"It was the first time I'd been told I had PTSD," he said. "I just thought I was an alcoholic, like, a true-blue drunk and I needed to deal with that."
Shia Labeouf has opened up about how his childhood acting career, and working on the Disney Channel, contributed to his PTSD.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter's "Awards Chatter" podcast Tuesday, the actor, 33, reflected on his days as a child star on "Even Stevens" and how that ultimately led to issues he dealt with only later in life.
During his troubled childhood, much of which is documented in his upcoming autobiographical film, "Honey Boy," LaBeouf took on the responsibility of making sure his family was financially stable.
"In a very simple way, to me, having money meant having a family," LaBeouf explained. "The more money I had, the more I could have my family around. That's just how I equated it."
"My dad wasn't around for a lot of my life because he was chasing cash," he said of his father, who he plays in "Honey Boy." As chronicled in the film, LaBeouf's father was paid by Disney to be his on-set guardian. His mother, he said, "wasn't around because she was chasing cash."
"I just looked at capitalism as the reason my family didn't work out and the reason their marriage failed. I looked at it as an economic thing," he added. "They loved each other deeply, and all of their fighting came from money, and so I just thought, 'Well, if we had money, there'd be no fighting and I'd have a family.' This is what created this hustle in me."
After the star's success on the Disney Channel, he broke out onto the movie scene, beginning with "Holes" in 2003. He went on to star in popular films, including "Disturbia," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and the "Transformers" franchise.
The Daytime Emmy winner then chose to star in more gritty independent films, including "American Honey," "Fury" and "Nymphomaniac." According to LaBeouf, he chose these projects for a reason.
"I was trying to earn my father," he said. "I was trying to shake off Disney. I was trying to shake off blockbusters. And I was trying to work with people who f--ked with me."
It was around this time in LaBeouf's career that he began to be known as a troubled star because of his public outbursts, bizarre performances and multiple arrests. However, his "bottom" came in 2017, when he was filming "The Peanut Butter Falcon" in Savannah, Georgia. It was then LaBeouf had a heated altercation with an undercover police officer, which ultimately had him arrested.
As LaBeouf recalled, he was "drunk out of my mind and not rational at all" during the incident and felt "a kind of shame, deep shame."
"I'm feeling like people on set think I'm a racist, believe I'm a racist, and I'm feeling all of that and don't want to be alive, basically," he said. "This was my bottom." LaBeouf vowed to never drink again.
After he finished filming the indie flick, LaBeouf entered a court-ordered rehab facility in Connecticut -- the alternative being years in jail. During his stay, the "Fury" star discovered he was struggling with more than just alcoholism.
"It was the first time I'd been told I had PTSD," he recalled. "I just thought I was an alcoholic, like, a true-blue drunk and I needed to deal with that. I knew it was an issue but didn't know there was this extra whole other thing that was hindering my ability to have any peace in my life and my ability to deal with people."
A part of LaBeouf's treatment included him writing down his past. This ultimately led to the script for "Honey Boy."
"The stuff that's in Honey Boy comes out of these exposure therapy sessions," he said.