“I told you I was trouble…”

No suicide note was beside Amy Winehouse’s body when she was found dead in her apartment last week.
But the poignant and sudden death of a young starlet, so full of talent, still remains somewhat incomprehensible to many.
In the days running up to Amy’s death, she was believed to be ‘devastated’ after splitting up with her on-off boyfriend, film director Reg Traviss.
But, as we all know, it wasn’t just the heartbreak that killed Amy. The Back to Black singer was also victim to a cycle, reminiscent of so many addicts, a cycle so strong that not even her loving family could help her break. 
Only last month Amy had checked out of the Priory Clinic following intensive treatment for her drinking and was given the all-clear to carry on with her comeback European tour.
But it proved too little too late for the Rehab singer.
“I’ve known for a long time that my daughter has problems,” her mother stated in 2008.
“I realise my daughter could be dead within the year. We’re watching her kill herself, slowly.”
“I look at Heath Ledger and Britney. She’s on their path. It’s like watching a car crash – this person throwing all these gifts away.”
Colin O’ Driscoll, Treatment Director forForest, (forest.ie) says that death’s, like Amy’s, are an all too frequent occurrence.
“The death of this young woman is extremely sad but unfortunately common,” says Colin.
“Hopefully this will provide some education of the seriousness of addiction and the very real risks.
“Lives are lost everyday through a preferencing of an addictive pattern over all else, including survival,” he added.
Amy was the classic addictive personality type as she illustrated in her addiction to drugs, drink, cigarettes, her work and even her love relationships.
But as Colin explains, it is often not the alcohol or drugs that the user is dependent on – it’s the emotional crutch.
In Amy’s hauntingly vulnerable lyrics, it was clear that with her addiction she was covering up a whole range of emotional issues.
“Addiction has many faces,” says Colin. “The most common are the addictive substances, but we are learning more and more about the behavioural addictions, which include gambling, sex, shopping, technology, etc.
“Addiction is established when a behaviour or substance serves to sufficiently distract a person from an otherwise difficult state of consciousness,” he explains.
“Once one learns to cope with life’s difficulty through excessive engagement in a particular behaviour, or substance, they create a fast track to developing an addiction.
“The key tends to be speed. The rate at which the action leads to distraction tends to determine how addictive a behaviour or substance can become.”
“Generally there is very little difference between the addictions in terms of what psychological features are at play, and how it is treated therapeutically is very similar,” he adds.
For women especially, this addiction can even manifest in something as unassuming but potentially life-destroying as an eating disorder. In men, it can often be drink or drugs.
From 2003 to 2007 inIrelanddrug related deaths as a result of overdose rose by almost 50 per cent – 80 per cent of these deaths were men. In September 2009 gambling also reached a new all time high inIreland.
We in this country know all too well the price of addiction.
And with the Irish unemployment rate for under 25’s at 1 in 4, higher then the EU average, addictions problems can become a tempting escape for young people with no direction or way out of the poor economic climate.
This might be little comfort for Amy’s family, for whom it is now too late, but getting help is key as many survivors of addiction prove. The cycle can be broken but the addict themselves has to take the first step in wanting to recover. 
As comedian, Russell Brand, a former addict himself, so succinctly put it in a tribute for his friend Amy, “When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you its too late, she’s gone.”

Amy’s videos

You Know I’m No Good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-I2s5zRbHg

Rehab: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUmZp8pR1uc&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Back to Black: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJAfLE39ZZ8&ob=av2n

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