, Amanda Bynes was on top of the world, winning multiple Kids’ Choice, Teen Choice, and Young Artist awards. In 20016, Teen People named her one of the “25 Hottest Stars Under 25”.
The Beginning of Addiction: Amanda Bynes and Marijuana
“I started smoking marijuana when I was 16. Even though everyone thought I was the ‘good girl,’ I did smoke marijuana from that point on. I didn’t get addicted [then] and I wasn’t abusing it. And I wasn’t going out and partying or making a fool of myself … yet.” ~ Amanda Bynes But things were not going quite as well in her personal life. At 16, she started using marijuana. And as the story of her life demonstrates, this is where Amanda Bynes started down the dangerous path that eventually caused her to lose her way. When she first started experimenting with marijuana as a teenager, Bynes did not think that it was a very big deal. But pot use has a severely negative effect on the still-developing teenage brain. While she may not have personally believed that she was abusing “harmless” marijuana or becoming addicted, she simply hadn’t progressed to that point… YET.
Marijuana and Teenagers: It IS a Big Deal
“We found that people who began using weed in their teenage years and then continued to use marijuana for many years lost about eight IQ points from childhood to adulthood, whereas those who never used marijuana did not lose any IQ points.” ~ Dr. Madeline Meier, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University The human brain continues to develop and mature well into the mid-20s. This means pot can have long-lasting – and even permanent – effects on heavy or chronic users.
- Loss of IQ – People who smoke marijuana before they turn 18 suffer a permanent loss of 8 IQ points.
- Impaired Memory – Daily marijuana usage changes the shape of the hippocampus. The result is 18% poorer scores on memory tests.
Note: Bynes was fired from the movie Hall Pass because she had trouble remembering her lines,
- Mental Illness – Chronic use increases the likelihood of schizophrenia and also DOUBLES the chances of psychotic episodes.
Note: During her protracted breakdown, Bynes made bizarre statements suggesting that she might have lost touch with reality, including that her behavior was caused by the microchip that her father had implanted in her head.
- Aggression and Violence – Heavy marijuana users are seven times more likely to commit a violent crime.
Note: During the same time period, Bynes allegedly had a second Twitter account from which she posted disturbing and violent tweets. Specifically, the tweet read, “You’re so ugly I want to stab your face with a knife, carve out ur eye balls and stab your voice box so I no longer have to hear your voice.”
- Anxiety – Teenagers who regularly smoke weed until their early 20s are at tripled risk of developing anxiety.
- Depression – According to a16-year study, non-depressed teenagers who start smoking marijuana are 4 times as likely to exhibit depression at subsequent follow-up appointments.
Note: Bynes admits that she sunk into a “deep depression” after filming She’s the Man.
- Greater Risk of Addiction – Teenagers who regularly use marijuana before they turn 18 are up to 7 times more likely to develop a medically-diagnosable Marijuana Use Disorder.
Note: Bynes says she started using marijuana when she was just 16 years old.
- Stronger Marijuana—About a generation ago, when many of today’s parents may have themselves “experimented”, the average strain only contained about 4% THC. However, today’s marijuana can reach an average potency of more than 20% THC. Even worse, marijuana “wax” can contain up to 99.7% THC.
