Losing a loved one to addiction or Alcoholism is an experience that will leave you feeling empty.
Alcoholism? The alcoholic has lost their self-control and happiness, all while you watch as they spiral down into darkness.
Alcoholism is a disease of both body and mind, and alcoholics will do almost anything to pursue their addiction. The clinical diagnosis of Alcoholism or addiction is AUD- alcohol Use Disorder is a disease that has to do with alcohol and drug abuse to the extent that it can cause the death of a loved one. But it doesn’t have to!
Alcoholism affects the lives of both the alcoholic and those around them. Alcohol or drug addiction is not only a mental health condition; it also has the power to take lives and ruin family members.
Research has found that Alcoholism has something to do with an imbalance in dopamine levels in the brain’s frontal cortex. This not only affects how you feel physically but also affects your mental state in really negative ways.
Alcoholics are never in charge of their actions when they are drinking, and when they are sober, they are not in control of their actions.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Alcoholism is a significant cause of death in America, causing an average of 261 deaths per day.
As difficult as it can be to see an alcoholic close up, it can be even harder to know that person struggling from afar. You may not understand how much their addiction hurts those around them and themselves and trying desperately to fix something that cannot be restored.
Alcoholism is a health condition caused by excessive and consistent consumption of alcohol. When someone drinks excessive amounts of alcohol or engages in substance abuse, their liver begins to function less effectively. The brain then takes over to help with essential bodily functions. Alcoholism or addiction is a progressive disease that starts as a milder form of drinking and becomes a reasonably severe disease.
The Phases and Stages of Alcoholism
The first signs of Alcoholism can come from friends, coworkers, or even family members who may be exhibiting unusual behavior such as drinking at odd hours or becoming more moody and depressed than usual.
The more the disease debilitates, the more the signs become apparent; there will be more uncontrolled drinking and attempts to conceal it from those closest to the alcoholic.
Conclusion: there are seven stages of Alcoholism: early identification, denial, anger, depression, giving up on sobriety, restoration, and relapse.
Alcoholism is described as having three-phase;
● The early-stage
❖ Over-drinking – Alcoholics often drink more than non-alcoholics do.
❖ Abuse of drugs – Alcohol has a quickness that can lead to a prescription drug or a street drug addiction. They often will drink more alcohol to ease the pain they feel from prescription pills or heroin.
❖ Poor performance at school and work
● The middle-stage
❖ Weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration – Alcoholics often do not eat or will eat very little. This is because the body takes in the alcohol and uses it to replace nourishment in the body. Without any proper nutrients in their body, an alcoholic does not have much strength to endure a long day at school or work.
❖ Denial of the problem – Alcoholics usually deny that they have a problem with over-drinking.
❖ Personality changes – An alcoholic usually will be a more controlled, quiet, and shy person. They have become far more self-limiting because of their drinking.
● The end-stage
❖ Problems with intimate relationships – Alcoholics often have issues with intimacy as a result of drinking. This often leads to conflicts between the couple and difficulties at work or home due to heavy drinking.
❖ Consistent alcohol use – Alcoholics often turn to alcohol to solve problems in the day. This is the hallmark characteristic of an alcoholic; they reach for a drink at times when it is not appropriate.
❖ Experiencing blackouts – Alcoholics will often experience blackouts when they drink too much. As the number of alcohol increases within their bodies, it begins to impair their judgment and memory. They will often forget things that happened while drinking; this is quite common for people who become dependent upon alcohol.
The end-stage Alcoholism is the final stage that leads one to either recovery or loss of a loved one. The mental and physical state of Alcoholism will fluctuate as the disease progresses from its initial stage to its final location.
The progression of Alcoholism is influenced by a number of factors, including gender, genetics, stress, and environment. One of the most significant factors that influence a person’s addiction to alcohol is their response to having a difficult time (tension), according to a study conducted by Kirmse and coworkers, which were reported in the Journal of Addictive Diseases.
Alcoholism is signified by a person’s drinking beginning to control their life. They will drink even when they know it hurts them, even when they know it hurts others. They will continue to drink despite any attempts by their loved ones to persuade them to stop.
This is where things can become incredibly dangerous for someone who may have been struggling with drinking problems. The disease of Alcoholism progresses into addiction, which means that the alcoholic cannot stop drinking no matter how hard they try to quit. Once the disease begins to take hold, it is not uncommon for alcohol abusers to start missing essential obligations in life, which may be an essential wake-up call.
Alcohol addiction is a long-term illness that carries some severe side effects.
Many of those suffering from it will begin to suffer from liver cirrhosis and other severe medical conditions resulting from abusing alcohol over a long period. It is common for alcoholics to die from their drinking, more often than not, by accidents caused by their alcohol abuse.
The Pain of Losing a Loved One to Alcoholism
The first time a family member witnesses their loved one dying from Alcoholism can be terrifying for more reasons than one. Many different emotions can come up when family members are dealing with this tragedy. On some level, even if they were aware of the disease, some people may not know how to react to the news that their loved one has died from Alcoholism.
A lot of people who drink too much also drink in secret. This is dangerous and can also be incredibly hurtful to their loved ones, who don’t understand why they would hide such a thing.
When alcoholics go into hiding with their drinking, they often form a system of denial and secrecy which means for their family and friends to try and confront them and tell them how much they’re hurting themselves can make things even worse.
As a loved one approaches the end of their life due to Alcoholism, there will be changes that occur both mentally and physically. These changes lead to an increased chance of complications which can change the outcome of this situation.
But if the result ends the life of such a loved one, the process of grief is terrible to friends and family members who are left in despair. The period of loss is usually filled with regrets, anger, guilt, etc.
● Denial is the first stage of grief, where the person will refuse to acknowledge that their loved one has a problem with alcohol.
● Anger is the second stage of grief, where the person will start to resent their loved one for their addiction and may make snide remarks or stop speaking to them entirely.
● Depression is the third stage of grief, where they are likely to feel numb, hopeless, and down most of the time.
● Bargaining is the fourth stage of grief, where the person will start to bargain with themselves and others that if they do this or say this, their loved one will stop drinking.
● Acceptance is the fifth and final stage of grief. Here, the person will slowly accept that their loved one is an alcoholic, and they can do nothing about it. It’s not uncommon for a person to go back and forth between various stages before reaching acceptance.
It doesn’t have to end in death. If you or a loved one has been affected by Alcoholism, it’s crucial to know that help is available. Alcoholism is not just something that affects the individual addicted to alcohol; it also affects everyone around them.
Life can be difficult at times, but most people can overcome addiction and live life fully again with time and perseverance. There will be days when you feel like everything is hopeless, but remember that time heals all wounds. It’s important to remember that life is a gift and that there is a lot of happiness to be found in living.
Alcoholism is a tricky thing to face, but it does not have to be the end of your life—if you have support from friends and family, you can get through this.