Rehabs make hay with Winehouse's win

Updated on Feb 12, 2008 04:27 PM IST
Rehab has never been hotter in Hollywood, and nowhere was that more apparent than at the recently-concluded Grammy Awards where British soul singer Amy Winehouse scored five big wins.
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Reuters | By, Los Angeles

Rehab has never been hotter in Hollywood, and nowhere was that more apparent than on Sunday at the Grammy Awards where British soul singer Amy Winehouse scored five big wins, more than any other artist.

After months of headlines about drug and alcohol treatment for troubled Hollywood stars like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, Winehouse shook off the stigma of rehab and looked like a winner.

Taking a break from drug treatment, she accepted her Grammys and confidently performed her signature hit tune, "Rehab," and another, "You Know I'm No Good," from a London studio via satellite during the awards' telecast. Some Grammy attendees said Winehouse, 24, would have been fine traveling to Los Angeles and collecting the US music industry's top awards in person.

"Had she come to the Grammys, it would have been a wonderful experience for her and for everyone," said Mike Melvoin, a past president of the Recording Academy that hosts the Grammys and a key backer of the Grammy-endorsed programme, MusiCares, which supports musicians in need.

But mental health professionals said the stress of performing coupled with Hollywood glamour could have derailed her recovery. "To expect people to come back to perform after a few weeks in rehabilitation is not even physiologically possible," said Susan Blank, director of psychiatric and psychological services at the nonprofit Caron group, which runs rehab programmes.

Blank said it takes weeks for the brain to heal from substance abuse, and interrupting that process can increase the chances of a relapse. The difficulties that major stars often face are not necessarily caused by external factors such as heavy media coverage, another mental health specialist said.

"(It) is more related to the personality and biological makeup of a performer and less to stress and pressure on them to perform," said Stan Greenwald, director of the Center for Stress Reduction in Goshen, New York.

Blank said drug and alcohol abuse can differ from substance addiction, which is genetically inherited and runs in 10 percent to 16 percent of the overall population.

She added that celebrities generally have people around them supporting their habit, and the longer stars deny their problems, the longer it takes for them to recover. Winehouse's Grammy tally for the night included record and song of the year for "Rehab," and best new artist. She also won for best female pop vocal solo performance and best pop vocal album for her breakthrough release, "Back to Black."

With five Grammys, she tied Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Norah Jones and Beyonce for the most wins in a year by a female artist.

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