They are in the final of the alcoholism stages. End stage alcoholism.
At this point, the individual has two possible choices. One would be to stop drinking and work towards a healthier life style. The other option would be to make no changes, and die from the damage that drinking is causing.
For individuals who do not struggle with addiction, this seems like an easy choice. For someone struggling with an alcohol addiction, this may not be as simple. They may be struggling with denial. For these individuals, they are unable to recognize the negative impact that drinking has had on their life, while others find that the negative impacts are quite obvious. Effects could be seen within relationships, finances, job security and behaviors.
For many, needing to experience “rock bottom” can be a turning point in their addiction where they begin to recognize that abstaining from alcohol use would be a wise decision. It is at this point that an alcoholic is more open to options such as addiction treatment and Alcoholics Anonymous.
The time it takes to progress from one phase to the next varies from one individual to the other. Generally, it takes 15 years to go from early to end stage alcoholism.
It is important to note that these stages do not occur separately, they overlap and combine.
The first signs of alcoholism become apparent at this stage.
Drinking is no longer social.
The individual drinks as a way to deal with their emotional problems or to make themselves feel better.
As they drink more so their tolerance increases and they can drink lots more than their 'normal' drinking friends.
Many at this alcoholism stage are able to drink a lot and not appear drunk at all.
Often those in the first stage do not get hangovers.
Physically there are no outward problems- at least not for now.
The individual is usually not aware that they have a problem at this stage- they are in alcoholic denial.
In this stage of alcoholism the person starts to act and seem more like the stereotypical drunk.
They now lose control of their drinking. Starting earlier in the day and drinking alone become normal.
Their drinking companions, if there are any, are fellow alcohol abusers.
There is no longer any joy in drinking only pain and misery. Feelings that the alcoholic manages by drinking more. A vicious circle.
It is a terrible state to be in.
The craving becomes more intense and practically impossible to control. Part of the reason for this is that the individual's body has become so attuned to drink that it can't manage without it.
If the body can't get alcohol it reacts alcohol withdrawals result in the addict suffering from intense anxiety, sweating, shaking, hallucinating and a whole lot more. There is no respite except for a drink.
Alcoholic blackouts also occur. Large periods of time pass which the individual can't remember. The brain, riddled with alcohol, fails to record experiences. Anything and everything can occur during these periods- there are stories of people taking cross country road trips, having business meetings etc. and not recalling anything.
Alcohol related health problem also begin appear at this stage of alcoholism. Alcoholic gastritis, bad hangovers etc. become more common.
Whereas in the adaptive stage the individual managed to perform in his job and maintain relationships, now it all begins to unravel. They get into trouble at work and at home.
The alcoholic is now on the edge of a precipice, if they don't get help soon they will fall and things will get a whole lot worse.
It is called end stage alcoholism because it is the end. Either the end of the life of the person or the end of their drinking days.
If they do not stop drinking soon they will die. It's as simple as that.
The final stages of alcoholism are not pretty.
For the sufferer and those living with the alcoholic or witnessing his or her decline.
In the end stage alcoholism, the individual's body has been poisoned to such an extent that it is suffering. There are many physical problems that can appear at this stage such as heart disease, fatty liver, cirrhosis of the liver, alcoholic hepatitis, pancreatitis, malnutrition, brain damage and so on.
All of these are SERIOUS, if not life-threatening conditions.
Vitamin deficiency, particularly in B-1, can also cause many other problems
Not only are there physical problems but mental too. The individual will, at this stage, be suffering from delusions, is mentally confused and perhaps psychotic. In short, very unwell.
Relationships have, in most cases been irreparably damaged. Jobs have been lost. Drinking is now the sole focus of the individual- nothing else matters. All other needs are ignored- food, shelter, warmth, water etc.
Astonishingly, many people at this stage are still in denial about their condition. They still blame everything for their problems except alcohol.
Continual loss of control. Loss of control over drinking is a common characteristic among alcoholics. Many surrender to this and stop trying to fight it. At this point, alcohol has become the focus of their life and everything else falls to the back burner. Legal troubles may be present as well, at this end stage alcoholism.
It would be unusual for the chronic alcoholic to display all these characteristics. Some of these characteristics can be observed earlier than others. For example, someone may experience trouble with law enforcement in the beginning of their addiction compared to the tail end of it, or their personal relationships can begin to collapse early.
However, if three or more are evident then it is very likely that they are in the end stage alcoholism.
Without wanting to sound like a pessimist, the odds are against anybody trying to get through to a chronic alcoholic are pretty low. However, try not to let that deter you. There is never a point in addiction where it is “too late” to get sober. No matter how late it may be, a person can choose to stop drinking which may stop the adverse effects from progressing further than they already have.
To have got to this stage a person will have generally rejected many offers of help and probably been through alcoholism treatment at least once. They will be so consumed by drink and all the resentment and guilt that comes with it.
There are a few different levels of treatment that they could have tried already. This includes:
It is important to remember that if the individual does not want help then there is NOTHING that can be done. The individual needs to want to be in alcoholism treatment for the intervention to be effective.
It is essential you don’t blame yourself if an offer of help is rejected by someone in end stage alcoholism. This tells you more about where the person is in their addiction than anything else.