A film star at 11, in rehab at 20: The Lindsay Lohan story

The Hollywood actress was as wild as she was successful. But now she has become another victim of binge-drinking culture
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The Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan has announced that she is attending sessions of Alcoholics Anonymous - a move praised last night by health campaigners. Lohan has become as well known for her partying as her screen appearances, which began in 1998 with The Parent Trap.

Her publicist, Leslie Sloane, admitted yesterday that Lohan was seeking help for an alcohol problem, after she was spotted leaving an AA meeting. "Yes, she's been attending some meetings and it's going to be a slow process, she said.

The move may well save her from the kind of descent into booze-soaked has-beenery that has befallen other child stars. Anti-drink campaigners yesterday praised Ms Lohan and commended her action.

The Alchemy Project, which gives advice on treatment for alcohol problems in the UK, said yesterday: "This sends a message that says to young people it is OK to ask for help, that help is available to them and they won't be the first to ask," said John Chamberlain, director of the charity. "I think some young people will react positively to this, and of course others will just say she is a spoiled brat."

Lohan's penchant for parties and nightclubs have made her the focus of tabloid stories in the US portraying her as out of control. Despite admitting she was attending AA, Lohan was spotted with a glass of champagne at the GQ Man of the Year Dinner on Friday night, where she allegedly caused a stir by shouting at a former personal assistant who also went to the party.

Her recent alcohol-fuelled nights out with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, with whom she will be appearing in a remake of The Witches of Eastwick, were widely reported last week.

But concerns for the actress and her hard-living ways have been growing all year. In July she received a public dressing down from James G Robinson, the chief executive of Morgan Creek productions, for her repeated lateness on set.

Lohan was appearing in the film Georgia Rules, in which she plays an uncontrollable teenager. She gave a variety of excuses, including heat exhaustion, for her repeated lateness. Mr Robinson wrote a letter to Lohan, which was later leaked to a website, accusing her of acting "like a spoiled child". He wrote: "We are well aware that your ongoing all-night heavy partying is the real reason for your so-called 'exhaustion'."

Dina Lohan, Lindsay's mother, praised her daughter's decision in a radio interview yesterday. "As a parent, you tell them what you can tell them, but she's 20 and I'm not going to say, 'Stay home and don't go out.' That's a ridiculous thing to do. When you're 20 you have to learn a lot on your own. I'm there for support, and I'll obviously give her my opinion, but she's fine. She's very smart."

In the UK, charities are fighting a growing problem of alcohol abuse among young people. The Institute of Alcohol Studies has reported that 7,426 under-18s were admitted to hospital with drink-related problems in the year 2004/05, a rise of 10.5 per cent on the previous year.

Mr Chamberlain said young people in the US, on average, seek help for alcohol and drug problems earlier than people in the UK. He added: "The role model aspect is important because young people are influenced by peer pressure when it comes to drink and drugs."