Shannen Doherty claims she was treated ''like a dog'' on the set of 'Beverly Hills 90210'.

The 49-year-old actress received a reputation as a troublemaker during her time portraying Brenda Walsh on the show - from which she was fired after four years - and she admitted she can understand where that came from because she wasn't very good at ''diplomacy'' or addressing her concerns in a measured way at the time.

She said: ''At 19 years old, diplomacy is not something that you understand.''

Recalling how directors and producers would tell her to keep quiet and do her job, she added to America's ELLE magazine: ''Basically, treating me like I'm a dog and I need to just follow their commands. Telling a 19 year old who's intelligent, who was raised to not be that way at all, you don't go, 'Oh, how can I massage this?' 

''Instead, I was like, 'Where's my sledgehammer?' But the more I used the sledgehammer to break that down, the worse it got for me.''

And Shannen - who is battling stage 4 breast cancer - only turned to partying as a way of escape because she was ''struggling'' with her beloved dad Tom's ill health as he suffered several heart attacks and strokes before dying in 2010.

She said: ''People didn't think I was private, because I was going out and was a party girl. But meanwhile, I was struggling a lot.

''[My dad] was my rock, my best friend, my mentor. As much as he struggled in his own way, I idolised him...

''It becomes a snowball effect. I'm running from my problems and my fears of losing my dad and the pressure of it. I went through an incredibly self-destructive stage.''

Last year, Shannen reunited with her former castmates on 'BH90210', a spoof show in which they played exaggerated versions of themselves, but despite her friend and co-star Brian Austin Green's encouragement, she was initially reluctant to sign up to the project.

She said: ''I had already done two 90210s by that point. I didn't really see it as something that was going to help, but I did feel that it could stir up stuff from when I was 19 years old.''

But now, the actress is grateful she made the series, even though it hasn't been renewed for a second season.

She said: ''I'm very grateful I did it. It was nice seeing everyone again from a new perspective.''