Amy Winehouse is an English singer and songwriter who had deep and beautiful vocals. I think most of us would’ve recognized her from her song ‘Rehab’ from her second studio album, Back to Black which landed her several Grammy nominations. The album became a huge hit globally but the successful career of the singer was literally short-lived. Behind the iconic retro beehive hairstyle and ear-soothing vocals, this petite woman had her share of struggles before landing herself into stardom. There is so much to see and learn from her life problems. By the end of this post, you’d get the idea of what she had gone through.
Amy had a history of self-harming behaviour which mainly revolved around her cutting herself. There were two sides of the story that explains her injury inflicting behaviour - one of them says that self-inflicted injuries were a form of mechanism to tolerate with the ‘pain’ of depression. It was known that she started cutting herself at the age of nine. The singer admits that she tried doing it whenever she felt miserable. The first side of the story says that it was sourced from depression with her father leaving the family when she was young as well as the death of her grandmother in May 2006. She added a tattoo in memory of her grandmother and also cited that the needed helped relieved her agony. “I like the pain”, she said.
The second reason that contributed to her self-harming behaviour was to control the withdrawal symptoms of substance abuse, which is what we’ll talk about next. Basically pain helped ‘distracting’ the symptoms.
Why it is dangerous: When there is a cut wound, your flesh is basically exposed to the air. This makes bacteria enter our body easily such as Tetanus. Tetanus would then incubate in the human body for as long as three weeks before we could spot the symptoms. Unlike other simple infections, the Tetanus could pose a danger to the nervous system. Over the time, the sufferer would experience diarrhoea, fever, sweating and rapid heartbeats.
One day in the month of August, year 2007, a number of shows in the UK and Europe were cancelled because Amy was hospitalised during this period. It was later found that she got admitted as a result of drug and alcohol overdose. The drugs were ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and heroin. Her death was ruled to be not caused by drugs though, but we can definitely say that drugs did play a part in her life. Despite the constant denials, Blake Fielder-Civil, Amy’s former husband was in part to be blamed because he was the one who introduced her to heroin and crack. He claimed that he didn’t think he ruined her because she already had other addictions back then.
Her problems with drugs did affect her career at some point. There were critics who questioned whether she deserved the Grammy awards she won due to her addictions. It was noted that she was prevented from travelling and performing at the ceremony because she failed a drug test. However, let’s not divert our judgement solely on them. She might have had trouble with drugs; it still doesn’t change the fact that musical genius was intelligent, witty and funny.
Why it is dangerous: Drugs as we all know can bring so much danger into our lives. The ones Amy mainly consumed were heroin, ketamine, cocaine and ecstasy. These drugs pose a variety of long-term health effects.
Lung problems, unhealthy weight loss, liver diseases, chronic insomnia, collapsed veins
Paralysis of muscles, liver damage, abdominal pain, bladder problems, peeing with blood stains
Infertility, high blood pressure, heart attack, permanent damage to blood vessels to heart and brain, severe depression
Severe body overheating, heatstroke, unstoppable bleeding, liver failure, kidney failure
Alcohol was basically the last thing the forensics saw when she was found dead in her Camden home. Her death was concluded to be due to alcohol intoxication. Amy had a history of alcohol addiction as well as her efforts of battling the dependence as well. Her physician said that she was treated with Librium for alcohol withdrawal and anxiety, psychological and psychiatric evaluations. However, she refused psychological therapy. It was also noted by her relatives that she also suffered from binge drinking, where she would drink alcohol in massive quantities after not consuming it for a while.
Why is it dangerous: The dangers of alcohol is often overlooked because people consume it so often that they often dismiss it as nothing. Even from a single session of drinking can increase the risk of injuries or accidents such as alcohol poisoning and heart diseases. On the other hand, there are also long term effects such as liver disease, brain damage, damage to the nervous system, stroke as well as cancer in certain regions such as mouth, throat and breast.
A documentary on Amy was made after her death and it was uncovered that aside from alcohol poisoning that was initially ruled out for her death, forensics also noticed there were vomit in her bathroom. The doctors in the documentary did say that it was not her primary cause of death, but may have contributed to it. As you can see, bulimia is the act of binge eating a meal and then vomiting it out. Bulimia is dangerous as in the long run it is able to damage organs that ultimately lead to organ failure. Her mother mentioned that a young Amy once told her mother of her new ‘diet’ method which is no other than throwing up food. In an interview in June 2013, her bother Alex stated that he believed his sister’s death was mainly due to bulimia and the consequent physical weakness instead. He noted that she would’ve been physically stronger if she did not suffer from an eating disorder.
Why it is dangerous: Bulimia is considered as the most dangerous eating disorder as it affects your whole body. There are plenty of harms that are associated with bulimia but the notable ones are dehydration, irregular period, irregular bowel movements, abdominal cramping, stomach ulcers, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, anaemia and dizziness in the brain.
At the end of the day, there isn’t really an actual accurate explanation to her death despite that it was ruled to be due to alcohol intoxication. However, Amy has struggled for almost the whole time she was living. She noted that she entered showbiz not because she wanted to be a role model. She did singing and song writing because she had a lot of things going on in her mind and she wanted to make something good out of the bad things she suffered from. She further noted that she felt like dying if she didn’t write down the way she felt.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
The Good Drugs guide
Drug Free World
by Nicky Lee
Your typical neighbourhood ah pek who roams on the internet to satisfy his curiosity. Bold. Loud. Talkative. View all articles by Nicky Lee.