Marijuana: More Dangerous to Teenage Brains Than Alcohol
All of the separate findings support new research that highlights just how dangerous marijuana really is for adolescents, teenagers, and young adults. Per a brand-new study just published in October 2018, using marijuana causes more damage to still-maturing teenage brains than drinking. These results of the study were extremely surprising, even to the researchers, who freely admitted, “We initially suspected alcohol would have a bigger effect.” The study, which was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, took four years to complete and involved nearly 4000 students. The average student age at the start of the study was 13 years old. Each year of the study, the participants tracked and self-reported their drug and alcohol use and were given memory tests. These tests looked at four distinct areas of cognitive function:
- Short-term memory storage and retrieval
- Long-term memory manipulation
- The ability to stop habitual/addictive behaviors
The lead author of the study, Dr. Patricia Conrod, a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Montreal, said that using marijuana results in “significant” negative impact on each of the examined four areas. Surprisingly, alcohol was not linked to any of these negative effects. The admitted usage rates were also revealing. By the study’s fourth year, 75% of the students reported that they used alcohol at least occasionally, while fewer than a third had ever tried marijuana. However, there were more students who reported daily marijuana use than admitted to using alcohol daily. Most alarming was the discovery that teenage marijuana use results in long-term damage to the region of the brain that controls a person’s ability to change their behaviors to meet the desired goal. This brain damage results in the poor impulse control that drives substance abuse. It also helps explain why using marijuana as a teen leads to an increased risk of drug addiction as an adult. Specifically relevant to Amanda Bynes is the fact that although this particular study focused on young teenagers, the human brain continues maturing until the mid-twenties. This means that the entire time she was using marijuana as a teenager and young adult, she was giving herself brain damage.
Marijuana and Schizophrenia
“The voices in my head are driving me crazy.” ~ Amanda Bynes in 2013, on one of her duplicate Twitter accounts A recent study published in Human Molecular Genetics strongly indicates that using marijuana elevates the risk of developing schizophrenia in the not-too-distant future. These findings agree with previous research. A different study published in Psychological Medicine found that people who are biologically-predisposed to schizophrenia are much more likely to use marijuana. Conversely, using marijuana also increases the risk of schizophrenia. The authors of this study analyzed the separate genetic factors that predict both the likelihood of marijuana use and the likelihood of developing schizophrenia. The research team theorized that individuals who use marijuana are likely to be genetically different from those who do not. Furthermore, symptoms of psychosis are present in roughly 40% of marijuana users, and schizophrenia patients have an even higher risk. Most telling of all, schizophrenia patients who use marijuana are more likely to require hospitalization than non-users. Professor Marcu Munafò, of Bristol University’s School of Experimental Psychology, opined that schizophrenics may use marijuana to self-medicate and alleviate the symptoms of their condition, or they may simply “enjoy the psychological effects of cannabis more.” The link between marijuana use and schizophrenia may involve:
- Genetic vulnerability
- A history of psychiatric illness within the family
- Experiencing physical, mental, or sexual abuse as a child
- Age of initiation of marijuana use
- Personal consumption habits
- Stronger marijuana strains
The research published in Human Molecular Genetics was conducted by Tel Aviv University, and it involved both normal mice and mice who possessed a genetic susceptibility for schizophrenia. Of special relevance, the mice were at an age roughly equivalent to adolescence in humans. And when both groups were exposed to cannabis, the genetically-susceptible mice exhibited symptoms of schizophrenia. This matches previous research that found people who used marijuana heavily before the age of 18 were 600% more likely to develop schizophrenia by their early thirties. All of this is relevant to the story of Amanda Bynes because according to some sources, She was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2013.
Marijuana and Bipolar Disorder
“We wanted to answer two questions: does cannabis use lead to increased occurrence of mania symptoms or manic episodes in individuals with pre-existing bipolar disorder?”“But also, does cannabis use increase the risk of the onset of mania symptoms in those without pre-existing bipolar disorder?” ~ Dr. Steve Marwaha, University of Warwick The same sources report that Bynes was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Per a recent study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, there is a strong relationship between marijuana use and symptoms of mania. Researchers with the Warwick Medical School reviewed all available scientific literature concerning marijuana’s effects and look at the records of almost 2400 people who had exhibited manic symptoms. Dr. Marwaha, the lead author, listed several of the study’s conclusions:
- There is a “significant” link between cannabis use and manic episodes.
- Marijuana use comes before, rather than after, symptoms of mania.
- In people who already have bipolar disorder, marijuana worsens manic symptoms.
