You’ll want to find a rehab center that has medically-supervised detox capabilities so that you can comfortably and safely detox from alcohol. There are inpatient and outpatient options, but an addiction specialist should determine the best level of care for you based on your individual needs. Effective addiction treatment providers will have addiction counselors, but they should also have mental health services as many people with alcoholism have co-occurring mental health conditions. Some binge drinkers or party drinkers will not progress beyond the experimental phase to drink regularly. Those who do continue to drink heavily or regularly may do so because they are environmentally or genetically predisposed to do so.

When that craving happens, one finds that “a beer every other day” increases to “two beers” and then “three beers” as tolerance levels of the body to alcohol increase. This is particularly true for young teenagers because, at that age, there is a lot of partying and group activities that will involve drinking. At the experimentation stage, only one or two of the DSM-5 criteria may be met, but signs of alcoholism such as vomiting, nausea, and even a coma remain because of the likelihood of binge-drinking. There is some knowledge to be gleaned from the statistic as it serves as proof that alcohol use disorders are quite commonly developed from a relatively young age.

Early Stage Alcoholism

While many of them end their binge drinking behaviors as they grow older, some of them will progress to later stages of alcoholism. Because of the severity of the disease, medically monitored alcohol detox is a necessity. Between 3 and 5 percent of people withdrawing from alcohol develop grand mal seizures and severe confusion, known as delirium tremens. Delirium tremens symptoms typically begins about three days after other withdrawal symptoms start. It usually lasts for between two and three days, and it can be fatal. As the disease progresses to the middle stage, drinking continues to increase and dependency develops.

  • At this stage of alcohol addiction, the habit of drinking has wormed its way into the daily routine, and despite being aware of the adverse effects, one does not stop drinking the substance.
  • Carrying the label of being the most abused substance among the rehab attendees, alcohol has been studied vigorously.
  • 6 or more criteria denote a chronic alcohol use disorder, otherwise known as alcoholism.
  • Many drinkers at this stage are more likely to drink and drive or experience legal troubles as a result of their drinking.
  • They may begin to lie about their alcohol usage and hide it from their family.
  • Jellinek viewed alcoholism as a chronic relapsing condition that needed to be treated by health professionals and developed a theory on the progression of alcoholism through various stages.

Medical detoxification and outpatient rehabilitation or intensive outpatient programs may be necessary to help the individual overcome their physical alcohol dependence. Middle-stage alcoholics might deny their drinking problem or try to hide their alcohol use from others. The person’s use becomes more frequent and risky, and they may begin to experience negative consequences such as health 5 stages of alcoholism problems and job losses. It starts innocently enough, with an occasional drink—but before you know it, drinking becomes a habit that’s hard to control. As time goes on, alcoholism progresses, affecting your health and well-being. Alcoholism often starts as just having a little bit of fun—but without controlling the amount and frequency it’s consumed, it can quickly progress to addiction.

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As you progress through the stages of alcoholism, there is a good chance that you will begin to experience problems. Or, maybe your partner will break up with you because you would rather party than spend time together. In this stage of alcoholism, you still may not realize that you are becoming dependent on alcohol or have already become dependent on it. Even experiencing some problems may not be enough to really see your problems and admit that they exist.

5 stages of alcoholism

The CDC reports that approximately 140,000 people die from excessive alcohol use in the United States each year. During end-stage alcoholism, a person may struggle with involuntary rapid eye movement (nystagmus) or weakness and paralysis of the eye muscles due to thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency. This deficiency can also cause dementia if not treated immediately.

Getting Help for Alcoholism: What You Need to Know

Cirrhosis can turn into liver cancer at this stage, which can be impossible to treat. In this stage, people aren’t familiar with different types of alcohol, as a rule, so they tend to try different kinds of alcohol in different quantities out. The early stages of alcoholism are typically defined by the aim of drinking just to get drunk. Alcohol is used to self-medicate and escape negative feelings and thoughts. People in the first of the stages of alcoholism don’t drink every day, and they are still able to carry out daily activities.

5 stages of alcoholism

As individuals continue to drink alcohol over time, progressive changes may occur in the structure and function of their brains. These changes can compromise brain function and drive the transition from controlled, occasional use to chronic misuse, which can be difficult to control. The changes can endure long after a person stops consuming alcohol, and can contribute to relapse in drinking. The final stage of the Jellinek Curve occurs when the person’s health stabilizes after they stop drinking. The person in recovery has transitioned through detox and immediate treatment to maintain sobriety.

Inpatient Programs

Once a person progresses to high-risk use, their drinking becomes dangerous and moves quickly toward addiction. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that for men, heavy alcohol use is defined as consuming more than four drinks on any given day or more than 14 over a week. For women, it is defined as more than three drinks on any given day and more than seven drinks a week. Alcohol addiction progresses through different stages, ranging from the absence of addiction to a severe alcohol use disorder.

You may feel like there are no other options but to continue drinking to help the pain go away, even temporarily. People in the final stage of alcoholism have come away stronger than ever with the proper support system and treatment program. Everyone who experiences substance abuse, including alcohol and drug abuse, deals with it in their own unique way, which can make identifying someone with alcoholism or addiction difficult. Not everyone who drinks develops alcoholism, and there are people out there that may be more at risk of developing it than others. Once an individual begins to drink more frequently, they have entered the second stage of alcoholism.