When many people discuss alcoholism they may not realize that there are actually a few different stages that individuals transition through. This article will briefly discuss these stages so that individuals will be able to identify what stage they may be in, or what stage their loved one may be in.
As many people probably know, consuming alcohol starts out as a way to simply socialize with others. This is may be something that is done every now and then in order to hang out with friends and relatives. However as alcoholism progresses; drinking no longer becomes a social event. During the first phase, the individual will begin to rely on the different mood altering effects that can be experienced as a result of alcohol consumption. This is when the person begins to enter the first phase of alcohol dependence. Individuals that often have a difficult time expressing their feelings, or dealing with their feelings appropriately, may quickly enter into this phase.
The second stage of alcoholism is when the person begins to become more, and more, infatuated with the thought of drinking. Actually, many individuals may begin to notice that themselves, their friends, or loved ones, will start consuming large amounts of alcohol at a very early time throughout the day. The person will begin to have a loss of control from time to time. This is not something that may happen all of the time, however, it is often noticed by others and they really begin to pick up on it. Also, during this time, the individual may begin to show a little bit of concern in relation to the amount of alcohol that they drink. Even though this may be true, it is very important to remember that these individuals may not have much success when it comes to trying to quit drinking in this phase. People that are in this phase may also suffer from blackouts, or even tremors. So, this is something to be fully aware of for those individuals that are interested in identifying what stage a friend, or family member, may be in.
Stage three is when the individual is no longer able to control their drinking. This person may have the intention of only having one or two drinks but they have a very difficult time actually sticking to this. Others will begin to notice that this person has a difficult time controlling the amount of alcohol that they consume on a regular basis. This is the stage of alcoholism when the person will also start to consume what is called “eye openers”. Meaning that the person will most likely engage in drinking alcohol as soon as he, or she, wakes up in the morning. This is usually done by the person in order to help decrease the effects of a hangover. But, what many people do not consider is that they are simply adding alcohol back into their bodies. Which is what lessens the hangover, because they are getting drunk all over again.
During the fourth stage of alcoholism the person likely will have a very difficult time actually holding down a job; because they’ll be spending a lot of time focusing on their addiction and trying to find ways to fulfill their need for alcohol. This is when the majority of alcoholics lose their jobs because they are not able to continue functioning in a necessary fashion so they can not keep their jobs. This is also the stage of alcoholism when a person may actually suffer from the shakes when they try to stop consuming alcohol. They will not be able to control this. Once this severe, the disorder effects the entire body. During this time, the person will make sure that he, or she, always has alcohol in their possession. This is how they work through the tremors that they may be experiencing.
The following information will identify some of the key traits that a person will want to watch for, and keep in mind, when they are trying to determine what stage of alcoholism a person is in. This simple table can be used as a quick reference guide for individuals that are interested.
|Plays the big shot
|Looks for the opportunity to drink
||Is unsuccessful when they try to stop drinking
||Loss of interest
||Intoxicated for long amounts of time
|Drinks to deal with life
||Has an increase tolerance
||Begins to avoid the basic needs of life
|Consumes large amounts of alcohol
||Trouble with the law like DUIs
||Aware that he, or she, is out of control
|Unaware of their illness
||Blackouts become more and more common
||Obsessed with drinking
Identifying the stages of alcoholism can be the first step towards seeking assistance for oneself, or for others. However, it is important to remember that individuals may not want help, depending on what stage they are in. This means that it is very important for the individual that tries to help be understanding. It can be very frustrating to deal with someone that is in this situation. However, there are many different ways to get someone help; when they are ready and willing to accept it. Knowledge gives power and this is the first place to start.