Did Amy Winehouse Die of Alcohol Withdrawal?

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  1. Mighty Mom profile image77
    Mighty Momposted 12 years ago

    Toxicology reports will either confirm her family's theory-- or not. In the meantime, there IS a lesson to be learned here.
    Just as you can die from alcohol poisoning, you can, if your body is used to a steady level of alcohol, die from acute alcohol withdrawal.
    If you think you're at risk for seizures, go for a medical detox. Much safer. smile


    Can You Die From Not Drinking?
    Assessing the latest theory of Amy Winehouse's demise.
    By Jeremy Singer-VinePosted Thursday, July 28, 2011, at 6:24 PM ET
    The Winehouse family believes Amy died from alcohol withdrawal.Amy Winehouse's family believes that quitting alcohol cold turkey precipitated the singer's recent death, according to the British tabloid the Sun. Toxicology reports won't be ready for at least two weeks, but most observers have assumed that she suffered from a drug overdose of some kind.

    Can you really die from not drinking?


    While alcohol withdrawal symptoms are often mild—pronounced sweating, hand tremors, and nausea, for example—more severe cases can critically damage the nervous system. That can lead to seizures, heart attack, and other life-threatening conditions. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal generally stem from the fact that heavy drinking forces changes in the brain's sensitivity to key neurotransmitters. When someone stops drinking all of a sudden, the rebound effect can be deadly.

    The most severe effect of this rebound is known as delirium tremens, meaning "shaking frenzy" in Latin. This develops in about 5 percent of patients hospitalized for alcohol withdrawal and kills about 5 percent of those who develop it. (Timely diagnosis and treatment, however, can reduce the mortality risk to around 1 out of every 2,000 hospitalized patients.) Symptoms of delirium tremens, also known as "the DTs," include floating in and out of consciousness, hallucinations, seizures, nausea, and diarrhea. The condition also impairs the autonomic nervous system, and a history of other drug use increases the risk for alcohol-related seizures.

    Those newly on the wagon are also at risk of dying from Wernicke's encephalopathy, a form of brain damage caused by caused by thiamine (a.k.a. vitamin B1) deficiency. Alcohol hampers the body's ability to absorb thiamine from food, and over time can lead to the destruction of brain tissue. In the long run, quitting alcohol would reduce the risk of mortality, but the symptoms of encephalopathy—memory loss and impaired control over muscle and eye movement—may be mistaken for the general symptoms of withdrawal. If left untreated, Wernicke's encephalopathy leads to death roughly 20 percent of the time.

    Got a question about today's news? Ask the Explainer.

    1. Freegoldman profile image40
      Freegoldmanposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      It is now believed by Amy Winehouse's family that she died of alcohol withdrawal, rather than a drug overdose as presumed by most news outlets and observers.

      Spinner report that the singer had quit drinking alcohol cold turkey this month, ignoring doctors advice to reduce her intake gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

      UG plus: remove banner
      Meanwhile, the debate is open as to whether there will be a posthumous release of her incomplete third album. While the NME report that the album may see the light of day, the decision to release new music will ultimately be up to her parents.

  2. Uninvited Writer profile image80
    Uninvited Writerposted 12 years ago

    Wouldn't that be so sad if she really was trying to straighten herself up finally?

  3. Mighty Mom profile image77
    Mighty Momposted 12 years ago

    I heard she HAD been in rehab as recently as a month ago.
    Only time and the toxicology report will tell what killed her.
    Given her emphysema, maybe she suffered a fatal asthma attack or even a heart attack. It could be anything!
    RIP Amy.

  4. profile image0
    Lady_Eposted 12 years ago

    It has been said that she died because she stopped drinking altogether.  (what I heard on SkyNews)

    It reminds me of Depression Tablets. Doctors always ask patients not to stop it, when they feel better. Instead, they ask them to come off it gradually. (reducing the dosage) Not just immediately.

    Amy was indeed trying to straigten herself out. I wish someone had given her proper advice.

    God rest her soul.

  5. CyclingFitness profile image89
    CyclingFitnessposted 12 years ago

    There was a report in the Bristish press over the weekend that she had purchased 1200 punds (1500 dollars) of class A Drugs the day before her death!

  6. Mighty Mom profile image77
    Mighty Momposted 12 years ago

    Very true, Lady_E. There are a number of pharmaceuticals that are dangerous to quit taking cold turkey.
    Detoxing's a bear, but can be fatal if you go into seizures. And they really do happen.
    CyclingFitness, that's certainly possible (probable, even). Is the report from a reliable news source or more tabloid-esque?
    What kind of Class A drugs, did they specify?
    She could have OD'd accidentally. She could have killed herself. Or her heart could have burst. I guess we won't know the COD for real until the toxicology report....

  7. mcrawford76 profile image88
    mcrawford76posted 12 years ago

    I certainly hope that this incident will bring to light what serious problem alcoholism is in this country.

    So few people know that it is the ONLY drug that has withdrawal symptoms that can kill you.

    1. Mighty Mom profile image77
      Mighty Momposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      True dat.
      Sounds like a great hub topic to me!


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