January 17, 2024

Carrie Fisher: A Beloved Actress’ Journey with Addiction

An image of the Hollywood skyline, depicting the industry that played a role in the Carrie Fisher addiction and recovery story

Carrie Fisher was renowned for her spirited portrayal of Princess Leia Organa-Solo in the Star Wars saga. She endeared herself to several generations with her charisma and resilient spirit. Many people still re-watch these movies today. 

Away from the limelight, though, Carrie grappled with personal challenges. Carrie Fisher substance abuse, often highlighted by the media, seemed out of kilter with her on-screen persona and clean-cut image. So what went wrong?

What Happened to Carrie Fisher?

Carrie Fisher’s career transcended her iconic role in the Star Wars franchise. Beyond Princess Leia, Fisher was a talented writer, script doctor, and advocate. Her work in film and literature showcased a depth and wit that resonated with audiences and critics alike.

Her openness about personal struggles also made her a relatable and admired figure in Hollywood. Her multi-layered career, while fleeting in comparison to her lasting impact, means that she remains an enduring legacy in the entertainment industry and beyond.

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Did Carrie Fisher do Drugs?

Carrie Fisher’s struggle with addiction was a significant and challenging part of her life story. From a young age, Fisher faced the pressures of Hollywood and personal challenges, leading her to turn to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. Her battle with addiction was not hidden either. Carrie spoke candidly about her experiences with various substances, including cocaine and prescription medications.

During the filming of Empire Strikes Back, Fisher admitted to using cocaine. She mentioned that her drug use during the scenes set on the ice planet Hoth was a way to cope with various pressures and emotions. Fisher said that she didn’t even like coke that much, but rather “It was a case of getting on whatever train I needed to take to get high.

At the age of 24, Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This diagnosis added another skein of complexity to her life, as she struggled to manage her mental health alongside her co-occurring substance use.

The Challenges of Co-occurring Disorders

The intersection of addiction and mental health, known as co-occurring disorders, presents unique challenges and requires an integrated approach to treatment. Fisher’s bipolar disorder often intensified her struggles with substance abuse, as she sometimes used drugs and alcohol to self-medicate her mood swings and emotional pain. The complexity of treating co-occurring disorders lies in addressing both the mental health condition and the addiction simultaneously, as each can exacerbate the other.

Carrie’s journey highlights the importance of comprehensive treatment plans that include medication management, therapy, and support for mental health in addition to addiction recovery strategies. Her openness about her dual diagnosis helped raise awareness about the prevalence and challenges of co-occurring disorders. Read on and find out how you can get effective dual diagnosis treatment if you are battling co-occurring addictions and mental health issues.

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Recovery and Relapse

Despite periods of sobriety, Carrie openly acknowledged the demanding nature of quitting drugs. Her stints of sobriety – one spell of three years, and another stretch lasting eight years – illustrate both the relapsing nature of addiction and Carrie Fisher’s resilient nature and refusal to give up. Her frankness and honesty provides hope and valuable insights for those confronting similar struggles.

Carrie sought treatment multiple times and used her platform to advocate for mental health awareness and destigmatizing addiction. Her journey through addiction and recovery, though fraught with difficulties, showed her commitment to personal growth, making her an inspiration to many who face life challenges such as these.

After completing rehab, Carrie Fisher placed a strong emphasis on relapse prevention, a core component of sustained recovery for most people. Fisher regularly attended 12-step meetings, which were a cornerstone in her sobriety, providing a structured environment for ongoing support and accountability. Additionally, she actively sought mentorship and guidance, recognizing the value of learning from those who have navigated similar paths. By developing personalized strategies to recognize and manage potential triggers, Carrie demonstrated a proactive approach to maintaining her sobriety and avoiding the pitfalls of addiction.

Central to Carrie Fisher’s recovery was her deliberate effort to build a strong support network. This part of her journey illustrates the critical role that positive and understanding relationships play in the recovery process. Fisher surrounded herself with friends and acquaintances who supported her sobriety, providing a source of encouragement and empathy. Her experience shows that establishing a reliable support network can be instrumental in providing emotional support, offering practical advice, and helping to navigate the challenges of maintaining sobriety. Here’s how you can get help right away if you are affected by these issues personally.

Gratitude Lodge, where addiction recovery treatment is available

Get Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

If you have become addicted to prescription drugs, we can help you from detox to discharge and beyond at Gratitude Lodge. Begin your recovery with supervised clinical detox at one of our rehabs in Long Beach and Newport Beach, CA. Take advantage of medications and continuous care to streamline the withdrawal process and tackle physical dependence on prescription drugs.

Following detoxification, move into ongoing inpatient treatment for the most immersive and supportive pathway to ongoing abstinence.

All Gratitude Lodge treatment programs deliver personalized prescription drug addiction treatment. Therapies may include:

Regardless of the substances you have been using, we can help you address addictive behaviors at Gratitude Lodge. Call 888-861-1658 and begin your recovery right away.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.

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Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.

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Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.

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Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.


Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.

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A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.

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