Telling Truth: TV Shows that Tackle Addiction Head-On

TV Shows that Tackle Addiction Head-On

Patrick Kennedy, a former Rhode Island congressman, has been quoted as saying, “Stigma has kept us silent and in the shadows, and as a result, people with our illnesses are in the shadows and are marginalized.” However, in recent years he has faced his own addiction and sought treatment. 

Stigma is decreasing. Why? There are many reasons, but shows about addiction play a role in helping. Keep reading as we explore addiction in the media and TV shows that tackle addiction head-on and will provide a different perspective.

Shows About Addiction

In recent years, addiction in the media has become a prevalent topic. TV shows are taking on the challenge of portraying it realistically and authentically. These shows have successfully broken down barriers and initiated important conversations about addiction.

A fair amount of shows that address addiction don’t do it well. Some can even increase the stigma surrounding this disease. However, there are other shows that tackle the truth about drug addiction and do it well.

The following are some of our favorites. 


Euphoria is a groundbreaking TV show that fearlessly dives into the dark and complex world of addiction. From its raw and unfiltered portrayal of substance abuse to its exploration of mental health issues, Euphoria leaves no stone unturned in depicting the harsh reality faced by many individuals today.

The series follows a group of high school students navigating through love, friendships, and, most importantly, their demons. Each character grapples with addiction in different forms – be it drugs, alcohol, or even technology. The show does not sugarcoat their challenges but confronts them head-on with brutal honesty.

What truly makes Euphoria stand out is its commitment to authenticity. The creator has revealed that much of the show is based on his own experience with addiction. By doing so, they not only shed light on these important issues but also provide a platform for discussion and understanding.


“Dopesick” exposes the devastating reality of the opioid crisis in America. The series delves deep into the intricacies of addiction, exploring how it affects individuals and communities alike. With its raw and unflinching portrayal of this epidemic, “Dopesick” sheds light on the harsh truth that lies beneath the surface.

The narrative follows multiple perspectives, from doctors and pharmaceutical executives to patients struggling with addiction. Through their stories, viewers gain insight into the complex web of factors contributing to this widespread problem.

The show doesn’t shy away from addressing issues such as overprescription, pill mills, and corporate greed. All of these are major drivers fueling the crisis.

One aspect that sets “Dopesick” apart is its emphasis on humanizing those affected by addiction. It highlights their struggles, pain, and triumphs in an authentic way that resonates with audiences. By focusing on personal experiences rather than simply presenting statistics or news headlines, “Dopesick” creates a profound emotional connection.


With its raw and unfiltered approach, Intervention takes viewers on an emotional journey as they witness families struggling to save their loved ones from the grip of substance abuse.

Each episode follows a specific individual who is in desperate need of help. The show begins by delving into their personal history and the devastating impact addiction has had on their lives. From there, a team of professional interventionists step in to confront the addict and offer them an opportunity for treatment.

Intervention sets itself apart from other addiction shows because it focuses on both the individual’s struggle and the impact on those around them. It highlights how addiction can tear families apart. It can strain relationships and leave lasting scars that may never fully heal.

The show doesn’t back away from showcasing the ugly realities of addiction. It includes desperation, lies, and manipulation. But it also offers hope by documenting success stories. In these, individuals choose recovery over continued self-destruction.

Intervention serves as a powerful tool for raising awareness about addiction. It also provides resources for those seeking help.

Intervention emphasizes that addiction is not simply a moral failing. Instead, it’s a complex disease that requires understanding and support.


Shameless is a TV show that follows the Gallagher family and their struggles. This dark comedy is set in Chicago’s South Side. It tackles addiction head-on and explores how it impacts each member of the dysfunctional clan.

One of the standout aspects of Shameless is its ability to balance humor with heart-wrenching moments. The series doesn’t avoid showing the devastating consequences of addiction. It can have on individuals and their loved ones.

Frank Gallagher struggles with alcoholism. Fiona battles substance abuse. Each character grapples with their demons in different ways.

