Last month, Justin Bieber went public about suffering from Lyme disease, which other Canadian celebrities including Avril Lavigne and Shania Twain have also battled. Now, he's done his part to try and help those trying to get sober.
Episode five of his new documentary series, Justin Bieber: Seasons, warns viewers that it features "raw and honest discussions about addiction and anxiety." In it, the singer talks about how he began using marijuana at age 13 to quell his anxiety. He says it surfaced from dealing with an extreme amount of fame at such a young age.
"It was just an escape for me. I was young," he explains. "My experience was in front of cameras and I had a different level of exposure."
In the episode, the 25-year-old says he later stopped smoking weed, but then started using drugs such as "lean" (a mix of codeine-based cough syrup, soda and, usually, Jolly Ranchers).
He says things got the point where it was "legit, crazy scary" enough that his security team came into his room to check his pulse while he was sleeping.
"I think when you take somebody very, very young and they get horrible, crippling anxiety and it goes undiagnosed and you don't know what it is you are feeling, you start to self-medicate because it makes you feel better," Hailey Bieber, Justin's wife, says in the episode. "Just not helping to feel anything."
Justin says once he got sober and made a commitment to look at emotional issues, things changed in his life. He advocates medicinal help to get mental health issues under control, but understands it's not for everyone.
"I have abused my body in the past and now I am just in the recovery process, trying to make sure I am taking care of my body and taking care of the vessel that God's given me," he thoughtfully says.
In addition to medication, Justin uses an oxygen chamber to manage his anxiety.
"People think fame is an achievement that brings you happiness," he emphasizes later in episode six, according to Entertainment Tonight. "The truth is there is this waste and heaviness to it. It's a lot."
Justin is set to return with a new album, Changes, which will be released Feb. 14. He's also going to head out on a huge tour to promote it, with tickets going on sale the same day.
It's not easy to open up about personal struggles or get help. It takes quite a lot of courage. Given who Justin is, plenty of others will no doubt be helped by what he's done here. We're glad he's back and we wish him well.
If you or someone you know is struggling with problematic substance use, here are some resources that may help.