What Are The 3 Stages Of Alcoholism?
The most destructive form of alcoholism is chronic alcoholism, an emotionally, socially and physically devastating disease. Alcoholism emerges from alcohol abuse, when there’s a pattern of drinking despite negative consequences. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are both categorized as alcohol use disorders—affecting people of all ages and stages of life. The severity of the disorder lies on a spectrum, ranging 3 stages of alcoholism from mild to severe dependence, also known as chronic alcoholism (although even a mild disorder can spiral out of control without early treatment). Cirrhosis of the liver
Our liver filters out harmful substances, cleans our blood, stores energy and aids in digestion. Too much alcohol can be toxic to liver cells, causing dehydration and permanent scarring—which ultimately affects the blood flow.
When alcohol enters the bloodstream, one of the central impacts is slowing the rate of communication between nerve cells. The rate of communication returns to its typical levels once alcohol leaves the body. If a person drinks frequently or more heavily, the nerve cells in the brain adapt by reducing the number of places they can receive these messages. When most people drink to their tolerance level, they exhibit signs of intoxication. Those signs include slurring words, loss of balance and poor physical coordination.
Several longitudinal studies indicate that 11–18 percent of patients with alcoholic fatty liver who continue to drink develop cirrhosis over a period of 4–13 years. This disease is caused by smoking, so it doesn’t have too much to do with drinking; however, alcoholics have a high likelihood of developing these diseases as they are three times more likely than a non-drinker to smoke. As you can see, excessive drinking can lead to many health complications and issues, hence, a need for medical attention is crucial at this point. After years of reckless drinking, many alcoholics will develop end stage alcoholism, also called late stage alcoholism. If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life, you likely have alcohol use disorder. However, even a mild disorder can escalate and lead to serious problems, so early treatment is important.
Relationships at home or socially may have been severely damaged, and there can be mounting financial and legal problems due to the alcoholic’s powerlessness over alcohol. At the early alcoholism stage, the body has adapted to increasing amounts of alcohol. In fact, how a person functions will likely be improved with drinking as blood alcohol levels rise.
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As the disease becomes more severe, blackouts and loss of control can happen. And the physical costs of excessive alcohol use become noticeable. People with alcohol addiction physically crave the substance and are often inconsolable until they start drinking again. Frequent, uncontrolled https://ecosoberhouse.com/ alcohol abuse eventually leads to problem drinking. While any form of alcohol abuse is problematic, the term “problem drinker” refers to someone who starts experiencing the impacts of their habit. The first stage of alcoholism is a general experimentation with alcohol.
- As recovering alcoholics ourselves we know how hard it is to find reliable, and free resources to help yourself or a loved one.
- Potential consequences include job loss, financial difficulties, health issues, and family problems.
- After years of reckless drinking, many alcoholics will develop end stage alcoholism, also called late stage alcoholism.
There are countless traditional pathways of treatment that have been proven effective in helping those suffering from alcoholism, as well as numerous new options for successfully tackling alcohol abuse. Here is an overview of the most common and successful treatment options now available for people with an alcohol problem. After safely detoxing from alcohol, so your body is no longer physically dependent on the substance, it is important to enter a rehabilitation program that is specific to alcohol use disorder. This may either be an inpatient or outpatient program, meaning you may live on the premises where the program is administered, or you may go to a hospital, therapist, or outpatient center for therapy sessions. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) lists several stages on their Continuum of Treatment, depending on the needed level of care.