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Help for Teens Obsessed With Celebrities

by Carly Seifert
While it is normal for teenagers to be preoccupied with celebrities, be careful that it doesn't turn into something serious.

While it is normal for teenagers to be preoccupied with celebrities, be careful that it doesn't turn into something serious.

If you have a teenager living under your roof, there's a decent chance you're being kept abreast of all the latest celebrity news from your pop-culture-loving child. It's likely that you, too, remember the days of hanging the dreamy poster in your room or screaming your head off at a concert. Iif you are worried that your teen is developing an unhealthy interest in the celebrity world, intervention and treatment may be necessary.

Celebrity Worship Syndrome

Together with a team of researchers from universities in the United States and Britain, James Houran, a psychologist with the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, studied the unhealthy interest of celebrities in 600 people -- a psychiatric condition called "celebrity worship syndrome." This isn't a condition confined to teenagers, and these researchers believe one-third of the population has it to some extent.

When to Intervene

It is normal for your teen to be interested and even fascinated with celebrities, to a certain degree. Houran says that when a teenager begins to fantasize about celebrities and believes that a celebrity is aware of him, he falls into the most severe degree of celebrity worship syndrome, called "borderline pathological." If your teenager feels he has a close, personal connection with a celebrity, it may be a cause for concern -- especially if he is withdrawing from family or demonstrating symptoms of depression.

Repair

Celebrity worship syndrome may be a clue to something deeper brewing. John Maltby, a researcher at Britain's University of Leicester, believes that borderline pathological celebrity worship is an indication of depression, anxiety and stress. Teenagers showing an unhealthy fascination with celebrities may also have a strained relationship with their parents. Be sure to give your teen encouragement and positive feedback to help build his self-esteem, and seek professional help if you believe your teen needs counseling or medication to treat severe depression or anxiety.

Prevention

If your teen hasn't yet reached the depths of full-blown celebrity obsession but is showing some preoccupation, there are steps you can take to prevent matters from going further. Make sure your teen's fascination isn't a result of boredom, and encourage him to become involved in an extracurricular activity or get a part-time job. Limit his time online -- where he has access to all the latest celebrity news -- and make plans to do activities together as a family. Be open and honest with your teenager about your concerns, and make sure that you are setting a healthy example for him by refraining from scouring the tabloids and latest celebrity news yourself.

About the Author

Carly Seifert has been a piano instructor since 2001. She has also covered adoption and introducing children to the arts for "Montana Parent Magazine." Seifert graduated from University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in drama.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images