The 3 Stages of Alcoholism

What might seem harmless at first can get worse if it’s not treated. In some cases, alcohol abuse may exacerbate conditions but not cause them. In other cases, alcohol may be a component cause of a condition, and ongoing alcohol use will cause flare-ups.

In this stage, you’re gradually becoming more accustomed to drinking larger amounts of alcohol with little to no effect. You can still function well enough, despite your heavy drinking, and you become more and more focused on getting that next drink. No matter the stage of the disease, if you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, seek professional help to achieve the benefits of quitting alcohol and learn how to live a healthier life. If you or a loved one is living with alcoholic dementia, it can be extremely difficult to cope with—personally and for the family. For those with alcohol use disorder, withdrawal is just the first (but very important) step on a long journey to recovery.

End-Stage Alcoholism: Signs, Symptoms, Management

This article explains the different stages of alcohol misuse and how to find support if a person needs it. The person may now secretly recognize there is a drinking problem, and others may begin to notice as well. Unfortunately, the alcoholic no longer can judge how much alcohol his/her body can handle. Typically, the drinker denies to himself and others that alcohol is a problem so he won’t have to deal with his inner turmoil.

For instance, alcohol abuse can be a component cause of gout and worsen the condition. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2012, an estimated 7.2 percent of American adults aged 18 and older, approximately 17 million people, had a diagnosable alcohol use disorder. Men have alcohol use disorder almost twice as often as women; of the estimated 17 million affected adults, 11.2 million were men and 5.7 million were women.2 Adolescents are not immune. In 2012, an estimated 855,000 young people between years of age had this disorder. You do not necessarily have to drink every day to be an alcoholic, but that also doesn’t mean your drinking habits aren’t a cause for concern.

Some Physical Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Cardiovascular disease
Binge drinking can lead to blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, cardiomyopathy (a potentially deadly condition where the heart muscle weakens and fails) and heart rhythm abnormalities. Once stabilized, the goal is to transition from detox, to treatment, to maintenance (practicing sober living by changing your life), to transcendence—the final step in the path to recovery. Blacking out from drinking too much is a warning sign of this stage, along with lying about drinking, drinking excessively, and thinking obsessively about drinking. The person’s experience is positive, and they don’t perceive their use to be harmful. Close to 88,000 people in the U.S. die from alcohol-related causes every year.

If you are a moderate or binge drinker, you might choose to withdraw from alcohol alone. The important thing is to stay safe in the case of a medical emergency. If you begin to experience severe symptoms, seek emergency help right away. You don’t need to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder in order to choose to withdraw. Ultimately, if you find alcohol is interfering with your health or your personal, financial, or professional life, then it’s time to consider quitting. For most people, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside after 72 hours.

Stages of Alcoholic Dementia Symptoms

Delirium tremens occurs in 2% of people with alcohol use disorder and less than 1% of the general population. Approximately 15 percent of those who relapse regress to the precontemplation stage, and approximately 85 percent return to the contemplation stage before progressing to the preparation and action stages. Most people recovering from addiction will cycle through the stages of change three or four times before completing the cycle without a slip. At the preparation stage, alcoholics have decided to make a change, and they are planning to take meaningful steps toward recovery in the near future.

  • It usually lasts for between two and three days, and it can be fatal.
  • People who drink excessively are also at higher risk of car accidents, falls, drowning and other injuries due to reduced coordination and impaired vision while intoxicated.
  • Chronic inflammation caused by excessive alcohol intake leads to chronic liver injury and impairs tissue repair.
  • Listen to relatives, friends or co-workers when they ask you to examine your drinking habits or to seek help.
  • It’s important to understand the signs of abuse so you can spot when your loved one needs help.
  • The altered balance between NADH and the oxidized form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) results in oxidative stress that also damages host tissue.

Before we dig deeper into the different stages of alcoholism, let’s explore the differences between problem drinking and alcoholism. The affects can range from dementia and intellectual functioning to debilitating conditions that require long-term care, even if a person has been sober for a period of time. 3 stages of alcoholism Because denial is common, you may feel like you don’t have a problem with drinking. You might not recognize how much you drink or how many problems in your life are related to alcohol use. Listen to relatives, friends or co-workers when they ask you to examine your drinking habits or to seek help.

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