17 Dec Dr. House – Character Study of an Opioid Addict Played by Hugh Laurie
House M.D. is an American Television medical drama, which ran on Fox network for eight years, from November 16, 2004 to May 21, 2012. The main character Dr. Gregory House is played by Hugh Laurie.
House is a man dependent on pain-medication, an exceptional medical genius who heads a team of Doctors at Princeton–Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey. He has keen knowledge of medicines and takes interest in diagnosing rare medical conditions. He hates social niceties and socializing altogether. He has no friends except Dr. Wilson. He likes to play guitar, piano, and the harmonica.
Dr. House’s Personality
Dr. House has often been considered as a less than liked, rude character with terrible bedside manners. He likes to break rules, is a cynic, and a pure atheist. He has also been labeled as egomaniacal, arrogant, and selfish. He breached numerous hospital protocols to solve medical mysteries and went to extreme ends in order to find the right answers. Some people believed his behavior was a direct result of what happened to him (a chronic pain condition), but his boss Dr.Cuddy, has known him since college. It was her who noted that House was always like this. Although his pain condition might have aggravated his behaviors.
House’s principal philosophy: “The truth of the human condition is that everyone lies. The only variable is about what.”
House always has a tough time connecting with people; however he manages to retain his friendship with Dr. James Wilson, an oncologist, till the end. Wilson is the only person in the show who understands House and his mind. He is the only person who can keep him in check as House has the tendency to break rules and go to extremes to solve any medical mystery. House has been shown being possessive of Wilson. He doesn’t like sharing Wilson with other people, and goes to great lengths to screw up Wilson’s relationships with women.
Reasons Behind Taking Opioids
During his early years of practice, he meets a woman by the name of Stacy Warner, a constitutional lawyer, during a paintball match between doctors and lawyers. They were immediately attracted to each other and started a relationship that lasted 5 years. During this period, House appointed Stacy to be his medical proxy i.e., in case he is not able to make any medical decisions about himself, Stacy would be responsible of making the call in the cards to his life and health. Soon, House suffered an idiosyncratic infarction in the right leg during a golf match. He continued taking pain meds as the symptoms were just leg pains. This condition went undiagnosed for two days, until House himself came up with the diagnosis. The delay in diagnosis and treatment resulted in muscle death in his legs and doctors wanted to amputate. But House requested a bypass because of the necrotic tissue in his leg. This resulted in continual severe pain, in which he had to be put into a chemically induced coma to get over the painful parts of the bypass treatment. During the state of unconsciousness, Stacy being the medical proxy for House, gave permission to doctors to amputate the dead muscles in his leg, causing severe loss of mobility in the right leg and leaving House with a permanent disability and a chronic pain condition. Eventually, he broke up with Stacy due to her decision. He started taking Vicodin, a narcotic pain killer to manage his pain. Thus making him dependent on the pain medication.
House requires the support of a cane to walk. It was established in the show that House had an addiction to Vicodin. He continually abuses Vicodin to manage his pain and to get high. This continued addiction leads to serious legal problems such as a DUI and jail time. Because of his addiction, he manages to destroy his relationships with everyone around him. His Vicodin addiction even leads to circumstances that causes the death of Wilson’s wife, and later result in vivid hallucinations. This makes him lose self-control and he almost kills a patient. Seeing what he has caused to his best friend and his beloved profession, he enrolls himself into Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital for drug rehabilitation, a treatment facility that helps in detoxification along with medical treatment to help addicts recover from addiction.
After his stay in rehab for Vicodin addiction, he became sober and took back his old position at PPTH. He did relapse and started abusing Vicodin again, ultimately destroying his relationship with Dr. Cuddy. They had always had complicated relationship filed by sexual and professional tension.
In the show, sober living was never recommended to Dr. House, which might be one of the chief causes of relapse in Dr. House’s case. If he had gone to sober living, he might have been able to learn a new way of living. Hugh Laurie played this character beautifully and this show perfectly captured the signs, struggles, hardships and issues of an addict. They also showed the right way to treat an opioid addiction. If you haven’t seen House M.D. yet, it is time that you start. It is available on DVD, Netflix and on USA Network.