This treatment option is generally less expensive than inpatient programs. Those enrolled in outpatient programs will benefit from having a strong support system at home.

  • Whencasual drinkersmove into early-stage alcoholism, their tolerance begins to rise.
  • While these individuals may not be daily drinkers, they do consume large amounts of alcohol at once.
  • The human body is incapable of storing alcohol, and the gastrointestinal tract works hard to eradicate ethanol, which is the intoxicating component of alcohol.
  • For a long time, people who struggled with drinking were thought to have a moral failure or lack of willpower.

He published a follow-up paper in 1952, “Phases of Alcohol Addiction,” that built upon his original ideas. He outlined the unique stages of drinkers categorized by their drinking behaviors. At the crisis stage, the alcoholic probably knows that he or she is in a “do or die” situation and receives an ultimatum from loved ones or oneself. At this point, he or she must choose to seek treatment or be willing to succumb to their condition.

What Are the 4 Stages of Alcoholism?

Changes in your body such as facial redness, stomach bloating, shaking, sweating and memory lapses start to affect you. If you notice they continue stages of alcoholism drinking heavily and blacking out, you have a right to be concerned. Keep an eye on their drinking behaviors to see whether they progress further.

What is the correct order of the stages of alcoholism?

If you or your loved ones need help to identify the signs of problem drinking, four stages of alcoholism have been identified: pre-alcoholic, early alcoholic, chronic alcoholic, and end-stage alcoholism.

Eventually, the presence of alcohol becomes the norm for the body, and the long-term damage continues. When a person with alcoholism reaches end stagealcoholism, they have reached a point that is dramatically different from the initial stages. During the early stages of the disease, the person may drink heavily and may experience hangovers in between drinking episodes.

Cardiovascular Health

They may appear normal to those around them, other than the perception that they are drinking more. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that progresses through early, middle and late stages. In 2019, it affected14.5 millionAmericans aged 12 and older, or5.3%of the population. The use of alcohol can drastically modify the way that chemical signals are produced and transmitted in the brain. In addition, addiction to alcohol can change how certain parts of the brain responsible for decision-making, controlling urges, memory, motivation, pleasure, and reward processing are connected. Alcohol can be damaging to a person’s motor skills, reflexes, response time, short-term memory, and capacity to think correctly or logically.

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People in this stage may choose to drink as an excuse to get together with friends, to alleviate stress and boredom, or to combat sadness or loneliness. Consequently, this can profoundly influence one’s moods, conduct, and even temperament.

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This stage of alcoholism could present as typical, non-problematic drinking or high-functioning alcoholism. In terms of diagnostic criteria, individuals may display between 0 to 2 of the symptoms of alcohol use disorder. Our liver filters out harmful substances, cleans our blood, stores energy and aids in digestion. Too much alcohol can be toxic to liver cells, causing dehydration and permanent scarring—which ultimately affects the blood flow.