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The Stages of Alcoholism

stages of alcoholism

Alcoholism is the kind of condition that nearly everyone might be familiar with but may not know a whole lot about. Regarding popular culture, alcoholism has been a companion to heroes and villains, underdogs and overachievers, the spoiled and the downtrodden. But the reality of alcohol use disorders is far more complicated than the characters rendered on the screen. A good way to understand this reality is to view alcoholism through its stages. The stages of alcoholism characterize the process through which one becomes addicted to alcohol, the toll it takes on the body, and the consequences it inflicts on users’ quality of life. Anyone who has bared witness to someone suffering from alcoholism, or has been through an alcohol addiction program such as AA or the 12 Step Program, knows the harm alcohol can cause to users and their loved ones. That is why it is of the utmost importance to understand the different stages of alcoholism, so that action can be taken before it’s too late.

What Are the Signs of Alcoholism?

The tricky thing about alcoholism is that, depending on the individual, it can be hidden pretty well. The signs of an alcoholic are wide-ranging and can be specific to the individual, but common signs of alcoholism are the following:

  • Drinking in excess or drinking more than previously planned
  • Drinking in excess regularly
  • Being inebriated during inappropriate times, such as at work or while driving
  • Using despite negative impacts on relationships and quality of life
  • Demonstrating an increased tolerance to alcohol
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Craving alcohol at odd times, such as in the mornings
  • Neglecting responsibilities and or failure to fulfill obligations at work, school, home, or in social life
  • Shifts in mood, aggravation, dishonesty, and temper

Beyond the signs of alcoholism that appear in the routine of daily life, their indicators that will appear in the form of deteriorated health:

  • Neglecting personal appearance or hygiene
  • Rapid fluctuations in weight
  • Increased depression and anxiety
  • Impaired motor functions
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Impaired decision making
  • Fluctuations in sleep
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impaired motivation

Now, some could display all the side effects (although they were certainly extreme), but some may display none of these symptoms and therefore be able to hide their addiction quite well. That is why it is not only important to understand the signs of alcoholism but also to understand the stages.

What Are the Stages of Being an Alcoholic

The stages of being an alcoholic describe the linear progression through which someone develops a use disorder. There is no way of telling how long each period will last, nor is there a guarantee that someone will progress from one stage to the next, let alone progress through all of them.

1. Pre-Alcoholic

If alcoholism were a pool, the pre-alcoholic stage would be akin to dipping a toe to test the water. Perhaps someone is experiencing increased stress or anxiety and is searching for momentary relief. At this stage, there are few side effects as those who are using are just beginning to ascertain what, if any, relief alcohol can provide.

2. Early Alcoholic

The early alcoholic stage sees the beginning of the worst that alcohol has to offer. Primarily, this stage is marked by lying, obsessive thinking about drinking, and the occasional blackout.

3. Middle Alcoholic

Consider this stage the middle part of a pool separating the deep from its shallow end. At this point, it becomes clear that there is an issue for users and their loved ones. It is here that physical side effects arise, and alterations in the routine of daily life become apparent.

4. Late Alcoholic

Here, drinking is everything. It takes center stage over work, livelihood, loved ones, and relationships as drinking begin to occupy almost every thought. At this point, stopping becomes incredibly hard as the intensity of withdrawal symptoms increases, tolerance builds, and drinking becomes normalized.

5. Recovery

Recovery marks a point where users must transition from detox to treatment, ending in sobriety.

The stages of being an alcoholic describe a long process through which someone tries to relieve personal stress through alcohol abuse. Luckily, there is room for intervention at each of the first four stages, and help is available throughout and all around the state of Texas.

Finding Help and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs at Vertava Health Texas

At Vertava Health Texas, our staff is trained in dealing with addiction and everything that comes with it. Whether it be detox, treatment, or sober planning, our team wants nothing more than to make getting help as painless a process as possible. To schedule an appointment or for more information on the stages of alcoholism, contact us today at 844.311.8395.