On the final installment of The Wrestling Inc. Daily’s “Documenting Chyna” series, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman spoke with Dr. Drew Pinksy. Dr. Drew treated WWE Hall of Famer Chyna as part of “Celebrity Rehab” and worked to get her treatment during her final year. He discussed Chyna being incarcerated in a locked psychiatric hospital in Japan a few years before her passing and how serious her situation was that it had to come to that point.
“I think the important thing to remember is she spent a over a month, maybe several months I could never quite put it together, in a locked psychiatric hospital,” Dr. Drew pointed out. “There was something terribly wrong psychiatrically. I don’t know if it was all addiction. I don’t know if she became psychotic, but you don’t put someone, I mean here you could never even do it, but even in a place like Japan, you don’t just spend months in a locked psychiatric facility because you’re a little depressed or that you were suicidal at one time.
“So something substantial was going on psychiatrically, which is why when they called me, I just kept saying, look, you got to get a psychiatrist. You got to have somebody evaluate her. Something is not right. I don’t know what’s going on, but don’t worry about the mom and all the things you want to do. That’s all great, but I need to understand what’s going on here, and the last I kind of talked to them, as I recall, I got them referred to the psychiatrist, and I think that she saw him. But I don’t know what happened. It was out of my hands at that point.”
Dr. Drew believed that Chyna was dealing with a type of dissociative disorder and had been going through real trauma. He talked about the efforts he made to assist her in getting the help she needed.
“She seemed to have some sort of dissociative disorder, and she clearly had been traumatized,” Dr. Drew said. “I mean, there were times — she never had a formal diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder, but I worried about that because her presentation was so different in so many different environments, like it was a different person, and when I would talk to her about some of her traumatic past, which again, when people have these traumatic pasts, you never know what’s a memory and what’s really happened, but what’s important is that they’re struggling with these things.
“And in her case, she was highly dissociative. She was just constantly highly dissociative from her feelings and memories and things, and a lovely human being. I mean, the version of her that I got to know was quite sweet, but I always had grave concerns. I sent her to a psychologist. She wouldn’t go on in the addiction treatment. I sent her to a psychologist. She saw him a few times but never really followed through.
“She never wanted to cop to the substances, and she never really wanted to get involved in the mental health care. She never really wanted to really dig into the process, and then of course, the drug addiction part of it would became much more prominent later on.”
When Chyna returned to the U.S. from Japan, Dr. Drew said he saw Chyna a few times to check up on her. He said he always made sure that if she ever needed his help, that he would be there for her. He also said he understood that once she was back with her former manager Anthony, that she needed serious help.
“In the few months after ‘Celebrity Rehab’, I was following up, really, with her psychologist to make sure that she was showing up because she was so resistant, so sort of slippery about what she was going to do,” Dr. Drew revealed. “And I would run into her once in a while and ask her how she’s doing and let her know if she’s got my number. If you need anything, I’m here. I’m here. I’m here, and she was always claiming to be sober.
“I don’t know if she was just not using, or she was involved in the program or what exactly she was doing, but I always had concerns. I was worried, and so when Anthony showed up with her, now many years later, I was like, okay this thing progresses usually and here we are. We got to get very serious about having her evaluated.”
Many fans and members of Chyna’s family have questions around Chyna’s passing. However, Dr. Drew said that her passing was “another catastrophe of the excessive prescribing of opiates by my peers” speaking on the opioid crisis that has affected the U.S. for decades. He noted that now things are better, but before, it was very easy for drug addicts to obtain opioids as many doctors were often times incentivized to prescribe them to patients.
“This is another catastrophe of the excessive prescribing of opiates by my peers,” Dr. Drew affirmed. “My patients died, almost exclusively, as a result of doctors overprescribing opiates to drug addicts, and she, and Jeff Conway and Mike Starr, every single one of them died with a couple pills, bottles of benzodiazepines opiates at their bedside that they never should have been prescribed under any circumstances. Today, that would not happen. Today, the prescribing is being scrutinized, but then, if you were an addict, your life was in danger if you went to see a doctor, and that was happening hand over fist.
“And I couldn’t stop it no matter what I did. It was a terrible time, heartbreaking. I’m pacing right now as I’m telling you this because I cannot tell you how horrible it was. I would treat people. I’d get them well. They have no more pain, and they’d go see their pain doctor or their Orthopedic or whatever. And literally, things were said to them like, ‘When are you going to stop listening to those people that are trying to brainwash you? I know what you need. You need to be on these medicines all the time.’ You say that to a drug addict. They’re done.
“It’s over, and that’s how they were dying constantly, heartbreaking. It’s reprehensible, disgusting, but that’s what I was dealing with the time, and by the way, I suffered through 10 years of people telling me that I was interested in people suffering, that I didn’t care if people are in pain [or] that I was old-fashioned.”
Dr. Drew noted that there was a lot of complex factors involved around Chyna’s passing stating that “addiction wasn’t the only story.” He talked about how doctors are not allowed to step in, unless a patient asks for help, or they are in imminent danger.
“There was a lot of complexity to what was going on psychiatrically, and I don’t know if anybody ever really got it nailed down. And addiction wasn’t the only story,” Dr. Drew noted. “There was a lot more going on, and we live in a time when caretakers — doctors are not allowed to take care of people, unless they ask for it or unless they’re in imminent danger, you can put them somewhere for a couple of days, but otherwise, you’re not allowed to do anything unless the patient is saying, ‘I want you to help me.’ And it’s a really serious problem right now in this country. It’s why you have homelessness.”
As Hausman and Dr. Drew were wrapping up their conversation, Dr. Drew gave some closing remarks. He commented on how Chyna was a “lovely woman”, but “she was complicated.”
“It’s all very deeply disturbing, deeply disturbing,” Dr. Drew remarked. “She was a lovely woman. I always feel like it didn’t need to happen, but she was complicated. She was complicated, and a bad prognosis at a time when it was killing people all the time.”
Dr. Drew’s interview aired as part of the final installment of the Documenting Chyna interview series on The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.