Second Stage of Alcoholism: The Middle Stage
When you enter middle stage alcoholism, you need to drink alcohol to prevent unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. If you try to stop drinking for a few days, you may experience the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are some of the most common symptoms. They may be the most severe two to three days after your last alcoholic drink.
- Insomnia: When you read about alcohol withdrawal symptoms, insomnia is inevitably near the top of the list. Alcohol use disorder can interfere with your sleep cycle, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep after you stop drinking alcohol. If you had insomnia before you developed a problem with alcohol addiction, it may get worse when you enter alcohol withdrawal.
- Irritability: Alcohol cravings combined with physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms can make you moody and irritable during the second stage of alcoholism.
- Headaches: Headaches are also among the most common withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking alcohol after drinking heavily for a long time.
During middle stage alcoholism, you’re also at risk for something called delirium tremens (d.t.’s), which occurs when someone with alcohol use disorder stops drinking. Your risk for this condition increases if your alcohol addiction caused you to engage in binge drinking over a period of several months. You also have a higher risk of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms if you’ve ever experienced alcohol withdrawal in the past. Delirium tremens may cause the following signs and symptoms:
- Severe confusion a few days after you quit drinking
- Mood changes
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Changes in your mental function
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, d.t.’s occur because the brain changes that occur when you’re drinking get out of balance when you start to withdraw from alcohol. In some cases, d.t.’s can also cause seizures, usually within 12 to 48 hours after your last drink.
Third Stage of Alcoholism: End Stage Alcoholism
The final stage of alcoholism is known as end stage alcoholism, which can cause several physical and mental health problems. At this point, alcohol has taken over your life. If you don’t drink, you may feel depressed and irritable. During this stage of alcoholism, you may also feel lonely or isolated if you don’t drink alcohol, almost as if alcohol is a friend you’ve been counting on to help you with your problems.
End stage alcoholism increases your risk for several health problems:
- Cancer: This stage of alcoholism increases your risk of liver cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer and cancer of the mouth and throat. The reason alcohol addiction increases your risk of cancer is because it breaks down into a substance that can damage your DNA, causing cells to turn cancerous.
- Hepatitis: Alcohol use disorder can lead to hepatitis, chronic inflammation of the liver that damages the liver cells. Hepatitis caused by an alcohol addiction can lead to nausea, vomiting, reduced appetite, abdominal pain, weight loss, fever and fatigue.
- Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis is one of the most common complications of alcohol addiction. It results in permanent scarring of the liver, which can reduce your liver function.
If you reach this stage of alcoholism, you’ll need a comprehensive addiction treatment program to start recovering. Working with a certified addiction professional can help you identify the factors that trigger your binge drinking and other harmful behaviors, learn how to develop healthy coping skills and withdraw from alcohol safely.
Changing Tides is an addiction treatment center staffed by recovery professionals who have experience working with people at all stages of alcoholism. If you need help recovering from an alcohol addiction, we’re ready to help. Contact our alcohol treatment center in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, today at 252-715-3905.