Dr. Marwaha continued, saying“…our review suggests that cannabis use is a major clinical problem occurring early in the evolving course of bipolar disorder.” In 2015, a separate study conducted by Lancaster University determined that marijuana can be linked to an increase in both depressive and manic symptoms. The study found that the likelihood of marijuana use increases when bipolar patients are in an “up” mood. Marijuana is also associated with an increase in both manic AND depressive episodes – but NOT in the same patients. Dr. Elizabeth Tyler, of Lancaster University’s Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research, said, “We need to find out whether these relationships play out in the longer term, as this may have an impact on a person’s course of bipolar disorder.” Dr. Tyler was the lead author of the study. Manic symptoms can include:
- Constantly feeling “up” or elated
- Excessive energy, to the point of hyperactivity
- Decreased need for sleep
- Delusional thoughts
- Auditory hallucinations
It is important to note that Amanda Bynes exhibited several of these symptoms.
Marijuana and False Memories
“My dad never did any of those things the microchip in my brain made me say those things but he’s the one that ordered them to microchip me.” ~ Amanda Bynes, in a 2014 Tweet In 2014, Bynes tweeted that she had been sexually abused by her father. She quickly backtracked and deleted the post and gave the above, even-more-bizarre explanation for her claims. And while heavy marijuana use can cause delusions and hallucinations, this may also be an example of false memories. This is a significant negative side effect that is often underreported. Dr. John Csernansky, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University, says, “The memory processes that appear to be affected by cannabis are ones that we use every day to solve common problems and to sustain our relationships with friends and family.” Chronic marijuana abuse can impair a person’s ability to distinguish between what is true and what is false. In other words, their reality becomes distorted. Significantly, the impairment apparently lingers long after marijuana use is discontinued. Per recent studies at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Northwestern University, and the Biomedical Research Institute of Hospital de Sant Pau, heavy cannabis users have hippocampi that are less active and more abnormally-shaped than those of healthy people who have never used marijuana. The hippocampus is the region of the brain responsible for memory storage and retrieval. In the European study, which was published in Molecular Psychiatry, marijuana users suffered from lingering distorted memories, even after they had abstained from marijuana use for a month before participating in the study. Importantly, the heavier the use, the lower the level of brain activity within the hippocampus. The American study discovered that participants who had used marijuana for an average of 3 years as teenagers had abnormally-shaped hippocampi and scored approximately 18% worse on long-term memory tests than the people in the control group. Significantly, these abnormalities and impairments were still evident, even though participants have the last used marijuana two years before the brain scans were taken. The European study’s authors said this: “’The present results indicate that long-term heavy cannabis users are at an increased risk of experiencing memory errors even when abstinent and drug-free…This lingering diminished ability to tell true from false may have medical and legal implications.”
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Marijuana as a Gateway Drug
“This does not mean that everyone who uses marijuana will transition to using heroin or other drugs, but it does mean that people who use marijuana also consume more, not less, legal and illegal drugs than do people who do not use marijuana.” ~ Dr. Robert L. DuPont, President of the Institute for Behavior and Health, formerly the First director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Marijuana has been conclusively determined to be a gateway drug that frequently leads to other substances. This is because cannabis alters the areas of the brain responsible for reward, pleasure, learning, motivation, and impulse control, thereby making the person more vulnerable to the addictive effects of ALL substances. This is how it happens: When a person performs any action necessary for survival –eating or sex, for example -the brain triggers the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure. This is to ensure that the action is repeated. Marijuana and other intoxicants also trigger a dopamine response, but with more rapidity and to a greater degree. This is life full-blown addicts will often forgo eating or sex when they are drug-seeking. When the person smokes marijuana, they are rewarded with a pleasurable sense of well-being – the “high”. Very soon, their brain learns to associate the action – smoking marijuana -with the reward, thus motivating the person to use again as soon as possible. But over time and with repeated use, the brain’s receptors become fatigued due to the constant artificial over-stimulation. This causes a reduced dopamine response, and the person must use greater amounts of marijuana with increasing frequency in order to achieve the same pleasurable high. This is known as “drug dependence”. But the impaired dopamine response is across the board, meaning the person will soon lose much of their ability to feel pleasure or motivation unless they are under the effect of drugs. They virtually lose the ability to function normally. In fact, when they try to cut back or quit, they will experience the painful symptoms of withdrawal. And when marijuana no longer produces the same desired effects, or when the drug has run out, a marijuana-dependent person will go to almost any lengths to feel better. They will lie, steal, break promises, ignore responsibilities, or even use other drugs. This progression is precisely what happened to young Amanda Bynes.
