The American Medical Association (AMA) identified alcoholism as a disease that alters the way the brain controls a person’s ability to make healthy choices. Once it takes over you, it becomes hard to let it go, unless you be assisted before the ultimate damage.
Are you concerned that you or your loved one is an alcoholic? Then, getting to know the stages of alcoholism may be of great help to you and may go ahead to assist you in seeking treatment and detoxification. Alcoholism is a step by step disease of the body and mind. Alcoholism, characterized by a thirst for alcohol, leading to its craving, loss of control, and need. All these lead to an increase in the amount of alcohol intake. Because of this, a person’s addiction to alcohol will increase over time. Mostly, every person who is addicted to drinking will have a different experience from another person. There are five stages of alcoholism.
Stage 1: Binge Drinking and Experimenting
From recent studies, almost 17 million American adults are addicted to alcohol. The initial stage of alcoholism is indicated by experimenting. Most of the time, this usually happens during one’s teen years or early adulthood. Because those who experiment with alcohol don’t know their limit since they are new to it, they practice binge drinking most of the time. While in your teens, you may not be an advent drinker, but end up consuming large amounts of alcohol at a go.
For one to be regarded as a binge drinker, men should take not less than five drinks every 2 hours, while ladies have to take four drinks in the same period. As a result of this, the majority might exceed what they are supposed to drink, as it’s a competition and some would want to show their alcoholic prowess of who can take more.
Binge drinking may look less dangerous, and it is distant from reality. Experimenting while binge drinking can lead to severe health concerns like comas, alcohol poisoning, and even death. Also, consuming large amounts of alcohol can lead to alcohol addiction or dependency, hence resulting in the first stage of alcoholism.
Stage 2: Increased intake of alcohol
Once a person starts to take alcohol more frequently, this calls for one to have entered the second stage of alcoholism. In this stage, those who drink are typically still having their drinks based on social settings or events. However, for them to experience the same feeling as they experienced during binge drinking, they have to consume more alcohol to achieve the same sense. Additionally, this is the level where a person will start to find out an intellect of emotional relief from getting drunk.
When you get to attend celebratory events, this is where you may find regular alcohol drinking, and usually, the alcohol is served with meals, or a meal is paired with a glass of wine. On the other hand, average drinkers will take a drink to overcome their undesirable emotions or “blow off steam.” For an individual to be classified in the second stage of alcoholism, the person should have become an average drinker. Most of the time, the majority will have a slight psychological addiction while in this stage of alcoholism.
Stage 3: Drinking is Becoming a Problem
In this third stage of alcoholism, a person is characterized as a result of having problems initiated from over-reliance in drinking alcohol. “Problem drinker” is the term usually used in our present society while describing an individual whose alcohol intake has brought them physical, emotional, financial, and social problems. Similarly, a “problem drinker” also refers to the third stage of alcoholism.
The main social issues portrayed as a result of drinking not only include but limited to:
- Having problems in their relationships
- There is a sudden change from how they interact with friends and while in social places
- Less social activity as a result of erratic characters
- They start to have problems while conversing with unknown people to them
Problem drinkers might get to have heightened anxiety, disturbances, or depression while in their sleep and interfere with their regular sleep patterns. In addition, a person might feel sick as a result of their drinking. However, they overlook the enjoyment of taking alcohol that they find it hard for them to stop. Most of the time, alcoholic people in this alcoholic stage are more likely to land in problems with the feds as a result of their erratic behaviors from drinking.
Stage 4: Physical over-reliance in alcohol
Commonly, a majority of the people have a myth that dependency on alcohol and alcohol addiction in the same thing. However, for you to be addicted to alcohol, one is dependent on it before addiction sets in. In this fourth stage, one is regarded as an alcoholic as a result of having to rely on alcohol to perform their routine tasks. Alcohol dependence or reliance is the level where one does not have control over the amount of alcohol they take, or they have to take it for them to feel healthy in their daily tasks.
In addition, those anguishing from alcohol reliance acquire tolerance. As a result, the person will have to drink plenty of alcohol to achieve the effects they had when getting introduced to drinking. Similarly, when an individual is increasing their drinking, they tend also to increase the risk that accompanies heavy drinking. Furthermore, one of the notable characters of an alcoholic is experiencing withdrawal. For withdrawals to occur, one has to be limited to the amount of alcohol they take or stay without drinking for long periods. Some of the main symptoms associated with withdrawal are:
- Experiencing body tremors
- Being nauseated
- Sweating profusely even when cold
- Being irritated easily
- Pacing heartbeat
- Having difficulty in sleeping
Stage 5: Alcoholism
Compared to the previous stages of alcoholism, the fifth stage is where one gets physically and mentally addicted. In this stage, those who are already addicted feel the urge to drink instead of just wanting a drink. In this stage, a majority can’t stay for long without having their favorite drink. For them to do their daily activities, alcohol has to be taken for them to feel okay. Without a drink, they might end up being sick. In this stage, one takes alcohol with other substances such as tobacco and can even end up using hard drugs.
Most of the time, those who are already addicted to alcohol start developing chronic health conditions as a result of their continuous heavy drinking. These chronic conditions include liver damage, heart disease, malnutrition, brain damage, and even mental disorders. Unfortunately, most people in these stages of alcoholism, and are already in step five, are at a higher risk of committing suicide as a result of anxiety and severe depression. In addition to the risk of contracting chronic health conditions, psychological effects like paranoia and dementia may deteriorate the health of those who are heavy drinkers.
As such, if you notice a loved one or your friend is showing some of these signs of addiction to alcohol, a better look for how they can be assisted would be essential as the problem won’t “go away” by itself.