Amy Winehouse, Drug Addiction, and Mental Illness

        Amy Winehouse, famous British singer, was found dead in her home on Saturday, July 23rd. Although at this point in time it has not been confirmed, it is highly suspected that drugs and alcohol have played a part in her death. It has been widely known that she was “troubled” and suffered from addictions which have caused problems for her professionally as she has been unable to work and perform to the best of her ability. What is not as well known is that she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder*.

        Winehouse herself had reported on the fact that she was bipolar and also stated that she was not willing to take medication for it. I’m not sure whether she realized it or not but she was in fact medicating herself, although with drugs and alcohol. As reported on the Today Show this morning, Winehouse “was addicted to so many substances” and she tried everything. This piece of information suggests that she suffered from polysubstance dependence, meaning that she was dependent on using drugs in general instead of one or two specific drugs. It has been determined by studies that individuals with bipolar disorder self-medicate or use substances more than individuals with any other Axis I disorder (all those except for personality disorders and mental retardation). Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol only exacerbate the symptoms of bipolar disorder, causing more trouble in the long run. In addition to the bipolar disorder and polysubstance dependence, she also suffered from eating disorders, which has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

        So what can we take from Winehouse’s experience? It is important to receive the proper care for mental illness and to allow treatment from a trusted mental health professional. Stories have been playing on the news and on the internet asking if Winehouse could have been saved, and the answer is yes, if she chose to allow herself to be saved. If you or someone you know suffers from bipolar disorder, drug or alcohol addiction, or an eating disorder, there is hope. With the right help you can overcome these illnesses and be a survivor instead of a statistic.

*It is important to note that a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder can only be diagnosed after an individual is no longer experiencing effects of continued drug use. I am not sure of the specifics of this diagnosis and cannot confirm that it is an accurate diagnosis or if her symptoms only resembled bipolar disorder and were in fact due to her drug use.

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One Response to Amy Winehouse, Drug Addiction, and Mental Illness

  1. Bebe says:

    Thanks for finally writing about >Amy Winehouse, Drug Addiction, and
    Mental Illness Relational Mental Health <Liked it!

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