The Progression: Amanda Bynes and Club Drugs
“[I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it. It was never my drug of choice.” ~ Amanda Bynes As she made the transition from the child star to an older teenager and young adult in Hollywood, Bynes started going out to nightclubs and partying with friends. This in itself wasn’t a problem, but her drug use –which started with marijuana – soon escalated to include so-called “club drugs” such as ecstasy, Molly, and cocaine. These drugs are popular among partygoers because they are all stimulants. As such, they give users more energy -they can stay awake longer and party even harder. Molly and ecstasy also possess hallucinogenic properties. Users say they are able to enjoy the club atmosphere more and appreciate the music on a deeper level. Bynes’ use of these specific party drugs is significant because there is an established relationship between marijuana use and the abuse of stimulants, especially cocaine.
- Children who use marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine.
- Adults who used marijuana as children are 17 times more likely to use cocaine.
- A joint study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Vrije University in Amsterdam found that by blocking the brain’s cannabinoid receptors (or abstaining from marijuana use) the risk of cocaine relapse could be reduced by up to 60%.
And even though Bynes says that she “only” used cocaine a few times, recent research found that cocaine rewires the brain starting with the first use. According to UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley, one dose of cocaine affects learning, memory, and decision-making. Dr. Linda Wilbrecht, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at UC Berkeley and the lead author of the research paper, said, “We have limited real estate in the brain, and this shows how drugs dominate what its users think about. Drug exposure fuels drug use, potentially at the expense of other priorities.”
Amanda Bynes and Adderall
“I definitely abused Adderall…I used to chew the Adderall tablets because I thought they made me [more] high [that way]. I remember chewing on a bunch of them and literally being scatterbrained and not being able to focus on my lines or memorize them for that matter.” ~ Amanda Bynes When Amanda Bynes learned that Adderall, the prescription medication typically given for ADHD, was the “new skinny pill”, she said to herself, “Well, I haveto get my hands on that.” Relevantly, Adderall is also a powerful stimulant, just like the ecstasy, Molly, and cocaine that Bynes was already taking. Bynes has admitted that she then found a psychiatrist and faked ADHD symptoms to obtain a prescription. She is not alone in that deception—greater than 9 in 10 of young adults who misuse Adderall fake the symptoms of ADHD. To enhance her Adderall high, Bynes would chew the tablets. And the fact that Adderall was her next preferred drug of choice and significant because Adderall is an amphetamine. The mental side effects of heavy amphetamine abuse include:
- Inability to focus
- Unreasonable fear
Substance Abuse and Body Image
After filming “She’s the Man” in 2006, a movie where her character dressed in male drag, Bynes fell into a months-long deep depression. “I didn’t like how I looked when I was a boy,” she laments. And once they surfaced, Bynes’ self-image issues lingered for years. Bynes admits to hating the way she looked while filming 2010’s Hall Pass. “[I] remember seeing my image on the screen and literally tripping out and thinking my arm looked so fat because it was in the foreground or whatever and I remember rushing offset and thinking, ‘Oh my god, I look so bad,’” she would later say. Of particular relevance, poor self-image and dissatisfaction with one’s body has long been associated with elevated rates of substance abuse among young people, especially teenage girls. In 2007, an Internet survey discovered that 15% of people who responded admitted to using amphetamines or cocaine to lose weight. Just like Amanda Bynes. It should also be noted that from early 2012 for the middle of 2013 –right in the middle of her breakdown –Bynes continually tried to change her appearance by using a multitude of oddly-colored wigs. She even partially shaved her head and talked about getting a nose job. In court, her parents filed paperwork explaining that Bynes “is obsessed with the idea that she and others are ‘ugly.’ She talks incessantly about cosmetic surgeries that she wants to have completed … We are concerned that the surgeries she wants to have are dangerous and detrimental to her health.”
