Untreated alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a terminal disease comprised of four stages—the fourth being the final stage of alcoholism. More than 75,000 Americans die annually from alcohol-related deaths.
There are many ways the final stage of alcoholism can kill. There is always hope, though. Of course, the sooner a person enrolls in an alcohol addiction treatment program, the easier the disease and its many complications are to treat. Contact Ashwood Recovery at 208.274.8609 to learn more about end-stage alcoholism and how to seek treatment.
The Four Stages of Alcoholism
Knowing what stage of alcoholism you or a loved one is in can allow you to gauge the level of treatment that might be necessary to ensure a proper and healthy recovery. Following is a brief description of each:
- Stage 1 – This is typically referred to as the experimental stage. Here, people will use a substance such as alcohol for the first few times out of curiosity or due to other factors such as peer pressure or a rite of passage.
- Stage 2 – Referred to as the social stage. In this stage, someone will likely use it in a social situation or for acceptance in a particular context.
- Stage 3 – Typically referred to as the instrumental stage. In this stage, undeniable substance abuse appears. Many prevailing examples of it shine through, such as drinking to numb emotions, cope with daily challenges, or for any specific purpose.
- Stage 4 – The compulsive stage is the stage of full-blown addiction. Here, a person’s main preoccupation is using the substance, and they will do anything to get it. Health begins to degrade.
Alcoholics develop a severe physical dependency on the drug and psychological dependence, making them particularly hard to treat. This also comes with a host of symptoms unique to the alcoholic in the late stage of alcoholism.
Health Consequences of the Final Stage of Alcoholism
End-stage alcoholism carries defining physical markers and symptoms. Though it is not irreversible, it is tough to treat and has a high mortality rate.
One of the primary physical symptoms of the final stage of alcoholism is that the alcoholic is chronically drunk. If the person is not intoxicated, they are likely in a withdrawal state.
The heart is being damaged by alcohol while the alcoholic is still drinking. If the alcoholic happens to stop drinking for any extended period, the autonomic nervous system causes the person’s heart rate to skyrocket. Since the heart is already likely in poor condition, there is a significantly increased chance of a myocardial infarction or heart attack.
Alcoholic Liver Disease
Alcoholic liver disease often leads to hepatitis or cirrhosis, a scarring of liver tissues. The liver cannot heal cirrhosis. Many end-stage alcoholics die from liver disease.
Also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, wet brain is a neurological condition found in end-stage alcoholics. Alcoholic wet brain is not curable or reversible. However, if a physician catches the condition in time for treatment, the progression of the disease can be slowed or possibly stopped. This is only if the patient can manage to quit drinking.
Can End-Stage Alcoholism Be Treated?
Once a patient has been diagnosed with any comorbidities that occur with end-stage alcoholism, life expectancy can be as short as six months. The reality is that most people who reach end-stage alcoholism do not recover. At that point, people may find it difficult to stop drinking. The best way to learn more is to get an assessment from a quality alcohol rehab program.
However, even if the alcoholic has passed the point of no return and will die from their alcoholism, stopping can still have benefits—such as prolonging the patient’s life. If you or someone you know suffers from anger and alcoholism, don’t let it get to this point.