Elvis Presley - Behavioral & Social Sciences

The Case
Elvis Presley
Polysubstance Dependence- the use of at least
three different substances for at least six months,
with no substance predominating.
•Born: Jan. 8, 1935
•Twin still-born 35 minutes before Elvis
• Family was extremely poor and moved often
• When age 4, father spent three years in
• Mother known to be excessively protective
of her only child
• Mom was very tense and nervous
• Often took medicine for her “bad nerves”
• Reasonable happy childhood
• Moved to Memphis, moving into public
housing in 1949
From 1956-1958 his stardom
reached unbelievable heights, selling
over 142 gold records worldwide
•Drafted into the U.S. army in 1958
•Mom refused to speak with him –left
alone for first time
•Mom’s health began to deteriorate, in
constant state of depression and fits of
• While Elvis was in the army mom began drinking heavily
and was eventually diagnosed with hepatitis
• Mom dies August 1958
• Devastated by the news Elvis begins a period of isolation
•At age 33, marries Priscilla
•Lisa Marie is born 9 months later
•Has first #1 hit in seven years (Suspicious Minds, 1969)
•Emotionally drained and destructive living habits
•Began promiscuous behavior
•Out of sync sleeping schedule
•Poor eating habits
•Increasing dependence and abuse of prescription drugs
• From the time Priscilla sued for divorce in 1973 until
his death, Elvis’s weight and drug used increased
• Experienced numerous physical disorders
• Heavily sedated for several days after discovering
Priscilla was involved with someone else
By 1974 often spent days at a time in his room at Graceland
Began wild spending sprees
Often seemed confused and sweated profusely
Giggle fits on stage
Increasing drug use
•In the 32 months prior to his death, his physician allegedly
prescribed 19,000 prescriptions (claimed many were placebos)
•His pastime toward the end was studying medical and prescription
Bio-Science laboratories stated Presley died of polypharmacy
with the following substances in his body tissues:
1. codeine
5. Demerol
2. Steroids/ACTH
6. Amobarbital
3. Valium
7. Phenobarbital
4. Ethchlorvynol
8. Methaqualone – very high