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    Stages of Alcoholism: Breaking Down the 5 Stages & Warning Signs to Look For

    Even if certain chronic conditions cannot be reversed, abstinence can help to better manage them. Achieving sobriety is always a win for a person’s health and wellbeing whether treatment occurs in the early, middle, or end stage. With so many effects on the body, the usual first step in treating alcoholism is detox—or getting alcohol out of your system. Depending on the severity of the alcohol use disorder, this stage can be mildly annoying or severe.

    • Many alcoholics are still able to hold down a job at this stage but not for long.
    • As alcoholism progresses, the cells in the body become more and more resistant to the short-term effects of alcohol.
    • Medical treatment may be necessary to detoxify the body of alcohol and to obtain a fresh start.
    • Drinking at this point isn’t about feeling good — it’s about not feeling bad and avoiding the uncomfortable sensations that accompany acute withdrawal.

    They may struggle to go more than a day or two without alcohol, or they may go several days to weeks without alcohol and then binge drink. There is a common misconception that developing an addiction to alcohol is something that happens quickly. This means that people who struggle with an addiction to alcohol often go through ups and downs when it comes to using. In fact, one of the stages of alcoholism includes making attempts at recovery without being able to see them through. Alcohol misuse has negative consequences at every stage and severity. Even people considered to be early alcoholics or those diagnosed with mild alcohol use disorder are at risk of adverse health effects.

    Diagnosis and Treatment

    To others, the person may not look like they have a problem with alcohol. They may appear normal to those around them, other than the perception that they are drinking more. 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. For instance, alcohol abuse can be a component cause of gout and worsen the condition.

    • Many may benefit from support groups if they seek help during this stage.
    • The goal of outpatient treatment is to provide therapy, education, and support in a flexible environment.
    • Alcohol withdrawal occurs when a person becomes sober from alcohol after a long period of drinking.
    • The body can become distressed even when a person stops drinking for a short time.

    Once it takes hold, it can be hard to shake loose—without the right help. Drinking large amounts of alcohol at one time is dangerous, and can even lead to coma or death. Furthermore, you may become dependent on the feeling you get from drinking and find that these episodes increase in frequency.

    The 3 Stages of Alcoholism

    Moreover, 50% of sex crimes reported in the US involve one or both parties drinking. Here’s how to recognize the alcoholism stages and prevent the risks of alcohol use. In a comprehensive treatment program for alcoholism, you’ll gain coping skills to effectively stop drinking, be prescribed medications to manage AUD if needed, and build a healthier life in recovery. Daily drinking can have serious consequences for a person’s health, both in the short- and long-term. Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention.

    5 stages of alcoholism

    For those who need help and don’t want it, intervention may be the only alternative. As individuals continue to drink alcohol over time, progressive changes may occur in the structure and function of their brains. These changes can compromise brain function and drive the transition from controlled, occasional use to chronic misuse, which can be difficult to control. The changes can endure long after a person stops consuming alcohol, and can contribute to relapse in drinking. Individuals in early stage addiction do not usually exhibit overt signs or experience serious negative repercussions related to their drinking.

    Stage 5 – End Stage

    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. Immune system
    Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than moderate drinkers.

    • One may feel ashamed about having to answer questions about their use of alcohol and isolate him- or herself.
    • As the stage progresses, the disease takes hold and develops into middle-stage alcoholism.
    • Binge drinking is characterized as having five or more drinks in two hours for men and four or more drinks in two hours for women.
    • Alcohol abuse can have harrowing and hazardous side effects at every phase; however, each stage of alcohol abuse is treatable.
    • For those who need help right away, WebMD Connect to Care specialists are standing by to get you started on the road to recovery today.

    Medically-supervised detox will be required in almost all cases. In this stage, people aren’t familiar with different types of alcohol, as a rule, so they tend to try different kinds of alcohol in different quantities out. The early stages of alcoholism are typically 5 stages of alcoholism defined by the aim of drinking just to get drunk. Alcohol is used to self-medicate and escape negative feelings and thoughts. People in the first of the stages of alcoholism don’t drink every day, and they are still able to carry out daily activities.

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