Many people struggle with different stages of alcohol use disorders. Most of them, unfortunately, may not even be aware of it. Their casual, social drinking may progress towards alcohol addiction without them even knowing. This is partly because of a lack of information, alcoholism misconceptions, as well as denial on the part of the drinker.
Problem drinking, like other problematic behavior and substance use disorders, is never easy. It can also ruin the life of the drinkers as well as create a destructive impact on their families.
Let’s find out these 5 stages of alcoholism and you may recognize these stages in people that you know.
5 Stages of Alcoholism
- Stage 1: Social or Experimental Drinking. Not everyone who drinks socially turn out to become alcoholics. However, it’s during this stage that people experiment with alcohol, test their limits and even see how it can be used for them to cope with their issues. Some who end up drinking to cope with emotional pain or mental disorders can easily develop a pattern. However, because drinking is widely accepted, these patterns often go unnoticed.
- Stage 2: Alcohol Abuse / Problem Drinking. At this stage, drinkers would be drinking too much and more often. As they continue with this pattern, tolerance develops. This means that they would need more alcohol to get the same effect they want earlier in their drinking.
- Stage 3: Alcohol Dependency. Also called “Early Alcoholism,” drinkers at this stage develop a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. Unlike before when they would drink when the occasion arises, they would now drink wherever and whenever possible. Their thoughts would be preoccupied by the next time they can drink and they would often have strong urges to drink. They have a problem, other people may notice and point it out, but they would deny it.
- Stage 4: Addiction and Alcoholism. At this stage, their compulsion to drink is their only motivation day in and day out. From the moment they wake up, drinking fills their thoughts and would drink whenever possible. They would also have a range of problems, starting from their health, their families, employment, and even legal issues. At this stage, their drinking is totally out of control and they would feel intense physical withdrawal if they even thought of cutting down.
- Stage 5: End-Stage Alcoholism. This is the darkest and most difficult stage of alcoholism. The years of alcohol abuse has taken a toll on the drinkers body. They would have frequent blackouts, uncontrollable and sudden sweating, and disorientation. They may also lose their sense of self, being confused and out of touch for most of the time. If not treated, they may die of alcoholism.