Frequent, uncontrolled alcohol abuse eventually leads to problem drinking. While any form of alcohol abuse is problematic, the term “problem drinker” refers to someone who starts experiencing the impacts of their habit. The first stage of alcoholism is a general experimentation with alcohol.
What are the stages of alcoholism?
If you or your loved ones need help to identify the signs of problem drinking, four stages of alcoholism have been identified: pre-alcoholic, early alcoholic, chronic alcoholic, and end-stage alcoholism.
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Stage Three – Physical and Mental Decline
The earliest stage of alcoholism often begins with an increased pattern of drinking. This can mean drinking more frequently, as well as drinking larger quantities of alcohol. Binge drinking, which involves having multiple drinks within a small window, is a common initial sign of a drinking problem. Each stage has its own signs and symptoms to look out for; both mild to severe. Every person’s struggle with alcoholism is unique, and the path leading up to severe alcoholism looks different for each person.
Moderate drinking is the only safe way to consume alcohol, but drinking in general isn’t safe for everyone. People with alcohol addiction physically crave the substance and are often inconsolable until they start drinking again. Alcohol addiction is characterized by a physical and psychological need to drink.
Additional Models of Alcoholism
They may or may not be using alcohol as a conscious coping mechanism; however, substance use becomes more normalized in their life. Warning signs may include feeling a need to drink at social events or drinking as a way to relieve symptoms of stress or anxiety. Problematic drinking follows a common trajectory through stages of worsened drinking patterns. To understand how alcoholism works, it’s important for people to be aware of the stages of alcoholism. Once someone is abusing alcohol to cope with their emotions, they are in the beginning stages of psychological dependency. This means that they are becoming dependent on alcohol to solve their emotional, social, and behavioral issues.
If you notice they continue drinking heavily and blacking out, you have a right to be concerned. Keep an eye on their drinking behaviors to see whether they progress further. Even if they never progress past this stage, regular binge drinking is not a healthy way to consume alcohol. It’s often difficult to determine whether someone is in the pre-alcoholic stage. Their drinking hasn’t veered far from regular social drinking.
The early stage of alcohol addiction is characterized by noticeable lifestyle changes. They pick fights with family and friends and choose to drink despite negative consequences. In addition, people suffering from alcohol dependence acquire tolerance. As a result, the individual stages of alcoholism will have to consume a larger quantity of alcohol to experience the desired effect. Similarly, when a person increases their alcohol intake, they also increase the risk of damage to their body. Also, one of the main characteristics of alcohol dependence is withdrawal.