The Cycle of Alcohol Addiction National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA

Visible signs of alcoholism may become apparent during middle-stage alcoholism. The overwhelming need for the body to operate with alcohol in the system begins to put the disease in the driver’s seat. In this stage, you’re gradually becoming more accustomed to drinking larger amounts of alcohol with little to no effect. You can still function well enough, despite your heavy drinking, and you become more and more focused on getting that next drink. You don’t need to wait until the brink of disaster to seek help.

Long-Term Health Problems Associated with Chronic Heavy Drinking

Go to an Al-Anon or Alateen meeting or set up an appointment with a mental health professional. At the end of the day, the person with addiction has to be willing to accept help. The strong physiological needs of the body may make it difficult for an individual to resist drinking. When they do attempt to stop drinking, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. The body can become distressed even when a person stops drinking for a short time. As alcoholism progresses, the cells in the body become more and more resistant to the short-term effects of alcohol.

3 stages of alcoholism

Alcohol Use Disorder: From Risk to Diagnosis to Recovery

A moderate drinker might pair a glass of wine with a meal, while a regular drinker uses alcohol to feel good in general. As increased drinking continues, you become more dependent on alcohol and are at risk of developing alcoholism. Being at a later stage can make recovery more challenging, but recovery is possible at any stage of alcoholism. There are no quick fixes to addiction, and alcoholism is no different. The safest course of action is to seek treatment in a professional environment that is catered to the individual needs, preferably with holistic treatment.

  • Ultimately, recovery from alcoholism is possible with the right support and commitment to change.
  • It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.
  • Internally, though, significant biological changes are occurring.

If your loved one needs help

  • The alcoholic’s tolerance decreases as he or she becomes intoxicated more easily.
  • Once it takes hold, it can be hard to shake loose—without the right help.
  • One of the primary early warning signs of alcoholism is using alcohol to cope with life stressors like financial problems, relationship issues, daily stress, sadness, or other negative emotions.
  • Strong cravings for alcohol are typical at this stage, and drinking isn’t just for enjoyment anymore.
  • This can make it more difficult to show the effects of intoxication.

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. For example, they can think and talk normally or walk a straight line with no problem. However, with continued alcohol consumption over time, the body begins to lose its ability to cope with high alcohol levels. As early alcoholics progress to higher levels of alcohol, their thinking, talking or walking functions deteriorate as soon as they stop drinking and their blood alcohol level decreases. When this starts happening, they are now moving into the next of the stage of alcoholism.

Medical Professionals

Recovery from AUD is marked by stages of abstinence, withdrawal, repair, and growth. While the process may take several years, the outcome is a happier, healthier life where you have the freedom to fulfill your full potential. The challenge of this stage is to essentially develop and maintain healthy life skills that will serve you for a lifetime. An exciting part of this period is that it can lead you to a happier life full of welcomed change and constant improvement. Some people may feel so “broken” that they almost feel they can no longer experience joy and confidence, or have healthy relationships again. Since withdrawal symptoms tend to ebb and flow, you may be tempted to feel like you’re not making progress ― even though in reality, you’ve come a long way.

Recovery Is Possible at Every Stage of Alcoholism with Rosglas Recovery

She supports individuals who long for a better relationship with alcohol, helping them learn to drink less without living less. Regardless of which stage of alcoholism you or a loved one may be in, it’s still possible to get your lives back on track to sobriety. Some people may start to get addicted to alcohol after a week of continuous drinking. While others may be able to drink responsibly for up to a year before they develop an addiction. Alcoholism can also lead to accidents, suicide, and alcohol-induced blackouts. Individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) are at an increased risk of heart disease, which can result in heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications.

Even if they never progress past this stage, regular binge drinking is not a healthy way to consume alcohol. These drinkers have a drink in their hand at most or all social gatherings. You might notice it if they use it as their go-to way to unwind after a challenging day or long week. If they regularly rely on alcohol as Sober House a coping mechanism, can’t bear to face a social gathering without a drink, or need alcohol to relax, this could be a sign they’re in the pre-alcoholic stage. Seeking treatment during the pre-alcoholic stage is possible but is highly unlikely. It’s often difficult to determine whether someone is in the pre-alcoholic stage.

Stage 6: Middle Stage of Dependency

The further someone’s drinking progresses, the easier it becomes to notice their lack of control. Middle-stage alcoholism is when their drinking problem reaches more serious levels. Clear examples of progressive alcoholism include placing drinking ahead of their family, their job, or their education.