BALLOON BOY

Is Richard Heene a Fame Addict?

Was Wife Swap the gateway drug for Balloon Boy father Richard Heene? Jake Halpern, author of Fame Junkies, says that Heene may be a fame junkie, someone clinically addicted to the spotlight in a way that becomes destructive to a person's work, family, and friends. Like the high one gets from drugs, eating, or gambling, attention from others can also release dopamine and other opiates to the brain, flooding one with feelings of superiority. Then, in a biological feedback loop, we begin to crave the activities that elicit such chemical releases. In other words, fame can be like crack. Halpern suggests that Heene probably liked his taste of fame during his brief television stint, and was in search for it again when he allegedly plotted to trick an entire nation.