By Jon Boon - Radar Reporter
A leading drug addiction specialist has urged former America’s Next Top Model contestant Jael Strauss to seek professional help for her ravaging and destructive crystal meth addiction and questioned Dr. Phil McGraw's approach to tackling the issue.
In an exclusive interview with RadarOnline.com, Dr. Adi Jaffe outlined the problems Strauss, 28, has encountered, explaining the physical transformation methamphetamine has had on her appearance and how she could have become hooked on the drug to control her weight.
Jaffe, a recovering meth user himself, challenged Dr. Phil’s direct approach of tackling Strauss’ issues head on. In a new episode of Dr. Phil the troubled beauty storms out of the show’s studio after the talk show host tries to confront her.
“The reason for Jael’s blotchy appearance is because of excessive repetition of motor movement,” Dr. Jaffe revealed.
“For meth addicts this ends up often manifesting in hours and hours of picking at their face, pulling out their hair, scratching, and the likes. Obviously, doing this for hours at a time over the course of months or even years can create some pretty devastating results in terms of someone's overall physical look. Add to this the severe malnutrition meth addicts go through due to caloric restriction and the physiological effects of extended periods of no sleep that can last as long as a whole week and it becomes clear why meth is terrible for someone's physical appearance.
During her interview with Dr. Phil, Strauss reveals that another alteration in her appearance is her rotting teeth.
Dr. Jaffe said: “One of the major contributors is the lack of dental hygiene. Meth addicts will stay up for days but neglect brushing their teeth the appropriate 2-3 times per day, instead only brushing 1-2 times per week, if at all. This is partially due to the fact that sleep often comes when addicts ‘pass out’ after days of no sleep and don't exactly attend to usual pre-sleep hygiene regimens. There are some theories that meth's dehydrating effects reduce saliva and therefore increase the odds of dental problems. Finally, the extreme consumption of very sugary foods by meth addicts is likely another important factor in the equation."
Growing up, Strauss pinned her hopes on her looks and was desperate to walk the catwalk. Could it have been that the pressures of the fashion world and trying to control her weight became too much for the aspiring model? Dr. Jaffe believes it could be a possibility.
“I don’t know about Jael’s specific case to speak about what led her to using, but amphetamines in general have been used as weight loss drugs. And many models use meth right before shoots to lose those last few pounds,” he said.
Dr. Jaffe explained that his first steps to help Jael wouldn’t be to give her advice, but to see where she wants to be in the future.
“I would talk to her and get her sense on what's going on, how her meth use has affected her life and what she is looking to do in the future. I would listen and then I would try to help make that work using techniques like motivation interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.
"Many addicts I see want to change but have little to no understanding of how their own self-control has slipped away from them. They also know they want something different but not necessarily how to get there or where to start. I believe that in order to get clients to a healthy place we need to follow a map and that requires knowing where we are right now, where we want to go, and what roads can help us get there.”
Finally, Dr. Jaffe quizzed Dr. Phil’s “tough-love” methods insisting it’s important for people who treat addiction, or who are close to addicts, to take a serious look at research into treatment.
“The Johnson model of intervention, the one used on the ‘Intervention’ show and no doubt the one used by Dr. Phil seems like it is always appropriate but can often backfire because of its confrontational nature. There are other options out there that are more ‘client centered’ including motivation interviewing, CRAFT, and more.
"The approaches can be integrated but it takes someone who really knows what they're doing. I would suggest that an approach that makes someone get up and run away from you might not be the best."
For more information about dealing with addictions please visit www.allaboutaddiction.com.