The Impact That Drug Abuse Had on Amanda Bynes’ Career
“I literally couldn’t stand my appearance in that movie and I didn’t like my performance. I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it. I was high on marijuana when I saw that, but for some reason it really started to affect me. I don’t know if it was a drug-induced psychosis or what, but it affected my brain in a different way than it affects other people. It absolutely changed my perception of things.” ~ Amanda Bynes Eventually, Bynes’ drug abuse started to affect her professionally. In 2010, she walked off the set of Hall Pass. There are conflicting stories as to whether she quit or was fired. For her part, Bynes insists she left because of “the mixture of being so high that I couldn’t remember my lines and not liking my appearance.” After her next movie, Bynes announced via Twitter that she was retiring from the acting. To date, her last acting credit was in 2010’s Easy A.
Boredom Drives Addiction
For someone with active drug addiction, having too much time on their hands is absolutely one of the worst things that can happen. Because with no professional responsibilities and plenty of money, it was far too easy for Bynes to feed her demons. Reflecting on that period of her life, Bynes says, “I just had no purpose in life. I’d been working my whole life and [now] I was doing nothing…I got really into my drug usage and it became a really dark, sad world for me.” Bynes’ personal experience falls perfectly in line with earlier research that found that young people who are bored or who have plenty of spending money are twice as likely to drink or use illicit drugs. Why is this? As it turns out, there is a biological explanation. As a child becomes a teenager and further transitions to young adulthood, their brain chemistry changes, making them more prone to seek out new sensations. Their hormones literally produce a natural urge that makes them pursue excitement and sensory pleasure. This can take almost any form–sex, music, new hobbies, risky behaviors, smoking, drinking, drug use, etc. But here’s the thing–while the desire for new sensations arrives early on, the ability to control those urges doesn’t come until later. This is an even bigger problem for substance-using teenagers because alcohol and drugs affect the parts of the brain responsible for impulse control. And the younger the person is when they start using or drinking, and the heavier and more frequent their substance use is, the greater the impairment and the less they will be able to control their impulses.
Drug Addiction Changes Who You Are
“For me, the mixture of marijuana and whatever other drugs and sometimes drinking really messed up my brain. It really made me a completely different person. I actually am a nice person. I would never feel, say or do any of the things that I did and said to the people I hurt on Twitter.” ~ Amanda Bynes Before the drugs took over, Bynes’ image was entirely wholesome and squeaky-clean. This was a large part of what made her so appealing to her younger fans and their parents. But when she was fully lost to her addiction and drug-induced mental illness, her good-girl-next-door image was shattered. Erratic behavior, public incidents, aggressive and sexually-suggestive Twitter posts, and outlandish accusations only showed a young woman in crisis.
Amanda Bynes Loses Control
“I really feel ashamed all of how those substances made me act…it was like an alien had literally invaded my body.” Now that she was no longer a working actress, Bynes started spending more time with a seedier crowd that did not have her best interests at heart. Her daily routine consisted of “waking and baking”. In later interviews, she recalled being stoned all day, every day. In her own words, she says she “was just stuck at home, getting high, watching TV, and tweeting”. And as her drug use escalated, her life completely spiraled out of control.
- April 6, 2012: Bynes rear-ended a police car, and she was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of Driving Under the Influence when she refused to take blood alcohol or Breathalyzer test.
- April 10, 2012: Bynes hits on another vehicle and then flees the scene of the accident.
- August 4, 2012: Bynes rear-ends another vehicle on Ventura Boulevard and then drives off before police can arrive.
- September 13, 2012: Images are posted that show Bynes smoking what appears to be a marijuana pipe while driving. At that time, her driving license was suspended.
- September 16, 2012: Her vehicle is impounded when she is caught driving.