Shameless refuses to romanticize or glamorize substance abuse, setting it apart from other shows about addiction. It presents addiction as an ugly reality, not a trendy trope. It showcases both the highs and lows without sugarcoating anything.

Recovery Road

Recovery Road follows the story of Maddie, a high school student who struggles with substance abuse and is sent to live in a sober living house.

The show explores the challenges faced by Maddie as she navigates her way through sobriety. She also deals with peer pressure, family dynamics, and her own personal demons. It sheds light on the complexities of addiction and showcases the journey towards healing and self-discovery.

One of the strengths of Recovery Road lies in its portrayal of relapse. It highlights how setbacks can be integral to one’s journey, emphasizing that it’s not always smooth sailing.

Recovery Road also addresses topics such as mental health issues and co-occurring disorders alongside addiction. This multifaceted approach adds depth to the storyline. It provides a more comprehensive understanding of these complex issues.

This Is Us

“This Is Us” is a critically acclaimed television show. It has captivated audiences with its heartfelt and honest portrayal of addiction. The series explores the lives of the Pearson family. It delves into their struggles with substance abuse and the impact it has on their relationships.

One of the most powerful aspects of “This Is Us” is its ability to humanize addiction. It shows the messy reality of how addiction can consume individuals and those around them. The show takes us on an emotional journey as we witness characters like Kevin Pearson grapple with his battle against alcoholism.

The writers have done a remarkable job of showcasing both the devastating consequences, healing from your past, and moments of hope in recovery. They tackle difficult topics such as relapse, enabling behaviors, and the challenges faced by loved ones trying to support someone battling addiction.


Mom revolves around Christy Plunkett, played brilliantly by Anna Faris. Christy battles her own demons while trying to rebuild her life after years of substance abuse.

Her relationship with her mother, Bonnie (portrayed by Allison Janney), adds complexity to the storyline. They navigate through their own recovery journeys together.

One of the strengths of “Mom” lies in its ability to portray addiction as an ongoing battle rather than a quick fix. The characters are flawed but relatable, highlighting the challenges those in recovery face.

The writers tactfully address topics like relapse, therapy sessions, support groups, and maintaining sobriety in everyday situations.

“Mom” brings awareness to many people’s struggles on their recovery journey. It sheds light on the importance of love, forgiveness, understanding, and, most importantly – never giving up hope.

Nurse Jackie

“Nurse Jackie” follows the life of Jackie Peyton, an ER nurse with a hidden secret. She is addicted to prescription drugs.

Throughout the show, we see how addiction can consume every aspect of Jackie’s life, from her relationships to her work. It explores the destructive nature of substance abuse and its impact on not only the individual but also those around them.

Nurse Jackie shows the consequences and hardships that come with it. We witness Jackie’s constant battle between wanting to get clean and succumbing to temptation.

TV Shows that Tackle Addiction Head-On vs Real Life Support

Seeking help for addiction is crucial. It may seem daunting, but resources are available to support individuals on their journey toward recovery.

One of the first steps in finding help for addiction is reaching out to a healthcare professional or therapist who specializes in addiction treatment. They can provide guidance and support as you navigate the process.

Inpatient rehab centers provide intensive treatment programs, including therapy, counseling, and medical supervision. This option can be particularly helpful for those with severe addictions or co-occurring mental health disorders.

Outpatient programs offer flexibility by allowing individuals to receive treatment while still maintaining their daily responsibilities. These programs typically involve individual therapy sessions, group counseling, and educational workshops.

Find Help for Drug Addiction at Purpose Healing Center

Television shows that tackle addiction head-on play a crucial role in raising awareness and destigmatizing this prevalent issue. These shows about addiction provide viewers with a glimpse into the struggles faced by individuals battling addiction, shedding light on the harsh realities that surround this disease.

Are you ready to find hope through addiction rehab? At Purpose Healing Center, our admissions staff is available 24/7. We offer holistic treatment and will help you create an individualized plan to address your addiction treatment. 

Contact us today to get started.