What is Late Alcoholism?
VIDEO: Late Alcoholism Stage
Some people become addicted to alcohol on their first drink, but for many alcoholism develops over years. A chemical dependency to alcohol is a chronic, progressive disease. We can divide alcohol into three or four stages: Pre-Alcoholism, Early Alcoholism, Middle Alcoholism, and Late Alcoholism. Like with many progressive diseases, the earlier a person identifies alcoholism, the easier it is to treat.
Stage 3: Late Alcoholism
After moving through the previous stages of alcoholism, a person moves into the most dangerous and most difficult to recover from. It is clear during late alcoholism that a person cannot control his or her life. Alcohol has taken over. There is a constant flow of alcohol into the system, leaving the body vulnerable to disease, malnourishment, and organ failure. A person’s mind becomes addled, unable to think through consequences, often at the cost of a job, civil liberties, friends, and family. Because of their drunken actions, an alcoholic experiences depression, guilt, and shame. Acute withdrawal symptoms- shaking, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, and even seizures, accompany any moments of sobriety. The alcoholic turns to the only thing that will make him/her not feel terrible- alcohol.
Returning to the source of the problem does not make sense to most people. The alcoholic’s brain has become so damaged, that turning to alcohol (and often drugs) has become second nature. Periods of sobriety are possible, but many late stage alcoholics return to heavy drinking when stressed. They are stuck in the vicious cycle of addiction. They drink. They get in trouble. They feel guilty and ashamed. They crave relief from emotions. They fall into despair. They drink.
Treating Late Alcoholism
There is a a way out of the cycle. Successfully treating alcoholism, especially late alcoholism, involves more than quitting the bottle. Recovery begins between the craving and the despair- when the alcoholic finds hope for a better life. They see that relief from their emotions does not (and cannot) come from drinking more. The transition from the vicious cycle of addiction to the virtuous circle of recovery is difficult. Treating late alcoholism requires medically supervised detoxification, intense therapy, and focused rehabilitation. Through these activities the alcoholic’s body, mind, and spirit heal, and he or she can begin to repair finances and relationships. Remaining in a recovery community (group meetings, therapy, etc) is essential to long-term success. Within a sober environment, with daily determination, and a strong support system, late stage alcoholics can live a lifetime in the virtuous circle of recovery. They make a positive impact. They feel confident. They see possibilities They make their own decisions. They make a positive impact.
If you think you or your loved on may be an alcoholic, please call Bradford Health Services to set up a free and confidential consultation.