Wendy Williams is well-known for her honesty and her open nature. On her daytime talk show, “The Wendy Williams Show,” she is never afraid to speak her mind. She recently opened up about her diagnosis of hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease. She has also been open about other parts of her personal life such as her struggle with cocaine addiction. Specifically, Wendy is being transparent about her road to recovery as she hopes to inspire others struggling with drug abuse.
A Secret Cocaine Addiction
Wendy Williams worked on the radio in New York and Philadelphia long before she ever made a splash on television. It was during her radio tenure that she was first introduced to cocaine. This fact was kept hidden from her audience because she was what is commonly referred to as a “functioning addict.” She would arrive to work on time and perform at a normal level, all while fighting a secret battle with cocaine addiction.
The people in her professional circle were reportedly aware of her struggle with addiction, but she was nevertheless permitted to continue broadcasting. Since Williams was still able to get to work on time and get her tasks done, her employers were perhaps willing to look the other way.
Also, despite the severity of Wendy’s struggle, she managed to deliver high ratings throughout her radio career, and this may have contributed to her employers’ willingness to allow the behavior. If reports are true that the stations actively allowed her to work and conceal her addiction, her employers and colleagues were enabling the addiction.
The Life of a Functioning Addict
It’s important to understand that the high-functioning addict is a myth, or at least a misnomer. While a high-functioning addict may not have the stereotypical traits of a person struggling with drug addiction, that doesn’t mean the person is safe from danger. Functioning addicts hide their struggles and attempt to keep their addictions secret. Quite often, they will do everything they can to mask their addictions and keep up normal appearances while carrying out a regular routine.
However, this puts the user in an extremely volatile situation. Using cocaine can have serious consequences even after just one use.
The Signs of Cocaine Abuse
It’s inspiring to see that Wendy Williams is using her voice to raise awareness about cocaine addiction and to send an important message to others who may need to hear it. Cocaine use can have devastating long-term effects, and education is the first step to getting users on a path to recovery. Williams may have been able to get help sooner if a caring friend or colleague had responded to some of the telltale signs of abuse. These signs often include:
- Excited mood patterns
- Pupils that are dilated
- Running nose or nose bleeds
- Unexplained weight changes
- Abnormal changes in mood
- Isolating from other individuals
- The presence of drug paraphernalia
- Marks from burns on the lips or hands
- Odd schedules for sleeping and eating
- The presence of a white powder residue
- Loss of interest in regular activities
The initial high that comes with cocaine use can feel euphoric, but the feeling is typically short-lived. As a result, the user often becomes dependent on the drug and may pursue binges where they take several doses of cocaine at one time. This can have serious consequences for the user. In other cases, the user may begin to mix cocaine with other drugs or alcohol. The use of other substances such as these can lead to other negative effects.
Wendy Williams Speaks Out About Cocaine Addiction
Williams is using a number of platforms to speak out about her personal struggle with cocaine as well as her recovery process. For instance, Williams recently appeared on “Entertainment Tonight” and in People magazine to speak out about her struggle with addiction. Williams also has the opportunity to use her popular daytime talk show as an outlet for addressing the issue and helping others who are struggling.
Her “Entertainment Tonight” segment gave a genuine look at her battle with cocaine and featured a candid look at her years of struggle. As traumatic as her experience with cocaine might have been, today Williams is able to be an advocate for others about the damaging effects of cocaine abuse. Her success story can be used as a tool to guide others toward the path to recovery.
It can be scary to open up so honestly about something as controversial as cocaine abuse. Even when Williams took a hiatus to seek medical treatment for a separate issue, she feared that she would lose viewers. Opening up about one’s private life is never easy, but Williams is refusing to let her past get the best of her. She serves as a strong voice in the anti-drug community and is committed to helping others overcome their battles with addiction through her work with numerous charities. For anyone overcoming addiction, it can be enormously beneficial to help others in their own struggle. It provides a sense of purpose and reminds you that you’re not alone in the world.
The Damaging Effects of Cocaine Abuse
The use of cocaine doesn’t just lead to a short-term high. The damaging effects and changes to the brain that occur with cocaine use last for a long time even after the high is over. A cocaine user’s brain responds differently to stress than the brain of a non-user. This is why so many people with cocaine addictions often suffer from stress-related mental disorders. The use of cocaine can cause an imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitters.
While the short-term high may be enjoyable for the body at first, the effects can quickly result in negative feelings rather than positive ones.
- Sensitivity to senses such as sight and sound
- Feelings of intense joy
- Feelings of anger and rage
- Loss of appetite
Repetitive use of cocaine can lead to many severe side effects and health problems that can have negative long-term effects on the body.
- Risk of seizures or muscle spasms
- Pains in the body or headaches
- Increased risk for heart disease, stroke, or heart attack
- Abnormal mood swings
- Change in sex drive or sexual health
- Permanent damage to the lungs
- Decay of intestines or bowels
- Loss of smell
- Running nose or nosebleeds
- Inability to swallow
- Increased risk for HIV or hepatitis
Wendy Williams now works to educate people about the dangers of cocaine and drug abuse so that she can help prevent other individuals from falling into the same cycle of abuse that once held her captive.
How Williams Overcame Addiction
When Whitney Houston passed away in February of 2012, Wendy Williams was grief-stricken but also reminded of how fortunate she was to have taken charge of her own struggle with drug overuse and abuse. Williams and Houston were approximately the same age and had come from very similar backgrounds. While Williams was able to overcome her battle with cocaine addiction, she claims that it truly was a miracle that she was able to stop.
As Williams will attest, overcoming a drug addiction is a challenging process, and it should not be undertaken alone. It’s essential that you have a strong support system in place and that you take your recovery just one day at a time.
What to Do If You Are Struggling With a Cocaine Addiction
Avoiding cocaine in the first place is the best way to avoid addiction. Cocaine is highly addictive because it alters the chemicals in the human brain. This can make trying to recover without help an extremely difficult process. Current research from a variety of sources reflects the serious risks associated with cocaine abuse. Many abusers of cocaine also enjoy mixing the drug with alcohol, which can lead to even more negative side effects.
Cocaine abuse is not only bad for the mind and body; it’s also harmful to the individuals around the user. A cocaine addiction can negatively impact a person’s social life, family life, career, and life goals. Cocaine use can lead to odd and violent behavior that could even have the potential for legal ramifications. It’s also important to note that not everyone who uses cocaine will have the same “high-functioning” experience that Wendy Williams had. Cocaine addiction is a serious problem that can disrupt the lives of users and the individuals who love them.
The life of a cocaine user can be a lonely one. You may find that family and friends are hesitant to spend time with you, or you may choose to avoid social situations for fear of being discovered. As an individual becomes more and more attached to their addiction to cocaine, they risk losing sight of their responsibilities and might begin to act in strange ways as their health deteriorates. In the case of Wendy Williams, she may have been able to start her recovery much sooner if one of her colleagues had reached out with care and compassion. Williams has noted that her struggle with addiction felt very overwhelming and lonely the majority of the time.
A cocaine addiction will only get worse over time and can lead to permanent effects on the body. Every use of cocaine has a detrimental impact on your health, and the sooner you take control of the problem, the sooner you can get your life back on track.
If you are currently struggling with a cocaine addiction or know that someone you love is struggling with addiction, do not feel like you have to carry out the recovery process all alone. Cocaine withdrawal and the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can be hard to go through alone, but options are available. We at The Recovery Team have over 40 years of experience helping people recover from their addictions.
Other resources for those struggling with drug abuse include SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Don’t tackle recovery alone. Regardless of how long or how intensely you have struggled with addiction, please know that help is available to you.