Image by Terry Richardson
Amy Winehouse’s family now claims that she died of the “shock” of alcohol withdrawal. Her family maintains she quit drinking “cold turkey” in the month following her humiliating final performance in Belgrade.
Hollywood Life spoke with three experts—Dr. Ronald Minutoli and Dr. Andrew Rosenbaum of New York, along with addiction specialist Marty Brenner of California—to glean a better understanding of the detox process:
In the U.S. 50 to 60 percent of alcoholics will develop significant withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and 5 percent will experience acute symptoms called “delirium tremens”. About 5 – 15 per cent of delirium tremens sufferers will die.
By this logic, as many as 8 in every 1000 alcoholics die of the seizures caused by alcohol withdrawal. (Slate adds that Wernicke’s encephalopathy is a real and grievous risk.)
Experts also recommend that longtime drinkers detox gradually, with a doctor’s help, under constant supervision.
We do know that Winehouse’s body was discovered by a supervisor (well, a “security guard”) in her home, and that the night before her death a doctor had given Winehouse’s health the A-OK. Those details lend credence to the family’s claim that, at the very least, Amy Winehouse was trying to get sober. Did the effects of alcohol withdrawal cause Amy Winehouse’s death?