Since Lindsay Lohan failed her most recent drug test, she will almost certainly have to return to the jail from which she was released. If press reports are correct, she tested positive for both cocaine and amphetamines.
As a recap, Lohan was convicted twice in 2007 of driving under the influence (DUI) and missed a court-mandated substance abuse counseling classes. That’s what prompted a judge to send her to jail in the first place. Then, she left court-ordered substance abuse treatment early.
It is true, as Lohan’s public statement reads, that alcohol and drug dependence are illnesses. But even though they are illnesses, that doesn’t mean they will inevitably lead all addicts to repeatedly break the law and show wanton disregard for the safety of others. That sort of behavior may reflect (and I have not examined Lohan in order to find out), character pathology—such as borderline personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder.
Those with borderline personality disorder crave attention, have intense and unstable interpersonal relationships and can repeatedly cry out for help, in order to manipulate the attention and feelings of others.
Those with antisocial personality disorder repeatedly break the law and have little regard for the feelings or safety of others. They’re the type of people who show up to work intoxicated and don’t much care that their behavior jeopardizes whatever they are working on, or the people on the road they drove to get to work in the first place.
It would be irrational to believe that the only thing afflicting Lohan is substance abuse. Most substance abusers don’t end up in court. They don’t snub their noses at the law. They don’t—as Lohan did—show up in court with obscenities scrawled on their fingernails.
Now, here’s the gravest possible reason all this: That Lohan and her team fully intended for it to happen. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Lohan, et. al. have assessed the California judicial system and “judged” it so broken that the most she is likely to be given is a few days here and there in jail, in exchange for millions and millions of dollars worth of attention from the media. And if that is the case, she is more like the perpetrator of the Balloon Boy hoax than Marilyn Monroe—commandeering not only the media, but the California courts, and casting them in her own reality TV show, at the state’s expense, making unscripted fools of the judge, prosecutor, court officers and the rest of us.
According to recent media reports, Lindsay Lohan is a very dangerous person. She could kill someone by deciding to drive while blitzed on coke and booze at any time. But if that doesn’t happen, she could further deaden our sense of justice, shake our faith in our institutions and help turn our values into fuel for her own narcissism, promotion for her next film and something to Tweet about to her “followers.”
Lindsay Lohan is a symptom, ultimately, of something very dark and foreboding afflicting the rest of us.
Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatry correspondent for Fox News Channel and a New York Times bestselling author. His book, “Living the Truth: Transform Your Life Through the Power of Insight and Honesty” has launched a new self-help movement including www.livingthetruth.com. Dr. Ablow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.