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

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

Instead of just drinking at parties once in a while, you may find yourself drinking every weekend. Knowing the signs and symptoms of each stage can aid you in seeking help before your problem turns into dependence and addiction. But when alcohol consumption gets out of control, you may find yourself on a dangerous path toward addiction. Later, it can cause fatigue, bleeding and bruising, itchy skin, yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes and fluid accumulation in the abdomen known as ascites. Fluid buildup in end-stage liver disease is a particularly ominous sign.

5 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. Late-stage, or end-stage alcoholism, is a full-blown addiction to alcohol, almost always requiring alcohol detox to start recovery. The person now spends the bulk of their time servicing the disease by drinking.

Middle Alcoholic Stage

Alcoholism is a persistent struggle to control drinking despite its harmful effects. Its characteristics include cravings for alcohol, increasing tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms.[1] Treatment for AUD includes medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Being at a later stage can make recovery more challenging, but recovery is possible at any stage of alcoholism.

  • The number of stages in alcoholism might vary depending on your school of thought.
  • Many people addicted to alcohol begin hiding the amount they drink or making excuses for it during this phase.
  • They may continue to drink in order to avoid feeling such symptoms.
  • For instance, children of people with an alcohol use disorder are four times more likely to also experience this disorder.
  • This disease is characterized by cravings, loss of control, and increasing alcohol intake in order to produce the desired effect.

Actor and comedian Nick Swardson says alcohol and edibles were to blame for a disastrous stand-up performance in Colorado over the weekend that ended with him being escorted off the stage. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While the recovery period may be challenging, it’s also filled with milestones that can transform your life into one that’s better than you could have previously imagined.

Stage 5 – Addiction to Alcohol

Alcohol dependence also means that you have developed a tolerance to drinking. As a result, you may have to drink larger quantities to get “buzzed” or drunk. Drinkers leave the experimental stage when their alcohol consumption becomes more frequent.

  • At this stage, you may be using alcohol regularly, perhaps even starting your day with an alcoholic drink or consuming alcohol on the job.
  • 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.
  • Unfortunately, individuals who are addicted to alcohol are at an increased risk of suicide due to severe depression and anxiety.
  • Their tolerance may go unnoticed by everyone except the people they spend the most time with.

In reality, there are stages of alcoholism that start with excessive drinking and lead to serious health complications. Below, learn more about the stages of alcoholism to assess if you or a loved one might be struggling with addiction. Regardless of the stage you might be in right now, 5 stages of alcoholism recovery is possible and it is something that would change the course of your life. 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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