Alcoholism is a condition that causes a number of negative effects on the body and mind. Every year, millions of people struggle with alcoholism and its effects. There are three stages of alcoholism. The final stages of alcoholism are often quite severe. As time goes on and a person continues to drink as the effects begin to worsen. This eventually leads to the end stage of alcoholism. After indulging in such a stressful and dangerous activity, the body and mind can really take a toll. There are also many social consequences that come with continuous drinking. This is why it’s important to get help before this happens.
Waiting opens the door for more dangerous consequences and worse situations. You don’t have to go through it alone either, rehab centers like Coastal Detox are here to help. Alcoholism can take everything away from a person, especially if the person doesn’t seek help in due time. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, don’t wait to get help.
A Closer Look at Alcoholism
Alcoholism (more specifically, alcohol use disorder) occurs when someone has trouble controlling how much they drink. The person may continue to drink even if it’s causing problems in their life. Alcoholism can single-handedly ruin relationships and cause many issues in a person’s job and school work.
Over time a person may continue to increase their intake of alcohol to get its desired effects. This is referred to as building a tolerance to alcohol. With this tolerance build-up comes the intense withdrawal symptoms when a person is not drinking. These symptoms and problems usually only worsen over time, so it’s important to get help before it’s too late.
A person struggling with alcoholism will typically binge drink frequently. Binge drinking occurs when someone drinks multiple drinks in the span of an hour or two. This can cause a multitude of different problems for the person and those around them as well. Over time, the number of drinks will continue to increase as they become more tolerant.
Common Symptoms of Alcoholism
There are several negative health effects and behaviors that are associated with alcoholism. It’s important to be aware of these so you can get help for a loved one or someone you know. Additionally, these symptoms can lead to worse effects like alcohol poisoning and other situations. Common signs and symptoms of alcoholism include the following:
- Intense cravings to drink
- A desire to cut back drinking but not being able to
- Inability to control how much they are drinking (or setting limits)
- Decreased performance at school, work, and home-life
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities they used to enjoy
- Spending too much time drinking and getting alcohol
- Becoming tolerant to alcohol (having to drink more for its effects)
- Drinking and doing risky activities (driving, swimming, etc.)
- Continuing to drink alcohol regardless of its physical and social effects
- Withdrawal symptoms (shaking, nausea, slurred speech, etc.)
Stages of Alcoholism
There are several different stages of alcoholism. The situation typically worsens as time goes on, so it’s important to know these stages and when to get help. The three stages of alcoholism can be bumpy and disheartening for the person and those around them. Eventually, this leads to the end stage of alcoholism.
Early-Stage of Alcoholism
The early stages of alcohol are often in social settings and can involve going out with friends. At this point, there are no threats or any kind of problem with a person’s drinking. After this, a person may begin to drink more, either in the form of binge drinking or drinking to relieve stress. As the person continues to drink they begin to build a tolerance to alcohol. Soon, it takes much more alcohol to feel its effects. This can become problematic very quickly.
If a person is drinking to relieve their stress or to make themselves feel better about something, this can be a clear indicator of early alcoholism. The early stages of alcoholism are predominantly characterized by a person’s increased tolerance. With this comes several other symptoms like blackouts or concerns from the person’s family and friends. At an early stage, help is definitely still an option and worth considering if the problem doesn’t seem to be stopping.
Middle-Stage of Alcoholism
The middle stage of alcoholism is where many of the consequences for frequent drinking begin to pile up. A person may be doing worse at work or school, they may lose interest in hobbies they used to enjoy. It is at this stage where a person officially becomes dependent on alcohol. Dependency occurs when someone needs alcohol in their body to function.
Oftentimes a person may feel the overwhelming withdrawal symptoms which also marks physical dependency on alcohol. At the middle stage of alcoholism, a person will have completely lost control of their drinking. They may feel guilty and hide their drinking from friends and family. Additionally, the withdrawal symptoms will have worsened – more blackouts, losses of memory, etc.. However, even then a person may feel they don’t have a problem, they just drink a lot.
End Stage Alcoholism
End-stage alcoholism is the worst of the three-stage of alcoholism. At this point, the person has completely fallen into the depths of alcohol addiction. A person will most likely experience serious health issues like liver disease, high blood pressure, and severe depression. A person may be entirely consumed by alcohol and drinking no matter what (an obsession). They may avoid all obligations and people just to drink.
Hiding alcohol around the house or in the car is not uncommon for people in the end stage of alcoholism. Financial and legal stresses aren’t uncommon in the final stage either. If a person attempts to stop drinking, they will experience severe withdrawal symptoms like hallucinations and tremors. Quitting without help can be potentially fatal, as a person may experience delirium tremens (DT) – which is even more severe symptoms. After all this, a person may still deny they have a problem.
The Dangers of End-Stage Alcoholism
As seen, the final stages of alcoholism are not only the worst but the most dangerous. Financial ruin, depression, several severe health issues, intense withdrawal symptoms, and denial are all consequences in the final stage. There are many severe health issues and complications that can be potentially fatal as well.
Delirium Tremens (DTs)
As mentioned previously, delirium tremens is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal and occurs in the final stages. It’s a rapid barrage of symptoms that change your mental state, blood circulation, your brain’s reactions, and causes severe confusion. If not properly treated DTs can be fatal. DTs can reduce blood flow to the brain which can cause dangerous side effects like stroke, heart attacks, and death. Get medical help immediately if you sense any signs of DTs.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS) is referred to as alcohol dementia of sorts. This syndrome is very common in the end stage of alcoholism. WKS gets triggered by the lack of vitamin B-1 in the body. This results in dementia-like symptoms. People suffering from WKS will experience leg tremors, vision problems, balance issues, and staggering. They may also experience hallucinations, double vision, and other symptoms.
Liver Disease and Failure
Liver failure is a common consequence in the end stage of alcoholism. This can cause a number of negative issues in the body. Look out for specific symptoms like fluid retention, fatigue, itchy skin, and bleeding. Liver disease is just one of many diseases that may arise after long-time, frequent drinking.
Getting Alcoholism Treatment
If a person’s alcoholism problem is not spotted and treated in a timely manner, there are several dangerous consequences that can arise. It’s important to be aware of potential alcohol use disorder in loved ones or friends. It is never too late to get help and doing nothing can potentially cost a life.
Fortunately, centers like Coastal Detox are here to help you along the way. You shouldn’t have to go through this crippling situation alone. We’ll be by your side every step of the way. There are a number of effective treatment options for alcoholism. With this in mind, it’s best to get help before hitting the end-stages of alcoholism. Treatment options for alcoholism include:
- Detoxification: At Coastal Detox, we specialize in safe and effective detoxification. Detox is a process that purges the body of drugs and alcohol. This process is safely done with medication assistance and experienced staff. Do not try to detox alone.
- Individual Therapy: Alcoholism treatment also involves getting mental treatment. Working towards changing a person’s behavior is a big part of recovery. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy are both widely used options.
- 12-step programs and support groups: 12-step programs like AA are widely used to treat alcoholism. Sharing your story and listening to others in the same situation can be very beneficial for long-term sobriety
Don’t Wait, Get Help Today
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, don’t wait for the final stages of alcoholism to get help. Let Coastal Detox be your guide and the first step towards sobriety. Contact us today to learn more about our detox program and read other addiction resources.