What Are the Stages of Alcoholism?

Alcohol is a socially acceptable drug in the United States, which is why many people don’t realize how dangerous it is.  In our daily lives, we’re almost encouraged to partake. From happy hour with coworkers to guys’ night out, the commonality of alcohol makes it seem like a fun, benign substance. What many people don’t realize is that the stages of alcoholism start with social drinking and can quickly spiral downward.

Stages of Alcoholism

We can break alcoholism down into three primary stages: early, mid, and late-stage alcoholism. These stages of alcoholism affect everyone differently, and a man can develop an alcohol addiction before he even realizes it. Recognizing the signs of each stage could prevent him from falling victim to the substance:

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Early Stage

This is when men are first exposed to alcohol and may begin drinking socially or experimentally. Typically, people in this stage are teenagers and young adults who binge drink because their peers are doing it.

Mid Stage

This is when symptoms become prevalent and drinking begins interrupting daily activities. Some of the symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • Craving alcohol
  • Drinking more or for longer than intended
  • Spending a lot of time drinking to the point of getting ill
  • Having to drink more to get the desired effect
  • Trying to quit or cut back without success
  • Drinking interfering with home, school, work, and relationship obligations
  • Drinking despite the problems with friends and family that it causes
  • Cutting back on hobbies or activities in order to drink more
  • Drinking when it’s harmful to your well-being (driving, operating machinery, etc.)
  • Continuing to drink even if it worsens mental disorders such as anxiety and depression
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms

A person in mid-stage alcoholism will demonstrate at least two of these symptoms over a 12-month period. They will begin losing control of their consumption and relying heavily on alcohol.

Late Stage

At this point, men are unable to function without the assistance of alcohol. They’ve lost control of their drinking, and it’s likely affecting their school or work performance. They may also be unable to fulfill their family responsibilities. During this stage, they may start feeling withdrawal symptoms whenever they go too long without a drink. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Shakiness or tremors
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Severe headaches
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite

At this stage, individuals will be at high risk of suffering a lethal case of alcohol poisoning. They’re also at high risk for diseases such as cirrhosis, respiratory infections, hepatitis, heart disease, and pancreatitis. If individuals don’t seek treatment before late-stage alcoholism, they put themselves at risk for permanent organ damage.

Recovery from Alcoholism

If you or your loved ones are going through the stages of alcoholism, it’s important to seek drug and alcohol addiction treatment before they develop a lifelong disease or permanent organ damage. Professional treatment programs exist to help a user work through their addiction and readjust to everyday life.

Alcohol addiction can have lifelong repercussions, but it doesn’t have to. Call Serenity Lodge today at (855) 932-4045 to begin the path to recovery.

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