Alcoholism has three stages according to EndStageAlcoholism.net 1. The first two stages represent increasing dependency and addiction. According to the “5-Minute Clinical Consult” textbook, it is estimated that in the United States, 9.6 percent of men and 3.2 percent of women will experience symptoms of alcohol dependence. End stage alcoholism represents the culmination of years of drinking and its effects on the body.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
The end stage alcoholic will suffer from malnutrition. The effects that years of drinking have on the gastric mucosa and the intestinal lining are deleterious, states EndStageAlcoholism.net. Eventually the gastrointestinal system is unable to properly digest and absorb nutrients. In end stage disease, the primary obsession of the alcoholic is to find more alcohol to the exclusion of everything else, including food. Thiamine deficiency, or B1 deficiency, is common in end stage alcoholism as well as folate deficiency, which is secondary to malnutrition. Folate deficiency can cause mouth ulcers, poor growth, diarrhea and a swollen tongue, according to MedlinePlus. Thiamine deficiency can affect the mental acuity of the alcoholic. Malnutrition can severely impair the liver and prevent it from making the necessary chemicals and hormones needed for the body to live, notes EndStageAlcoholism.net.
- The end stage alcoholic will suffer from malnutrition.
- Malnutrition can severely impair the liver and prevent it from making the necessary chemicals and hormones needed for the body to live, notes EndStageAlcoholism.net.
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According to MedlinePlus, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is related to vitamin B1 deficiency 2. Wernicke’s encephalopathy usually occurs first. This vitamin B1 deficiency causes loss of muscle coordination, leg tremors, abnormal eye movements, double vision and eyelid drooping. Wernicke’s damages the lower parts of the brain called the thalamus and hypothalamus. Korsakoff’s psychosis is characterized by loss of memory, making up of stories and hallucinations. Eventually Korsakoff syndrome can lead to coma and death, reports MedlinePlus 2.
Alcoholics frequently suffer from pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas. According to MedlinePlus, 70 percent of the cases of pancreatitis are caused by alcoholism 3. The pancreas produces enzymes used to aid digestion. When inflammation causes the enzymes to be released inside the pancreas instead of being sent to the small intestine, the pancreas literally starts to digest itself. This is a painful and very serious condition. Patients with pancreatitis can go into liver or kidney failure. Many patients with pancreatitis develop acute respiratory distress syndrome and need to be placed on a ventilator 3. The death rate is high in patients with already established liver, kidney or heart failure, explains MedlinePlus.
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Pancreatitis Caused by Vitamin B12 Deficiency
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Four Stages of Alcoholism
- EndStageAlcoholism.net: End Stage Alcoholism Leads to Death
- MedlinePlus: Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
- MedlinePlus: Acute Pancreatitis
- Afghani E, Pandol SJ, Shimosegawa T, et al. Acute pancreatitis-progress and challenges: a report on an international symposium. Pancreas. 2015;44(8):1195-210. doi:10.1097/MPA.0000000000000500
- Yadav D, Lowenfels AB. The epidemiology of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Gastroenterology. 2013;144(6):1252-61. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2013.01.068
- Krishna SG, Kamboj AK, Hart PA, Hinton A, Conwell DL. The changing epidemiology of acute pancreatitis hospitalizations: a decade of trends and the impact of chronic pancreatitis. Pancreas. 2017;46(4):482-488. doi:10.1097/MPA.0000000000000783
- Yoshida S, Okada H, Nakano S, et al. Much caution does no harm! Organophosphate poisoning often causes pancreatitis. J Intensive Care. 2015;3(1):21. doi:10.1186/s40560-015-0088-1
- Afghani E, Pandol SJ, Shimosegawa T. Acute Pancreatitis-Progress and Challenges: A Report on an International Symposium. Pancreas. 2015;44(8):1195–1210. doi:10.1097/MPA.0000000000000500
- Huh JH, Jeon H, Park SM, et al. Diabetes mellitus is associated with mortality in acute pancreatitis. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2018;52(2):178-183. doi:10.1097/MCG.0000000000000783
- Chatila AT, Bilal M, Guturu P. Evaluation and management of acute pancreatitis. World J Clin Cases. 2019;7(9):1006-1020. doi:10.12998/wjcc.v7.i9.1006
- Shah AP, Mourad MM, Bramhall SR. Acute pancreatitis: current perspectives on diagnosis and management. J Inflamm Res. 2018;11:77–85. Published 2018 Mar 9. doi:10.2147/JIR.S135751
- National Pancreas Foundation. Acute pancreatitis causes and symptoms.
- Mandalia A, Wamsteker EJ, DiMagno MJ. Recent advances in understanding and managing acute pancreatitis. F1000Res. 2018;7:F1000 Faculty Rev-959. Published 2018 Jun 28. doi:10.12688/f1000research.14244.2
- Uc A, Andersen DK, Bellin MD. Chronic pancreatitis in the 21st century - research challenges and opportunities: summary of a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases workshop. Pancreas. 2016;45(10):1365–1375. doi:10.1097/MPA.0000000000000713
- National Pancreas Foundation. Chronic pancreatitis causes and symptoms.
- Lew D, Afghani E, Pandol S. Chronic pancreatitis: current status and challenges for prevention and treatment. Dig Dis Sci. 2017;62(7):1702–1712. doi:10.1007/s10620-017-4602-2
Catherine Schaffer has been writing since 1990. Her articles have appeared in many medical journals and textbooks. Schaffer holds a Bachelor of Science from Baylor College of Medicine and a physician assistant certificate. She has written health and nutrition articles for various websites and teaches movement and nutrition to help women overcome chronic diseases and obesity.