Pascal Le Segretain/Getty
02/08/2008 at 02:00 PM EST
A friend of Kirsten Dunst
's says the lingering effects of being a child actress and the pressures from constant media scrutiny are at the core of her decision to seek help in rehab.
"It's cruel the way people have put her under a microscope," says a friend of the actress. "She's trying to take a break. It's a great thing."
The friend adds: "She's an incredible woman – so giving of her time, her money, her soul. That's the story that should be told. Everyone has problems, but not everyone is forced to deal with them in a fishbowl."
Dunst, 25, is being treated
at the exclusive Cirque Lodge Treatment Center in Utah, the same facility where Lindsay Lohan
spent nearly two months and where Eva Mendes
recently checked in.
The Dunst friend notes that the Spider-Man
star spent her childhood working as an actress.
"There's probably less than a half of a percent of people in the world who understand the issues of being a child star and the pressures that come with it," says the friend. "You have to figure out a lot of lessons later in life, ones you didn't learn in school. The socialization is very different."