Stages of Alcoholism
With a suspected one in eight adults suffering from some form of alcohol use disorder (AUD), alcoholism is the most common form of addiction in the U.S. by far. In fact, it’s almost certain that either you or someone you know will experience the illness. Whether it’s through professional alcohol rehab or another method, overcoming the addiction is essential for a healthy and happy future.
Equipping yourself with a deeper understanding of alcoholism and its various stages will give you the best chance of identifying and treating an alcohol use disorder before it’s too late. Here’s everything you should know about the condition and how to seek alcohol rehab with Peaks Recovery.
What Is Alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is the most severe form of alcohol abuse. It is simply defined as an illness where the user cannot control their drinking. For many abusers, this means continuing to drink despite wanting to stay clean or knowing that the issue is affecting their health, relationships, and general life. Alcoholism can be broken into three stages: mild, moderate, and severe.
Most people have a preconceived vision of what an alcohol looks like. However, the vast majority of alcoholics do not fit the stereotype of being drunk and out. On the contrary, most people are very good at hiding AUD’s from friends, family, and even themselves. And while many people think they are invulnerable, the stats say different:
- As per the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 85% of adults drink alcohol.
- Over 14.5 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder, including 9 million men and 5.5 million women.
- Half of all alcohol consumed in this country is consumed by just 10% of drinkers.
- At least one in five problem drinkers comes from a normal or affluent background and is not financially troubled.
- With nearly 100,000 lives lost each year, alcoholism is the third-most preventable cause of death.
In short, alcoholism can affect any drinker regardless of their age, gender, or financial background. Likewise, many are able to hold down their jobs and manage their daily lives despite alcohol dependence. Eventually, though, the negative impacts will surface.
The Four Stages Of Alcoholism
Alcoholism causes an array of short-term side effects that can become long-term health problems if a treatment like alcohol rehab is not found. Early intervention is the best way to prevent this from happening. There are four main stages to be aware of. They are listed below:
The first stage of developing an alcohol use disorder is quite hard for other people to notice. For the most part, it is very similar to casual and social drinking. However, slowly but surely, the drinker begins turning to alcohol to reduce stress. In many cases, this manifests as drinking at home alone.
Even when it starts out as just drinking once per week, it can quickly turn into a more frequent occurrence. This can result in the weekly drink limits (14 for men, 7 for women) being surpassed on a regular basis. Drinking to reduce physical pain is another sign of pre-alcoholic stage issues.
For many people, blacking out from alcohol consumption signals the transition into early-stage alcoholism. It is a time where you will begin to lie to yourself and loved ones about drinking habits. Even if you do not feel completely unable to resist alcohol, the temptation is regularly there.
Regular signs of early-stage alcoholism include drinking more frequently, especially in non-social settings, as well as hiding drinks, drinking in private, or topping up regular coffees and sodas with alcohol. You may also start drinking on days when you have told yourself that alcohol isn’t needed.
Middle Alcoholic Phase
The middle alcoholic phase is where alcoholism becomes more noticeable, particularly for friends and family. You may start missing social occasions, withdrawing yourself from situations that don’t include drinking or missing work. Physical changes to your weight and complexion are likely to be coupled with personality changes.
For example, irritability with loved ones becomes very common. Alcoholism contributes to over 200 diseases, and the symptoms of those conditions can begin to surface too. At this stage, drinking may be a daily feature while many people will have tried and failed to get sober – even with pressure from loved ones.
End-stage alcohol use disorders are the situations that most people associate with alcoholism. At this stage, drinking is a dependence. Abusers will drink every day, throughout the day, and struggle to function without alcohol. At this phase, alcohol rehab and interventions are necessary.
The physical and emotional side effects are telling at this stage. Meanwhile, the alcohol rehab process is likely to include a detoxification period in which withdrawal symptoms are felt. Once alcohol dependence has reached this stage, it’s already a dangerous situation. If left any longer, though, the addiction could prove fatal.
Getting Help With Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol use disorders are a form of drug addiction and need treating as soon as they are identified. If you’re worried about your drinking habit or a loved one’s potentially damaging relationship with alcohol, now is the time to regain control of the situation.
Contact Peaks Recovery to discover your options today!