Nelsan Ellis: A Cautionary Tale About Detoxing Alone

On July 8, 2017, critically acclaimed actor and playwright, Nelsan Ellis, passed away at the Woodhull Medical Center in New York. He was best known for his award-winning role as Lafayette Reynolds in the hit HBO show, True Blood. He went on to star in films like The Soloist, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and Get on Up. Ellis’ was an instant fan favorite and had a promising career ahead of him until he passed away from something that surprised colleagues and fans alike. Ellis, who secretly suffered from drug and alcohol addiction, died from complications stemming from his attempt to self-detox. 


A Silent History of Substance Abuse


Ellis is just one of many people who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction and was ashamed of his battle with the disease. He was so ashamed that he completely hid it from almost everyone around him. According to his family, the actor had been suffering from drug and alcohol addiction for many years and was reluctant to talk about it out of embarrassment and fear of judgment and rejection. 


Ellis had many stints in rehab but decided to go through withdrawal on his own. Shortly after he began abstaining, Ellis developed a blood infection and his kidneys failed. He tragically passed away at the age of 39.


The Importance of Getting Help to Detox


The beloved star might have been private about his struggles, but his family shared his tragic story to serve as a cautionary tale of just how dangerous self-detoxing can be. If you suffer from moderate-to-severe symptoms of withdrawal, it is recommended that you detox under medical supervision at either a treatment facility or your local hospital. There, medical professionals can monitor your vitals and provide you with fluids or medication if needed. Some people have successfully detoxed at home, but withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that they cause seizures, hallucinations, and other medical complications. 


Ellis became a cautionary tale of trying to detox on your own. There can be significant and even deadly consequences to getting sober “cold turkey” and alone. Consulting with a medical professional is the safest way to ensure that you have the safest detox experience possible. Valiant Living provides a variety of services for men who are struggling with addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or would like more information on our services, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member at (303) 952-5035.