Alcohol is one of the most abused drugs in the world. Moderate and responsible alcohol drinking is not a problem. However, it starts becoming a concern when consumption gets out of control. If your consumption of alcohol is not controlled, you may find yourself on a dangerous path of addiction and alcohol use disorders. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that 17 million Americans have alcohol use disorders. Alcoholism is a disease that progresses in stages over many months and years. The challenge is that most alcohol users fail to realize how the stages progress. It is essential to note these stages to prevent the serious effects of alcoholism. For your convenience, here are the stages of alcoholism.
At the pre-alcoholic stage, drinking is mainly experimental and social. In this case, the user is new to different types of alcohol and is trying to test their limits. A pre-alcoholic can go for days sometimes weeks without drinking. At this stage, they do not seek to drink to the point where they lose control. The pre-alcoholic stage mostly applies to young adults, because they mostly engage in social drinking.
During this stage, users also engage in binge drinking. In this case, they consume large amounts of alcohols at a time. The rate of binge drinking for men is taking more than five alcoholic drinks within two hours. For women, it is more than four alcoholic in two hours.
If you are wondering whether you fall into this category, ask yourself whether you drink because it makes you feel better or whether you drink because people around you are drinking and it is socially appropriate. Some pre-alcoholics also drink because it makes them forget bad memories or relieves physical pain. Watch out for these signs and seek professional attention before it gets any worse.
When a person experiences their first blackout that is when they know they are in the early alcoholic stage. At this point, they have a higher tolerance for alcohol, and they can drink to the point of oblivion. The user may also make poor decisions due to alcohol consumption. The negative effects of using alcohol also become apparent. A good example is driving under the influence, which may lead to serious accidents.
The rate of drinking increases from moderate to regular. In the early alcoholic stage, the user drinks to alleviate stress, to deal with sadness or loneliness, out of boredom, or as an excuse to meet up with friends. Some users might also get obsessed with the thought of drinking to the extent of spiking coffee or soda with alcohol.
Do you drink to the point of blacking out? Does drinking make you feel better? Do you always drink whether you are sad or happy? If the answer is yes to these questions, then it means you are at the early alcoholic stage. You need to seek assistance from a qualified medical practitioner to prevent alcohol consumption to a more serious stage.
In the middle alcoholic stage, the effects of alcoholism become more serious compared to the early stage. The symptoms of alcoholism also become real to your friends and family. During this stage, the user starts drinking at inappropriate times of the day. People in this stage may start missing work or neglecting their social obligations. The user could also engage in alcohol-induced fights.
The body also experiences some changes at this stage. Some of them include loss of appetite, facial redness, shakiness, sluggishness, pale skin, weight loss, or weight gain. The user may also start becoming irritable and continuously argue with friends or family. Some may isolate themselves from family members and friends.
At this stage, the alcohol may even cause depression. When alcohol becomes your only hope for coping with stress, it only means that it deepens your frustrations and not solving them. Some individuals at the middle alcoholic stage start to realize the serious effects of alcoholism, and they start managing their alcohol consumption. Realization of the problem is a vital step towards getting better. Some join support groups or detox programs. It is important to make such steps to alleviate the serious effects of alcohol consumption.
The late alcoholic stage is where a person experiences the effects of long-term abuse of alcohol. By the time a person gets to this stage, they are significantly tolerant to alcohol, and they become extremely dependent on alcohol. In the earlier stages, they were living to drink, but in this stage, they drink to live. Most people in this stage have already lost their jobs, and they may not be with their families.
At this stage, the users may have already given up on the attempts to stop themselves from drinking. Efforts to prevent themselves from drinking often leads to hallucinations and tremors. Also, they may be facing diseases caused by drinking like liver cirrhosis.
Despite all these challenges, even people in the late alcoholic stage can get better through rehabilitation, detoxification, and therapy. They can also join support groups. The most vital thing about it all is that they have to acknowledge their problem as well as recognizing the need to stop taking alcohol.
In a nutshell, alcoholism is a progressive disease. It is quite easy to get to the late alcoholic stage but coming back from it can be quite difficult. If you want to avoid the irreversible effects of alcoholism, it is vital to make use of the list of stages of alcoholism above and determine where you fall. Try as much as possible to refrain from too much alcohol consumption to avoid getting to the late alcoholic stage. In case you are in the final alcoholic stage, seek professional medical help as soon as possible and start getting better!