“The Dr. Phil Show” is a widely known platform used to help families reconnect, addicts seek help, teach audiences about a certain topic, and so much more. But, recently, a story has come out of the woodwork that Dr. Phil may not be providing the right help to some of his patients.
Former “Survivor” winner Todd Herzog shared a detailed account of his multiple experiences with “The Dr. Phil Show” in a piece with STAT/The Boston Globe. Martin Greenberg, the show’s director of professional affairs, denied all allegations in STAT/Boston Globe’s story.
Herzog first appeared on “The Dr. Phil Show” in 2013 when his family gave him a surprise intervention for his alcohol addiction. The show flew him from Utah to Los Angeles and gave him a hotel room where Herzog detoxed over a few days. Herzog says that when he arrived at the studio to film, he was sober. However, when he got to his dressing room, there was a liter-sized bottle of Vodka, and someone gave him Xanax before the show to “calm his nerves.”
When he went onstage to meet with Dr. Phil, he had downed the full bottle of Vodka that was provided in the dressing room. Herzog says he was so intoxicated that he had to be carried out onto the stage by staff and sat down in his chair. He told Dr. Phil that he was intoxicated, and Dr.Phil breathalyzed him onstage to reveal Herzog was at .263.
“You know, I get that it’s a television show and that they want to show the pain that I’m in,” Herzog told STAT. “However, what would have happened if I died there? You know, that’s horrifying.”
Greenberg said that Herzog was “medically supervised the entire time he was involved with tapings of Dr. Phil.” According to Greenberg, that supervision was a nurse practitioner who flew with him to Los Angeles for the taping, a nurse who sat with him during the night at the hotel, and a medical professional from a treatment center who happened to be in LA at the time. Greenberg gave no specific names. He later clarified his statements: “we mean 100% of guests agreeing to treatment. It does not mean that a guest is being monitored 100% of the time. Unfortunately, substance abusers adopt very clever means to obtain alcohol or drugs, and we cannot control what we cannot control.”
“Addicts are notorious for lying, deflecting and trivializing. But, if they are at risk when they arrive, then they were at risk before they arrived. The only change is they are one step closer to getting help, typically help they could not have even come close to affording.”
Herzog said he continued drinking after his first appearance on the show and appeared three more times. On the third episode in 2014, he claims a bottle of vodka once again in his dressing room. However, he said that he only drank some of it. The show has said that there was no Vodka left in the dressing room. Herzog’s last appearance on Dr. Phil was in 2016. He said he was serious about getting sober and wanted to be put in treatment.
During the last appearance, Herzog said that he had a handler who provided close supervision. He says that the handler gave him a shot of alcohol when he showed signs of seizures from alcohol withdrawal. Herzog says that now in 2017, he is happily sober and is living his life to the fullest.
“I’m grateful in a lot of ways for the show. For getting me help in the nicest places in the country. That’s a gift right there. There are some things about the show that I don’t like, and that I don’t think are real. I should have been in the hospital, in that sense. There should not be liters of vodka in my dressing room.”
Greenberg told STAT regarding their article that “few people contact us just to let us know how well things are going. So the fact you can ‘cherry pick’ three, or thirty, or three hundred guests for that matter, who seek to blame others for their plight or struggle in life, is not the least bit surprising.”