Five of the Best Movies About Addiction

A movie night is something many of us look forward to now and then. Today, with the popularity of streaming services, thousands of movies that have long since been forgotten, or perhaps never heard of, are experiencing a second emergence in popularity. A good film provides an escape from everyday life and sparks our emotions. However, movies don’t need to be warm and fuzzy to have a powerful impact. Dark and brooding films can have significant effects, especially when they are about heavy topics like drugs, alcohol, and addiction.

There are a variety of reasons to watch a movie about addiction. For those dealing with addiction personally, movies can help you learn a lot about your own addiction by watching others share the experience. If nothing else, it can help you to realize you are not alone. Similarly, if a loved one struggles with addiction, movies can help you understand their experiences better. Especially if addiction is something, you have not experienced personally. You don’t have to know someone struggling with addiction or be personally dealing with addiction to learn from the movies below. They all tell powerful stories and can help to shed light on the experiences of those who live with addiction.

Trainspotting (1996)

When one looks at drug addiction movie lists, Trainspotting is almost always near the top. Trainspotting is based on the novel of the same name and is a favorite among those struggling with addiction. It is also favored by treatment professionals who believe the film is a stunningly accurate representation of what life is like when you are addicted to drugs. The movie focuses on the life of the main character, Mark Renton, who, like many of his friends, struggles with heroin addiction. Trainspotting helps those unfamiliar with heroin addiction better understand the rituals surrounding the drug, what it takes to get it, and how it keeps you coming back time and again. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, the realistic portrayals of drug use and withdrawal in this film could help convince you to contact an Ventura County addiction treatment program

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Another movie commonly found on “Top Five” lists of movies about addiction is Requiem for a Dream. Again, based on a novel, this film is highly rated and highly nominated for several awards. Rather than just one or two main characters, this film portrays the lives of four residents of Coney Island, all with different storylines, difficulties, and drug addictions. One significant way in which this movie differs from others is that it chooses to shed light on the struggles among the elderly who are addicted to drugs. 

Traffic (2000)

Traffic offers an all-encompassing view of how drugs can affect all of us, whether or not we or someone we know struggles with addiction. The movie depicts the drug kingpins that keep the drug machine and drug trade running in the United States. It also explores the government-funded fight against drugs and how drugs can affect the home and family. Traffic is an unfiltered, enlightening look at how drugs can affect anyone, regardless of their place in society. 

The Basketball Diaries (1995)

Based on an autobiographical novel, The Basketball Diaries focuses on the life of a young basketball player, Jim Carroll, who loses himself (and everything else) to heroin addiction. Once addiction has taken hold, Jim turns to prostitution to support his drug habit, eventually ending up homeless, deeply involved in crime and prostitution. After finding his own “rock bottom” and ending up in jail, mental institutions, and rehab centers, we see his life turn around with the help of an old friend and much-needed addiction treatment in Ventura County

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

This film tells the story of Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost it all to alcoholism. Upon deciding to move to Las Vegas to drink it all away, his life included, he meets and develops a friendship with another who struggles with demons of her own. At the root of this film is an unwavering presentation of the power and control that alcoholism can have over a person.

Get Help With Addiction Today

This very short list portrays only a few of the hundreds of films and documentaries that accurately cover the realities of addiction, treatment recovery. The stories that play out on film allow viewers to gain insight into the challenges of recovery. Many also help shed light on the fact that addiction treatment centers can assist you or a loved one in overcoming and defeating addiction. At Enlight Treatment Center , we understand there is indeed a difference between real life and the proverbial “Hollywood ending.” That is why the expert staff at our addiction treatment center in Ventura County provides evidence-based, individualized addiction treatment for each of our unique clients. Don’t let addiction steal another day; contact Enlight Treatment Center today. 

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