- September 17, 2012: She locks herself in a West Hollywood clothing store’s dressing room for 2 hours.
- September 18, 2012: Bynes is kicked out of a spinning class for wearing lingerie and acting erratically.
- September 28, 2012: Bynes locks herself in the bathroom of a New York bakery.
- November 2012: In Touch magazine reports that Bynes walked around a New York tanning salon naked except for a pair of goggles.
- February 2013: Bynes begins sending out strangle Tweets attacking other well-known people.
- April 2013: Bynes is kicked out of a gymnastics class for crying and talking to herself. She is photographed walking down the street with what appears to be a joint in her mouth. She also posts bizarre pictures on Twitter of herself shirtless and with a partially-shaved head.
- May 2013: Bynes is arrested for possession and reckless endangerment after smoking marijuana in her building’s lobby and throwing her bong out of her apartment window.
- Because of her erratic behavior when arrested, Bynes undergoes a psychiatric evaluation.
- July 21, 2013: Bynes is asked to leave a retirement home for drunkenly trespassing.
- July 22, 2013: Bynes starts a fire in a random stranger’s driveway.
- As a result, Bynes is placed in a 72-hour involuntary psychiatric hold.
- After evaluation, the hold was extended to 30 days.
- On the grounds that Bynes was dangerously paranoid and presented a risk to herself, her parents are granted conservatorship over her affairs.
- Bynes is transferred to a private residential rehab facility. She remains there until December.
“We accept many health insurance plans. Get your life back in order, take a look at our residential program.”
Amanda Bynes: Back on Track
“The fact that Amanda is living on her own, making her own decisions and future plans is something her parents are so proud of. Finally, she is surrounded by friend and companions she can trust and really open up to.” ~ Tamar Arminak, family lawyer Since “graduating” from the residential rehab facility, Bynes has maintained a low-profile. She largely avoids social media, and generally just focuses on staying clean and healthy. Encouragingly, by mid-2017, Bynes had improved sufficiently to regain control over her own finances. Her parents still decide about her mental and physical health, but Bynes is in a much better place –physically and mentally – than she was just a few years ago. In and revealing new interview, Bynes says that she has been completely sober for the past four years. In a promising step forward, she says that she is ready to make her return to acting.
What Can We Learn?
“…be really careful because drugs can really take a hold of your life…(My) days of experimenting [with substances] are long over. I’m not sad about it and I don’t miss it.” ~ Amanda Bynes, 2018 The biggest takeaway from the played-out-in-public cautionary tale of Amanda Bynes is that ANYONE can struggle with the awful disease of addiction. This even includes someone who is young, talented, beautiful, popular, rich, and successful. From the outside, Amanda Bynes had it all, and her future was incredibly bright. But none of that mattered to her illness. On the inside, she was struggling. The next important lesson is how addiction is a progressive and incurable disease that ALWAYS worsens without outside intervention and specialized professional treatment. In Amanda Bynes’ specific case, it took the combined efforts and influence of law enforcement officers, the Court system, her supportive and loving parents, certified addiction specialists, and experienced mental health professionals to help her step back, recover, and eventually regain control of her own life. Next, the story of Amanda Bynes clearly shows that there is no such thing as “safe” drug use. This is true for anyone, but especially so for teens and young adults. Her dangerous descent into self-destructive behaviors and hardcore drug use is an almost-textbook example of the destruction caused by uncontrollable substance abuse. But finally, and by far most importantly, we happily learn that RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE, even for someone who has hit rock bottom, personally and professionally. Amanda Bynes nearly lost everything to substance use—her career, her relationship with her family, her money, her freedom, and even her sanity. But despite all that, here she is today, happier and healthier than she has been in years. She is absolute living proof that outside intervention, evidence-based treatment, a strong personal support system, and the personal commitment to making the necessary and lifestyle changes to support continued recovery are the right tools to build a new sober life. Amanda Barnes is hopeful about what comes next, saying, “I have no fear of the future. I’ve been through the worst and came out the other end and survived it so I just feel like it’s only up from here.”