Amy Winehouse dress fetches $68,000 at auction
British pop singer Winehouse performs during Glastonbury music festival. Reuters.

Though an official cause of death is expected to take several weeks, Amy Winehouse's family claims that alcohol withdrawal syndrome was to blame for the singer's untimely death at the age of 27.

The deceased singer's family told Britain's "The Sun," that cutting the alcohol out of her life "cold turkey" may have caused shock to her body and resulted in her death.

So what is alcohol withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal refers to symptoms that may occur when a person who has been drinking too much alcohol every day suddenly stops drinking alcohol. It occurs most often in adults, but may occur in teenagers or children. The more you drink every day, the more likely you are to develop alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking.

Doctors recommend that you gradually taper off heavy alcohol consumption, something that the Winehouse family claims Amy didn't do.

If there are any preexisting medical problems, the severe withdrawal symptoms may be worse. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 5 - 10 hours after the last drink, but can occur days later. Symptoms get worse in 48 - 72 hours, and may persist for weeks.

Common symptoms include:

-Anxiety or nervousness


-Not thinking clearly



-Jumpiness or shakiness


-Mood swings

Other symptoms may include:

-Enlarged (dilated) pupils


-Clammy skin


-Insomnia (sleeping difficulty)

-Loss of appetite


-Nausea and vomiting

-Rapid heart rate

-Tremor of the hands or other body parts

The most severe form of alcohol withdrawal is called delirium tremens. This is what the Winehouse family claims Amy suffered from.

Delirium Tremens can cause:




-Seeing or feeling things that aren't there (hallucinations)

-Severe confusion

Alcohol withdrawal may range from a mild and uncomfortable disorder to a serious, life-threatening condition. Most people who go through alcohol withdrawal make a full recovery. However, death is possible, especially if delirium tremens occurs.