Alcoholism always has a starting point, whether it gradually takes hold over time or happens as a response to stressful stimuli. Unfortunately, determining the issue in the early stages is incredibly tricky, and as it progresses, you become significantly more likely to fall into a state of denial. Talking openly with the people closest to you, seeking professional advice and researching the disease itself can help determine whether you have an alcohol use disorder, as well as what stage it’s at.
First Stage of Alcoholism
Initially, a pattern of drinking is established — whether this is regularly drinking too much in one sitting or drinking with increased frequency. This often occurs while the person is in social situations, such as in the first year or two of college or when moving away from home. Many people go through a phase of binge drinking at these stages, but you’re more likely to develop a problem if you continue this behavior or seem more inclined to get drunk than your friends.
Usually, for people who are prone to alcoholism, there are underlying reasons for drinking that aren’t present in everyone. These include:
- Drinking to relieve boredom
- Having a high tolerance for alcohol
- Experiencing frequent blackouts
- Using alcohol to mask emotions
Progression of Alcoholism: Middle Stage
During the first stage, you may brush off excessive alcohol use as a phase, and it’s easier to hide from the people closest to you. By the time you’ve reached the middle stages of alcoholism, your loved ones may have begun to comment on the frequency and amount you drink. You may also start to feel cravings throughout the day and think about alcohol regularly as your body becomes dependent. Dependence can also lead to withdrawal symptoms. These include:
- Increased heartbeat
- Loss of appetite
Late Stage Alcohol Use Disorder
Late-stage alcoholism is characterized by physical dependence, psychological dependence and withdrawals. Alcohol is prioritized above the most critical aspects of a person’s life, and their relationships will be suffering significantly. If you’re at this stage, your physical and mental health will be showing the signs of chronic alcohol abuse, and sustaining a routine is usually difficult or impossible. Appearance and hygiene tend to take a back seat to drink, and motivation will be a serious issue.
The Final Stage of Alcohol Addiction
It’s highly unusual for people in the end stage of alcohol addiction to be able to maintain a job, although in rare cases they can. Each day will begin with a drink and end in the sufferer passing out from alcohol consumption. Long-term chronic alcohol abuse causes severe damage to vital organs, including the liver, heart, lungs, brain and kidneys. People at this stage of alcoholism are at an increased risk of liver cirrhosis, delirium tremens, suicide and polysubstance abuse.
Even in the final stage, recovery is possible, and medical help can address many of the associated health issues by helping you introduce a lifestyle overhaul and encouraging you to attend ongoing therapy. If you or someone you love needs help changing their drinking habits, call New Day Recovery at (330) 886-4744 today to get advice from an addiction expert.