Sample Sociology Case Study on Addiction and Obsession:Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston’s addiction is one of the most talked about drug addiction cases in the world. She was a dazzling pop princess until drugs reduced her to a shell of her former self. Whitney Houston’s drug addiction problem started as a teenager when she tried drugs with her brothers. Houston and her brothers were together a lot, so what started playfully during the teenage experimental years ended up destroying her. Houston, born on August 9, 1963, became one of the best-selling artists in the world (Ammons & Bacon, 1996). She was the last-born child to an army serviceman and a gospel singer. Her singing career picked after accompanying her mother who often performed in nightclubs. However, her drug addiction was a constant stumbling block as she struggled with the issue from the early stages of her music career in the 80s and 90s. During an interview in 2010, she admitted to using drugs daily. Whitney often drowned her sorrows in drugs, which explains why she intensified her drug use during her troubled marriage. In 2000, Whitney was shrouded with numerous problems, including subjection to racism, marital troubles, and drug abuse. According to a 2016 memoir, Houston’s then-husband, Bobby Brown, admitted her drug use during before their wedding. His revelation indicated  the seriousness of her problem

How Drug Addiction Affected Houston

Houston’s drug use had adverse social, psychological, and biological impacts on her. In 2001, during her performance during Michael Jackson’s concert, she appeared to have lost a lot of weight, an issue that many attributed to her drug use and addiction. One of the effects of cocaine is that it causes a loss of appetite prompting users to avoid eating or reduce their eating patterns. Houston used multiple drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, and others. From a social perspective, she lost many friends as a result of her drug addiction problem. Most of the friends admitted that they were not pleased with seeing her lose and waste herself. These issues prompted her disappearance from the limelight to live a lonely life in Atlanta. According to family sources, when her drug problems intensified, her health declined (Brady, 2017). Psychologically, Houston suffered depression on numerous occasions. She also displayed her frustrations by angrily lashing out at everyone around her. Additionally, she developed mental complications that made life difficult for her as well as those around her, including family and friends.

Treatments and Approaches Undertaken/Should Have Been Undertaken

A lot was done to address Houston’s drug use and addiction problems. For example, she was taken into rehabilitation centers on several occasions during her adult life. However, this approach played a minimal role in helping to solve her problem. In 2011, Houston checked into a rehabilitation center but resorted to using drugs immediately after leaving the rehabilitation center, at least according to witnesses (Brady, 2017). Rehabilitation is one of the common ways used to eradicate drug addiction problems around the world. Unfortunately, many people often relapse soon after leaving the centers for various reasons, for instance, lack of support systems. Additionally, research shows that drug addicts’ temporary withdrawal from drug use while in rehabilitation centers is because of the inability to access drugs, rather than not wanting to take them. Therefore, when rehabilitated addicts leave rehabilitation centers, access to drugs tempts them to use them again.

One of the measures that should have been put in place help Houston fight her drug addiction was helping her to deal with her life pressures. There is no doubt that her celebrity life took a toll on her life. Her managers focused on grooming her to make her more relevant and acceptable to her audience so that she can make money and they can get their share. A lot was invested in making Houston famous while ignoring her struggles with drug addiction. It was necessary for stakeholders to help her handle the pressure she encountered throughout her music career.  Second, Houston should have been helped to maintain a well-balanced life. She was a career woman who was hanging onto a rocky marriage and had a daughter to take care of. She should have accepted that her marriage was not functional and accepted its dissolution rather than hanging onto it thus causing her problems that saw her resort to drug use. She was unhappy during most of her marriage hence the decision to use drugs. Third, assessment of the family problems and other social problems faced by Houston during her life would have helped to address her drug addiction problems. She was physically abused during her childhood by her cousin, which was one of the major factors or reasons behind her troubles during adulthood (Barry, 2018). Fourth, since drug addiction is mentally-inclined, Houston should have sought professional help from guidance and counseling professionals. This would have been the most effective way of addressing her problem. Although it is hard to prevent an individual from using drugs, some decisions can help one avoid drug use and addiction. Given the pressures in her life, professional help would have been more effective than other approaches used by people around her to address her drug use and addiction.




Ammons, K., & Bacon, N. (1996). Good girl, bad girl: An insider’s biography of Whitney Houston. Carol Publ. Group. Retrieved from

Barry, A. (2018, July 07). Drugs, child abuse, and infidelity: The tragic life of Whitney Houston. Retrieved from

Brady, T. (2017, June 12). The sad, secret life of Whitney Houston. Irish Times. Retrieved from