Drew Barrymore says being admitted to psychiatric unit at age 13 was ‘best thing that happened’ to her

An emotional Drew Barrymore has revealed spending time in a psychiatric unit when she was a teenager was the best thing that could’ve happened to her.

In a candid interview with You magazine, the 46-year-old reflected on the time she was admitted to Van Nuys Psychiatric Hospital aged just 13, remaining at the facility for 18 months.

“My mum put me there because she couldn’t cope with me anymore but it was the best thing that happened to me,” Barrymore told the publication. 

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The former child star became a household name at the age of seven, thanks to her role in the 1982 movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Sadly, she quickly found the dark side of fame and began partying excessively while being introduced to alcohol and drugs.

Barrymore said she had her first drink when she was just eight years old and by age 12, she had already been to rehab.  

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So when she was taken to the psychiatric unit, Drew said she felt secure for the first time in her life.

“It taught me boundaries. Until that point, I had none,” she recalled.

Two months ago, Barrymore visited the Van Nuys facility for the first time since she left and it was all filmed for her talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show.

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While the hospital is no longer operational, the actress said sitting outside the rundown facility all these decades later felt “empowering” and helped her realise how far she has come. 

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“Life is so wonderful compared to what it was in this place,” she cried. “I never thought I was going to make it to somewhere better and I am just so happy with my life, and I don’t know if I would have the life I have if it wasn’t for a place like this. So it was so important to come here today and just like honour this.”

If you, or someone you know, would like to talk to someone confidentially about addiction, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit Reach Out. In an emergency, call 000.

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