End-Stage Alcoholism: What You Should Know

One of the most common substance use disorders is alcohol use disorder. People typically develop alcoholism, or an alcohol use disorder, after frequently abusing the use of alcohol for an extended period. Although one can receive detox and attend rehab to treat his or her alcohol use disorder, many other health conditions chronically abusing alcohol can cause a person to develop, and thus, must be treated. This is especially true when it comes to end stage alcoholism.

At Immersive Recovery in Encinitas, California, our addiction treatment center can help you or a loved one struggling with alcoholism recover.

What is End Stage Alcoholism?

End-stage alcoholism is the final and most severe stage of an alcohol use disorder. As a result, suffering from end stage alcoholism is extremely hazardous to one’s health. Typically, people who are in the end stage of alcoholism have already chronically abused alcohol for several years and have developed several physical and mental health conditions as a result of their alcohol abuse. For many people in the end stage of an alcohol use disorder, their physical organs have even begun to shut down.

What is an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

An alcohol use disorder is chronic abuse of alcohol that causes a person to develop intense cravings for the substance. People who suffer from alcohol use disorders are often willing to do almost anything to obtain more alcohol to drink, even if it means ruining other aspects of their lives.

Alcohol use disorder is also characterized by chemical changes in the brain due to alcohol abuse, along with the experience of withdrawal symptoms when not drinking large amounts of alcohol.

Symptoms of an Alcohol Use Disorder

According to the DSM-5, otherwise known as the 5th edition of the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, people who suffer from alcohol use disorders may experience a combination of some of the 11 bulleted behavioral signs and symptoms below:

  • Drinking more or longer than intended at times
  • Tried to cut down on drinking or even stop drinking but couldn’t
  • Most of the time is spent drinking or being sick from drinking
  • Often want to drink so badly that you can’t think of anything else
  • You continue to drive through that you discovered that drinking or being sick from drinking has gotten in the way of you taking care of your family or has caused you problems at school or you continue to drink even though it has caused problems in your relationships with others
  • Have cut out other activities of your life that you once enjoyed to make more time for drinking
  • Put your life or health in danger more than once by doing things like driving while drinking, swimming while drinking, having unsafe sex while drinking, etc.
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing you health issues, causing you to blackout, or causing you to become depressed or anxious
  • Continuously having to increase the amount that you drink to feel its effects due to increased tolerance of the substance
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, sweating, nausea, racing heart, restlessness, seizures, etc. when the effects of your alcohol drinking wear off

What Are the Stages of Alcoholism?

end stage alcoholism

There are three main stages of alcoholism: early-stage alcoholism, chronic alcoholism, and end stage alcoholism. More details on the three stages of alcoholism are given below.

Early Stage Alcoholism

In the early stage of alcoholism, people are typically just abusing alcohol in social settings or occasionally binge drinking alcohol. People in the early stage of alcoholism have a mild version of the disorder, and thus, only experience two or three of the DSM-5 symptoms of alcohol use disorders that were mentioned earlier in this article. Typically, people in the early stage of alcoholism still have a handle on their alcohol use.

Most individuals in the early stage of alcoholism are teens and young adults who just started drinking and like to abuse alcohol while partying.  While the symptoms of early-stage alcoholism are mild, continued abuse of the substance at a higher frequency can cause a person in stage alcoholism to enter the chronic stage of alcoholism. 

People who suffer from chronic alcoholism, otherwise known as the middle stage of alcoholism, abuse alcohol at a high frequency. Individuals who suffer from chronic alcoholism also often abuse alcohol to manage their withdrawal symptoms or some other form of physical or mental anguish that they are in.

In other words, people who suffer from chronic alcoholism have lost control of their alcohol intake. As a result, chronic alcoholism interferes with people’s abilities to function and manage their relationships and daily life responsibilities.

Chronic alcoholism is a moderate-level condition. As a result, people who suffer from chronic

End-stage alcoholism is a severe form of alcohol use disorder. This is because people who suffer from end stage alcoholism experience six or more of the DSM-5 symptoms of alcohol use disorders.

