What Are the 5 Stages of Alcoholism?

The most effective treatment for overcoming alcoholism involves a clinically-proven combination of behavioral therapy, medications, and attending support groups. This provides a safe and structured environment for people to address all medical, emotional, and psychological aspects of their drinking for lifelong recovery. In this phase, the individual begins drinking in social situations. A prospective alcoholic may find that they experience other beneficial effects of drinking, such as stress relief.

what are the 5 stages of alcoholism

The primary symptoms of stage three include high tolerance to alcohol, physical symptoms, and more obvious drinking behaviors. The middle stage of alcoholism is when drinking interferes with everyday life. Understanding the five stages of addiction recovery can be useful for addicted people and their family members. Each stage clearly describes the process of recognizing and admitting the problem, preparing for addiction treatment, and dealing with life after treatment of alcohol and drug abuse. It’s an integrated theory that’s compatible with most evidence-based and holistic treatments, like the 12-step program and behavior therapy.

Substance Abuse

Our mission is to provide patient-centered care that focuses on healing and recovery from addiction. This blog provides information, news, and uplifting content to help people in their recovery journey. If someone has an issue with alcohol, the sooner they seek help, the better.

What are the levels of alcoholism?

Despite the variation in specific causes and timeframes from person to person, the disease itself follows a pattern. If you or your loved ones need help to identify the signs of problem drinking, four stages of alcoholism have been identified: pre-alcoholic, early alcoholic, chronic alcoholic, and end-stage alcoholism.

If you notice they continue drinking heavily and blacking out, you have a right to be concerned. Keep an eye on their drinking behaviors to see whether they progress further. Even if they never progress past this stage, regular binge drinking is not a healthy way to consume alcohol. Individuals in this stage may not be drinking every day or even every week. However, they still use alcohol frequently and can’t imagine a “good night out” without it. It’s often difficult to determine whether someone is in the pre-alcoholic stage.

Early Stage

Someone might remain in this stage due to a lack of information about addictive behaviors. Another reason we regularly see people get stuck in the precontemplation stage https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/how-art-therapy-can-help-in-addiction-recovery/ is disappointment with multiple failed attempts at recovery and treatment options. Most individuals in precontemplation feel that recovery simply isn’t possible for them.

  • Maybe weekend social drinking grows into drinking on weekdays too.
  • However, some people in this phase can abuse alcohol and go about their lives as usual.
  • The fourth stage of alcoholism is characterized by an individual experiencing a dependence on alcohol.
  • The most effective treatment for overcoming alcoholism involves a clinically-proven combination of behavioral therapy, medications, and attending support groups.
  • It can cause sleep problems that lead to anxiety or depression.

The first of five stages of alcoholism is pre-alcoholism, when you drink for social reasons and are fine with or without alcohol, although may drink too much here and there. Whether you attend a party, sporting event, wedding, or a night out with friends, you overindulge or binge drink while celebrating in the pre-alcoholism stage. Using alcohol during adolescence (from preteens to mid-20s) may affect brain development, making it more likely that they will be diagnosed with AUD later in life. However, most people with AUD—no matter their age or the severity of their alcohol problems—can benefit from treatment with behavioral health therapies, medications, or both. People in this middle phase have an evident lack of control over their drinking problem. They start to lack care for other aspects of their lives, such as their jobs, family, and social life, and routinely put alcohol first.

Stage Four: Sever Alcohol Abuse and Dependence

This means the person is ready to bring about change in the future, but not immediately. Unlike the previous stage, they’re aware of the pros of becoming drug-free. Alcohol use disorder treatment does not just keep a person from using alcohol, ring a bell, and declare the person cured.

  • The final stage of the Jellinek Curve occurs when the person’s health stabilizes after they stop drinking.
  • 6 or more criteria denote a chronic alcohol use disorder, otherwise known as alcoholism.
  • An honest assessment with a professional can provide a clear understanding of your relationship with alcohol and its impact on your life.

One of the main issues with this disease is how easy it becomes to lie to yourself as well. If you’re in this phase, you’ll often downplay the amount you drink and find ways of explaining away the behavior. You may start to experience consequences at work or school due to your habit and find yourself regularly hungover and craving more alcohol. In terms of diagnostic criteria, individuals may display 7 or more symptoms of alcohol use disorder. Some people may experience all 11 symptoms of the condition during this stage, making it imperative for them to get professional treatment for alcoholism.

At this point, it’s a compulsive behavior and the individual’s life revolves around drinking. When the individual does not consume alcohol regularly, they may experience withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings. Heavy drinking poses many long-term health risks, including liver damage, brain damage, heart disease, malnutrition, and mental health disorders, including an increased risk of suicide. 5 stages of alcoholism At Rockland Treatment Center, we understand how consuming addiction is and how intimidating it is to take the first step to a better life. Furthermore, the disease progresses over time so one doesn’t suddenly become an alcoholic. However, even though each case is different, people who suffer from alcohol use disorders tend to go through a similar five stages of alcohol addiction.

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