Amy Winehouse’s family blames her abrupt withdrawal of alcohol, not drugs, for killing her. The cause of her death will not be known for weeks, pending the completion of toxicology tests.

Amy Winehouse at Kalemegdan Park in Belgrade, Serbia. This was the singer's last live concert performance before her death on July 23, 2011.

The 27-year old ignored doctors’ advice to steadily cut back from her heavy drinking. Instead of listening, she went cold turkey. Her family believes this was too much of a shock for her system.

Sam Zakhari, director of the metabolism and health effects division at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism said, “People who drink heavily and stop suddenly may go through alcohol withdrawal, which can cause symptoms ranging from anxiety to tremors to full-blown seizures and delusions,” adding, “Sometimes, this can affect the heart, causing cardiac arrhythmia, and in rare cases, this can be fatal.”

Usually the death of abusers is due to an excessive amount of alcohol or drugs- even a combination of the two. This is a rare case where someone did die from quitting suddenly.

Winhouse also had issues with an eating disorder, destructive relationships, and abortive performances. These dangerous habits may have damaged her body to the point where she could not recover, even after quitting alcohol.

Zakhari said all alcoholics should taper off slowly and quit under a physician’s supervision to avoid severe symptoms. Prescription medications like benzodiazepines may be useful to calm the brain and counteract the stimulant effect that kicks in when the body is no longer getting a depressant, such as alcohol.

If Amy quit under the supervision of a physician, heart risks based on family history and other factors would have been considered when providing treatment.

If you have a teen struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, consider a teen rehab as a treatment option.

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The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can become so severe they could actually kill a person. This is why an alcoholic is going to need alcohol withdrawal treatment in order to avoid something that tragic from happening, among other things.

About The Author

Ashley D’Hooge graduated from Emerson college in Boston. She has written for several publications and currently resides in Boston.

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