Because of the severe level of alcohol abuse that occurs during end-stage alcoholism, people in this stage of an alcohol use disorder often experience serious health issues. For example, it’s not uncommon for individuals with end stage alcoholism to develop heart damage or disease and liver damage or disease.

It’s also not uncommon for individuals in the end stage of alcoholism to suffer from mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Because of the severity of end-stage alcoholism and its symptoms and effects, people in this stage of an alcohol use disorder must receive medical help, detox, and addiction treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of End-stage Alcoholism

While end-stage alcoholism can be characterized by suffering from six or more symptoms in the DSM-5 for alcohol use disorders, many people in this stage of an alcohol use disorder also suffer from the following signs and symptoms:

  • Malnutrition
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Liver Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Nerve Damage
  • Alcohol Hepatitis
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Emphysema
  • Tuberculosis
  • Cancer
  • Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders
  • Pneumonia
  • Heart Failure
  • Jaundice
  • Liver Failure
  • Itchy Skin
  • Fluid Retention
  • Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Anemia
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome or Alcohol Dementia
  • Blackouts and Memory Loss
  • Poor Human Relationships
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

End Stage Alcoholism Detox

While it’s difficult to treat end stage alcoholism, it is possible. Oftentimes, the first step to treating end stage alcoholism is attending a medically supervised alcohol detox program. In a medically supervised detox program, individuals will slowly stop using alcohol while being supervised by medical professionals.

Because of how severe end-stage alcoholism is, individuals with this form of alcohol use disorder who are detoxing will experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Thus, the medical professionals who supervise detox programs will prescribe such patients medication to help them manage their withdrawal symptoms.

End Stage Alcoholism Treatment

Once a person who suffers from end-stage alcoholism safely completes medical detox, he or she should then attend either an inpatient form of treatment, partial hospitalization program (PHP) treatment, or intensive outpatient program (IOP) treatment. Inpatient treatment is the most intensive form of rehab. Thus, inpatient treatment will likely effectively treat end stage alcoholism. Because PHP and IOP treatment programs are the two most intensive forms of outpatient rehab treatment, they may also be effective at treating end-stage alcoholism.

While in treatment for alcoholism, rehab patients will receive different forms of behavioral therapy. Oftentimes, individuals in rehab for alcoholism will receive various forms of addiction and mental therapy. Common forms of behavioral therapy for alcohol addiction treatment include cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and rational emotive behavior therapy.

Once an individual who suffers from end-stage alcoholism completes his or her alcohol addiction treatment program, he or she should continue to attend aftercare support group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). That way, relapsing is less likely to occur.

Individuals in recovery from end-stage alcoholism should also seek out medical care from their primary care physicians and any specialists that their primary care physicians send them to. That way, individuals in recovery from end-stage alcoholism can treat any physical health conditions that they have as a result of their alcohol abuse.

Treat End Stage Alcoholism at Immersive Recovery

women experiencing end-stage alcoholism

Immersive Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehab center located in the San Diego and Encinitas, California area. On top of specializing in drug and alcohol addiction treatment, Immersive Recovery also offers dual diagnosis treatment for patients who suffer from both substance addiction and mental health issues.

What makes Immersive Recovery unique is the fact that it specializes in men’s recovery. That means that men can receive the drug and alcohol addiction treatment that they need at our recovery center without the distraction of women nearby.

Immersive Recovery provides unparalleled care for rehab patients. Immersive Recovery patients even have the option of staying in our facility’s sober living homes while receiving care. If a patient chooses to stay in one of our sober living homes, he will be guided through a process that keeps him engaged and immersed in a lifestyle of recovery, growth, and success throughout each stage of his treatment program.

So, what are you waiting for? If you are a male in need of alcohol or drug addiction treatment, attend rehab at Immersive Recovery. To learn more about Immersive Recovery and how to start a rehab program at our facility, contact us today. Our staff is more than willing to answer any questions that you may have.