Amy Winehouse’s death is tragic and demands our attention. She was a talented singer and a tortured soul. I do not have special insight into her records, so I would like to take the moment to talk about addictions that often prove nearly impossible to treat.

Addiction is a brain disorder. When addictions are combined with other disorders like depression or bipolar disorder, the patient will almost certainly have a tough time recovering. I have seen it many times. When a person has bipolar disorder or depression combined with an addiction to alcohol and drugs, together the pair can be deadly.

When a person combines medicine to treat a psychiatric problem with drug or alcohol abuse, the medicine may become undermined. Moreover, when they abuse drugs they are non-compliant with treatment, which is often accompanied by an aversion from taking direction from an authority figure. This is why AA talks about hitting rock bottom. With tough addictions like this, people need to be scared straight. Otherwise, it can be a spiral downwards towards death.

Moreover, when people use drugs or drink, their judgment goes out the window. What looks like a non-lethal dose of something may be a lethal dose; what looks like a safe drive back home from the bar, turns into a moment where they lose control and we never see them again. As a result, they die without realizing they are wrong.

The key in these disorders is to engage the patient in something they don’t have control over. For example, alcoholics learn that they have lost control over their consumption of alcohol when in AA. In addition, luck plays a big role in their survival. They may be suicidal, and ultimately, luck has to be on their side. With one bad mistake, the story could end.

Amy Winehouse is the public face of a private problem that lives everywhere. We should be scared straight from her story.

Check out the Huffington Post article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bree-marescakramer/amy-winehouse-death-addiction_b_916449.html