Dr. Drew Pinsky has a lot weighing on his mind these days. Among the topics brewing are relationships, closeness, and HIV and AIDS awareness. And then there’s Lindsay Lohan.
On the heels of the latest Lohan debacle — she was arrested for fighting with a woman in a New York nightclub — Pinsky, who hosts Dr. Drew on HLN and previously VH1′s Celebrity Rehab, told FishbowlDC that he really worries for the troubled actress. “Lindsay is very sick. She is going to die if she doesn’t get help,” he said during a commercial break of a special hour-long “Ask Dr. Drew” radio segment this morning at WTOP headquarters in northwest D.C.”We need to be praying for her. I’m very very scared for her. She’s a recalcitrant drug user.”
Pinksy is in town for an HIV awareness forum at the White House today. He also has a special airing on MTV Saturday at 7 p.m., a documentary on young people living with HIV. Aside from a West Wing tour, he has never been to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in any professional capacity. He said he hoped to meet President Obama. On air with WTOP’s Mark Lewis and Debbie Feinstein, he hammed it up, saying, “First we’re going to share a beer, how’s Mitt, how’s your buddy?”
Continuing on about Lohan on air, Pinksy said something that could make the hair on your neck stand on end. He has real fears that the actress could lose a limb before it is all over. He didn’t elaborate.
Pinsky speaks out about HIV, addiction and stress…
During the course of the morning, Pinksy mostly spoke with Lewis and Feinstein about HIV awareness, but hour bled into a wider range of topics. Some striking things to note about Pinksy: he’s extremely warm and friendly, but not a pushover. He took a controlling role in the calls he answered at WTOP, extremely conscious of what would make great or boring radio. “There are good calls and bad calls,” he said off air. “Whenever they want to give a soliliquy that’s a terrible call.”
A list of topics and what Pinksy told WTOP listeners:
HIV Awareness: “I want to really caution educators. We are really good at information but woeful at getting them to change their behavior. There’s denial and stigma and that’s part of what we’re trying to address today. We have to address why there is distrust between some communities and medical people.” Pinksy mentioned that when his wife watched his documentary she got all serious about getting tested for HIV. He laughed. “We’re in our fifties, she says, ‘I think I need to be tested.’ We’re not cheating.” But the doctor stressed some things for nearly every sexually active human being: “use a condom every time, get tested.”
Pinksy dishes about A&E’s Intervention show: He says he likes the show, but remarked that in the past some of the interventionists weren’t quite up to par.
Symptoms of HIV: “HIV is a virus that can cause a severe flu.” But he warned this isn’t full-proof. One of the women in his documentary went to the hospital three times in a week for a severe flu and not once did doctors think to test her for HIV. He explained that more often than not there are no symptoms. But there can be “yeast in the mouth, cheek or tongue area and swollen glands.” He stressed, “Most people don’t know they have it.”
Holidays, stress and booze: “It’s a hard time of year, feeling alone, disappointed. Depression is the hallmark [condition]. Do not forget to exercise, self-care, self-nurturing. I think the big message is substances are not going to make anything better. They are the problem, not the solution.” For folks in recovery: “You may want to use. Meetings. Meetings. Meetings. Call your sponsor. Maintain an intimate connection with one person. This regulates emotions.” (Pinsky mentioned off-air that he’s working on a book about the importance of relationships. Not romantic, necessarily.) At one point a male caller phoned in about his wife, an alcohol abuser on whom he had to perform CPR. Though the caller obviously couldn’t see him, Pinksy put his hand on his heart through most of his response, saying, “It’s heartbreaking. Thank God she survived the abuse.” But then he gave the guy some tough love, saying his wife needed six months in a treatment setting and told him to hold on the line for more specific information.
The Internet and society’s obsession with technology: “All of what goes on on the Internet is a pseudo relationship,” he said, hinting at elements of his upcoming book. “Relationships occur when two bodies are next to each other.” Otherwise, he says, it’s “pseudo intimacy.” Pinksy’s top New Year’s resolution (although he hates resolutions): “Being close to another person.”
Mandatory screenings: “Putting a law on medical practice is always a bad idea. Doctors are very well trained. Let’s let them do their jobs.”
Dr. Drew at WTOP with Mark Lewis and Debbie Feinstein. They asked him to return for another “Ask Dr. Drew’ segment next time he’s in Washington. He promised he would and said in the meantime he’d do phoners.