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Late Stage Alcoholism

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It is generally agreed that there are four alcoholism stages. Late stage alcoholism usually means the fourth and final stage of alcoholism.

This fourth or late stage of alcoholism is characterized by a chronic loss of control. Stated differently, in the earlier stages of alcohol dependency, the alcoholic had a choice whether he or she would take the first drink.

In the last or late stage of alcoholism, however, an alcoholic no longer has a choice: he or she must drink in order to function on a daily basis.

Late Stage of Alcoholism: Employment and Control

In the earlier alcoholism stages, the person may have been relatively successful in maintaining regular employment.

Now, however, drinking typically starts earlier in the day and usually continues throughout the day.

It should come as no surprise that very few, if any, full-time employment positions can be maintained once a person has reached this unfortunate set of circumstances.

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In the earlier alcoholism stages, the alcoholic had a choice whether he or she would take the first drink.

Once the alcoholic had the first drink, however, he or she generally lost all control and would then continue drinking. In the late stage of alcoholism, however, alcoholics no longer have a choice.

More precisely, in the late and final stage of alcoholism, unfortunately, alcoholics must drink in order to function.

Benders: Late Stage Alcoholism Flights Into Oblivion

During the late stage of alcoholism, unlike earlier alcoholism stages, benders are common. That is, in this stage, the alcoholic gets helplessly drunk and might remain in this condition for days at a time.

The unattainable goal for the alcoholic at this time is to re-discover the feeling of euphoria they once experienced.

In this stage, the alcoholic typically manifests an utter disregard for everything, including family, relationships, food, shelter, and employment.

Paradoxically, these occasional flights into oblivion are best described as drinking to get away from the problems caused by drinking.

In the second or third stages of alcoholism the alcoholic's hands may have trembled slightly on mornings after getting drunk.

In the final and late stage of alcoholism, however, alcoholics get "the shakes" whenever they attempt or are forced to refrain from drinking. These tremors are warning signals of a severe nervous disorder that now affects the entire body of the alcoholic.

Delirium Tremens

When "the shakes" are combined with hallucinations, the result is known as "the DTs" or delirium tremens, a potentially fatal form of alcohol withdrawal if the alcoholic does not receive immediate medical intervention. After an attack of the DTs, many alcoholics promise to never drink again.

Regrettably, most of them do not and can not fulfill their promise, and so they eventually return to drinking, and the process starts all over again. The DTs, unlike the case with earlier alcoholism stages, are usually manifested during the last or late stage of alcoholism.

The Need For an Easily Accessible Supply of Alcohol

In the fourth and late stage of alcoholism, having an easily accessible supply of alcohol close at hand (to avoid "the shakes") becomes the most meaningful goal in the life of the alcoholic.

During this stage, when contrasted with the first or second alcoholism stages, the alcoholic will do almost anything to get the alcohol he or she requires.

Once the alcohol is secured, alcoholics will usually hide their bottles so that they can get a drink whenever they need it, which typically means any hour of the day or the night.

Late Stage Alcoholism: Key Symptoms

When a person reaches the fourth and late stage of alcohol addiction, he or she is in the phase that is also known as "chronic alcoholism." The following represents some of the key symptoms of the fourth and late stage of alcoholism:

  • Indefinable fears

  • Unreasonable resentments and hostility toward others

  • Auditory and visual hallucinations

  • Persistent remorse

  • The possibility of alcoholic psychosis

  • "The shakes"

  • The "DTs"

  • Devaluation of personal relationships

  • Loss of tolerance for alcohol

  • The realization of being out of control

  • Impaired thinking

  • Nameless fears and anxieties such as feelings of impending doom or destruction

  • Vague spiritual desires

  • The collapse of the alibi system

  • Continual loss of control

  • Moral deterioration

  • Benders, or lengthy intoxications

  • Obsession with drinking

Conclusion: Late Stage Alcoholism

Alcoholism - Late Stage. It is commonly agreed upon that there are a number of alcoholism stages. In line with this logic, the fourth and late stage of alcoholism is typified by an almost total loss of control concerning the alcoholic's drinking behavior.

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For instance, in the earlier alcoholism stages, the individual may have been successful in maintaining employment. Now, however, drinking starts earlier in the day and usually continues throughout the day. As a result, few, if any, full-time jobs can be maintained once a person has reached this last stage of alcoholism.

Moreover, in the earlier alcoholism stages, the alcoholic had a choice whether he or she would take the first drink. Once the individual had the first drink, he or she usually lost all control and would then continue drinking.

In the late stage of alcoholism, however, an alcoholic no longer has a choice: due to the fear of going through alcohol withdrawal symptoms, he or she must drink in order to make it through the day.

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