The Three Stages of Alcoholism: Early, Middle, & End-Stage Alcoholism

different stages of alcoholism

If you think you may have a drinking problem, you’re definitely not alone. In 2021, researchers estimated nearly 30 million people ages 12 years and older in the United States had alcohol use disorder (AUD). Recovery from alcohol addiction generally follows the stages of abstinence, withdrawal, repair, and growth. No matter what stage of addiction you or a loved one may be in, addiction treatment is available to help you overcome alcoholism. This stage also qualifies as a severe form of alcohol use disorder (AUD) according to the DSM-5 criteria.

Risk factors

  • The most effective treatment during the early stages of alcoholism includes therapy and support groups.
  • Once it takes hold, it can be hard to shake loose—without the right help.
  • Find support for yourself and other family members in a rehab family program.
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In 2019, it affected 14.5 millionAmericans aged 12 and older, or 5.3% of the population. At this stage, drinking becomes everything in your life, even at the expense of your livelihood, your health and your relationships. Attempts to stop drinking can result in tremors or hallucinations, but therapy, detox, and rehab can help you get your life back. 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.

different stages of alcoholism

Health Diseases Found Among Those in Late Stage Alcoholism

They can be moderate drinkers with the occasional instance of binge drinking. The best way to help a loved one who is abusing alcohol is to get them into an alcohol treatment center that offers medically supervised detox. In one of these programs, addicted individuals can flush the alcohol out of their body in the safest way possible. The first of the four stages of alcoholism is called pre-alcoholism. The main reason for the abundance of deaths is the myriad of health problems that the disease causes.

different stages of alcoholism

Late Alcoholic Stage

In middle-stage alcoholism, individuals have developed a physical dependence on alcohol. They may experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop drinking, including sweating, shaking, nausea, and anxiety. They may also experience blackouts, memory loss, and other health problems related to their drinking. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)

When you are in the fourth stage of alcoholism, this will make the detox period as manageable as possible. After detox, there are a number of other treatment options available to you. There is no single right or wrong way to get sober, just the 5 stages of drinking way that works for you and keeps you away from the bottle. Again, even if you reach the fourth stage of alcoholism, there is still hope for you. Find out more about the choices you have and take action today to make a change in your life.

I’m Seeking Help

They may appear red in the face or look bloated and generally unwell. The alcoholic probably isn’t sleeping or eating well at this point and may not be keeping up with personal hygiene. Inpatient treatment takes place at a licensed residential treatment center. You’ll live in safe, substance-free housing and have access to professional medical monitoring. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the “stage” of alcoholism.

Treatment Programs

Only trained and licensed medical professionals can provide such services. If you or anyone you know is undergoing a severe health crisis, call a doctor or 911 immediately. Individuals are on the brink of alcohol use disorder, with drinking firmly rooted in their daily routines. Despite awareness of the adverse effects, there is a struggle to abstain from alcohol. There is an evident dependence on alcohol to cope with stress or discomfort.

  • There are inpatient and outpatient options, but an addiction specialist should determine the best level of care for you based on your individual needs.
  • This is a life-threatening disease that involves permanent scarring of the liver.
  • Addiction is a sensitive issue and many alcoholics may be in denial or feel ashamed about it.

Studies show that those who struggle with a mental health disorder are more likely to get addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s because they are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol and may use it as a depressant. Or, they may use it to numb any pain that they may be experiencing. 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 progresses in many different alcoholism stages, and there are different symptoms for each stage.

different stages of alcoholism

The middle alcoholic stage marks an intensification in alcohol dependence and its negative impacts on life. At this stage, consequences from substance abuse become increasingly severe, impacting physical health as well as mental health. Early signs of alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), include increased tolerance and dependence on alcohol. In the later stages of alcohol use, addiction takes hold, affecting daily life and health.

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