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What Is End Stage Alcoholism?

March 22, 2018

Alcoholism is different for every person that experiences it, and there are also different stages that an alcoholic will go through. By the end stage, alcohol dependence has firmly set in and the alcoholic is completely unable to control how much they drink or to stop drinking.

The good news is that alcoholism is treatable, no matter what stage you’re at, and Serenity Rehab clinic can develop a personalised programme specifically for you and your situation to help you get on the road to recover and stay there.

Below, we’re going to walk you through the four main stages of alcoholism to give you the full picture of how the condition develops, and the differences between the initial stage and the end stage.

The four main stages of alcoholism:

Stage 1: Early stage alcoholism

In the beginning stages of alcoholism, the alcoholic has only positive experiences with alcohol. It makes them feel good, giving them the euphoria and the high they are looking for, and it helps them blot out whatever reasons they had for starting to drink.

It’s likely that at this stage, the alcoholic will appear to be behaving normally, and that only people who are very close to them might notice that they are drinking more.

Early Stage Alcoholism Alcohol tolerance

If anyone else has too much to drink, they’ll start to slur their words, have lack of coordination and balance, and the other signs of being drunk. But when someone at the early stage of alcoholism drinks, they’ll begin to develop their tolerance for alcohol and it might not be obvious that they are drunk at all. They may be able to balance and coordinate properly, and have a perfectly normal conversation without slurring their words.

Note: This is different for everyone as there are different factors which affect alcohol tolerance, such as race, body mass, biochemistry, etc.

The alcoholic may also feel that they function better when they’ve had a drink or two, as they put off any hangover symptoms and any life challenges that they have to deal with until they stop drinking. Over time, they will become more dependent on alcohol as their body and brain begin to get used to its presence and crave it when the alcoholic hasn’t had a drink for a while.

Common early stage alcoholism behaviours:

• Drinking to avoid problems, such as boredom, loneliness, stress and anything that might be going on in their life
• Drinking noticeably more than usual
• Deliberately finding reasons to have more alcohol in their life
• Being far more sociable and easy to get along with when they’ve had a drink than they are when they are sober.

This stage then begins to progress to Middle Stage Alcoholism.

Common middle stage alcoholism behaviours:

• Drinking alone and drinking away from their usual social activities
• Lack of self-control and any kind of restraint where alcohol is concerned.
• Problems with existing relationships and difficulty in building new ones
• Erratic behaviour that’s completely out of character
• Decrease in their usual social activities.

Unlike early stage alcoholics, middle stage alcoholics must drink. They can’t do without it in order to function, and they now begin to feel the negative effects that weren’t present in the early stages. They’ll drink to forget the last time they drank, as well as to forget the issues that made them drink in the first place, and if they don’t drink, they will feel dreadful. They need to be drunk to actually feel well at this stage. This is also the point where their organs are starting to suffer damage.

As the alcoholic continues to drink, their cells become more resistant to the effects of having a drink and begin to adapt to it. It takes more to get the alcoholic drunk, though if they drink more than their newly built tolerance, it will happen. If they stop drinking suddenly, their body can experience shock as their cells have now begun to need alcohol in order to function.

It will become far more obvious both to the alcoholic and to other people that they have a problem, and the alcoholic reaches the point where they can’t resist a drink, and if they do try to stop, they suffer with withdrawal symptoms.

Common middle stage alcoholism behaviours:

• Drinking alone and drinking away from their usual social activities
• Lack of self-control and any kind of restraint where alcohol is concerned.
• Problems with existing relationships and difficulty in building new ones
• Erratic behaviour that’s completely out of character
• Decrease in their usual social activities.

Stage 3: Later stage alcoholism

At this point, the alcoholic is only concerned with their drinking. Everything they do revolves around getting their next drink, and managing their drinking to try and prevent other people from knowing how bad it is and trying to stop them.

More severe damage is being done to the body because of the continued heavy drinking, and if the alcoholic wasn’t feeling any consequences from drinking, they very likely are now. There’s the possibility that they may begin to lose friendships and relationships – either on purpose as they choose to spend more time with people who don’t say anything about their drinking, or simply because their focus on alcohol has caused too many problems between them and their close friends and family.

Even at this stage though, it is likely that the alcoholic still considers themselves a ‘functioning alcoholic’ as they can still hold down a job and keep up with most of the people in their lives.

Stage 4: End stage alcoholism

The end stage of alcoholism is the point where the alcoholic has really lost control and the addiction begins to impact every area of their life. The addict is likely completely obsessed with drinking to the point that close relationships are badly affected or even damaged so badly that they may be beyond repair.

Physically, the alcoholic will be highly dependent on alcohol, with frequent blackouts and an inability to sleep unless they have yet another drink. It’s also likely at this stage that the alcoholic will have medical problems, as excess drinking over a long period time can cause cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, hepatitis and respiratory infections. In the most severe cases, an alcoholic may suffer brain damage or heart failure.

Even so, it’s still possible that the addict can keep their job going, but it’s not likely to last for long at this point in part due to any physical symptoms they might suffer, but also because every ounce of their concentration isn’t on their job, but on when they can have their next drink.

No matter what stage you are at, you can be helped and given treatment to remove alcohol from your system and take away your dependence on it. You can begin to recover and return to your previous life without needing to drink.

Just call Serenity Rehab for free advice and we’ll do everything we can to help you.

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