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Stages Of Alcoholism

The Different Stages of Alcoholism


There are several different stages of alcoholism, with some groups classifying as few as three stages, while others classify as many as five.  We’ll look at the system that’s made up of five stages of alcoholism because it covers all the bases, from the beginning of the problem, up through the recurrence of the problem.


Stage one in the five stages of alcoholism is called the early or adaptive stage.  This stage begins when tolerance to alcohol starts to increase because of how much the person drinks on a regular basis.  There are also very small changes taking place in the body during this stage, although people won’t really be able to notice them.  The early stage is the most difficult to detect of all the stages of alcoholism.


The middle stage of alcoholism is where alcohol abuse really starts to come into play.  Social drinking has been replaced by drinking to fight emotions or deal with problems.  The middle stage is also where physical dependence on alcohol begins.  This is also the stage in which the alcoholic begins to lose control over how much he drinks, even socially.  He also starts to experience cravings for alcohol.  The middle stage of alcoholism is also characterized by blackout periods in which the person seems to be functioning on a conscious level, although she can’t remember what she was doing.  The middle stage of alcoholism is really where people begin to notice that the person has a problem with alcohol.


The late stage is really also the most deteriorative of all the stages of alcoholism.  This is the stage in which the alcoholic is extremely sick.  She drinks almost constantly and may be confused most of the time.  There are so many physical and psychological problems that go on with this stage of alcoholism that it is very obvious to the world that the person is an alcoholic.  Most alcoholics in the late stage of alcoholism are completely deluded and don’t even realize how much they are destroying their body through the use of alcohol.


Stage four of alcoholism is where the alcoholic finally begins to realize that he needs help.  Usually this stage only begins with the help of someone who is close to the alcoholic.  Friends or family members may pressure the alcoholic to stop drinking, and she’ll make a valiant effort to quit.  Some alcoholics also find the courage to stop drinking because of something bad in their life, like loss of a job, a divorce, or threat of jail time.  The problem with stage four of alcoholism is that it’s too easy to move into stage five, which is relapse. 


Treating alcoholism is a very long process that may involve relapse time and again.  Relapses can be caused by any of a number of different factors, from inadequate treatment in the first place, to not changing their lifestyle.  It’s very important that alcoholics make a total life change when they are ready to quit.  This will make them less likely to move on to stage five, but if they do relapse, help from those closest to them will help them get back to stage four.



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