Some Realistic Movies About Addiction

In modern society, cultural awareness is growing in almost all aspects of life. This is evident from the way people treat each other during their daily communication, including how important and sensitive objects are created and discussed. The way in which films depict psychoactive substance use disorders is an excellent illustration of evolution. Nowadays it is really important to highlight such acute social problems in movies and TV shows.

These films provide an honest and healthy balance between love, compassion, and urgency that families need to support loved ones. Also, the gallows humor is used by many people in recovery as their coping mechanism during treatment.

The following movies about substance use disorder have been selected because they provide inspiration to people facing the emotional and physical challenges. These challenges are common among the people in drug rehab centers (read about it on Addiction Resource). Inspiration is important because treatment for substance use disorder is a long process.

The recovery journey is a testing and difficult moment. Therefore, it is important to always maintain a high level of motivation. Here are amazing movies that shed light on substance use disorder and the recovery journey.

The Boost

The Boost is a fascinating movie to watch when undergoing treatment for drug addiction. It is a believable portrayal of how some couples are undone by substance use disorder despite being on the right track. Basically, the movie is not just about drug abuse by Sean Young and James Woods. It’s also a depiction of the hedonistic lifestyles of the people in the go-go areas of the real estate market in Los Angeles. It shows how some people in such areas win fortunes and squander them within months due to cocaine addiction.


Traffic is a film based on the television miniseries by the BBC. It is a gripping docu-drama that deals with the battle of drugs war at a macro and micro level. Though the film depicts a losing battle, it feels personal and real. Ideally, this war is not easy to win in terms of the current world. The film shows how this battle takes a toll on human lives. But, it shows that some people get help with free programs.

This movie depicts different perspectives on drugs. It looks at drugs from their source, the fight against them, and drugs at home. This is among the finest movies on substance use. Erica Christensen, one of the characters in this film, relates to the drug abuse topic better.

The film delivers the message that even the brightest people in the society can be sucked into the drugs’ world. What’s more, the movie shows that even the most intelligent people can be go to worst places when they abuse drugs. Traffic is particularly a good inspirational movie to watch when undergoing treatment at a drug rehabilitation center.

Requiem for a Dream

Requiem for a Dream is the most popular movie in the category of bleak drug films. This movie is a chronicle of four individuals and their struggles with substance abuse disorders. The main characters in the movie are addicted to heroin and amphetamine. Unable to control the urge to take drugs, they go on a downward spiral that leads them the most miserable existence. They get into self-destruction, sexual exploitation, and self-degradation due to their substance use disorder. The movie shows that the life of a person suffering from substance use disorder can worsen if nothing is done to address it. At the end of this movie, each character is in a fetal position.

Though the characters in the movie seem to be doing great, they eventually succumb due to drug addiction. Though their aspirations are lofty, the four friends end up getting into the most disturbing and dirtiest parts of the underworld of drugs.

In addition to talking about substance abuse as well as its devastating effects on the life of an individual, this film discusses different mental illnesses that accompany the behavior. Substance use and dual diagnosis disorders should be addressed comprehensively to fix the addictive behavior and ensure lifelong sobriety.

This movie is subtly shocking though it clearly shows how substance use disorder can affect people across ages. Ellen Burstyn’s performance in the film opens the eyes of the elderly about substance abuse. Requiem for a Dream is among the best cinematic accomplishments of Arnofsky and it remains a great cult classic with an amazing soundtrack.


This is an iconic movie about substance use disorder. It explores heroin and its effects on users. Trainspotting reveals the process of acquiring this drug as well as the rituals of the people that use it. It also shows how this drug sucks users back. This film follows the lives of friends. Nevertheless, it is a hilarious movie that delivers a serious message.

It’s an interesting movie that puts the amusing moments of drug users alongside their harrowing times. This enables the film to paint a picture that sticks in the minds of the audiences for years. Trainspotting is a realistic portrayal of the impact of illicit drug abuse on the lives of people.

Last Days

This movie is a story that is inspired by the last days of Kurt Cobain’s life. Kurt is the lead singer in Nirvana. The film shows what happens when famous individuals don’t get “checks and balances” in a world where drug abuse is rampant.

Essentially, Last Days is a clear, definitive record of how drug exhaustion can gradually cause death. The film shows that the thrills and chills associated with substance abuse can lead to death. Sid & Nancy die without a bang but with a whimper. Were it possible for the dead to live again, they would probably be conscious to realize what happens in their lives. This may prompt them to seek help in addiction treatment centers and change the direction of their lives.

The Bottom Line

Anybody undergoing treatment in a drug and alcohol addiction rehab should watch these films to build up confidence level. These movies are inspiring and they show the challenges that people face when struggling to recover from addiction.

About the Author
John Adkins is a professional writer and volunteer who deals with issues of mental health, addiction, and life in recovery. Also, he works with a foundation that helps drug addicts, so he has a clear insight into their problems. John is currently a writer for Addiction Resource.

Photo by Thomas Charters via Unsplash.

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