Alcohol addiction presents the individual and their family with devastating consequences. Alcoholism has been classified as a relapsing brain disease that makes recovery difficult due to alcohol dependence. For many individuals, the preliminary signs of addiction aren’t evident to their family or loved ones. It is in the preliminary stages of addiction that a majority of recovering alcoholics find the greatest success and avoid complex medical issues. To learn more about recovery, families should learn what the main characteristics of the four stages of alcoholism are.
1. Inconsistent Alcohol Abuse
The pre-alcoholic stage or inconsistent alcohol abuse is characterized by social drinking habits. The individual might begin drinking casually in social settings. However, as the disease progresses, so does the individual’s tolerance for alcohol. Visible evidence that the individual is using alcohol as a coping mechanism is evident, and they drink larger quantities of their preferred alcoholic beverage.
Higher tolerance to the substance requires extensive increases in consumption before the individual is intoxicated. If you or a loved have seen the signs of early alcoholism, recovery facilities offer programs to help you or them get help with alcoholism.
2. A Sudden Increase in Alcohol Consumption Levels
The earliest signs of alcoholism are hallmarked by an increasingly stronger urge to consume alcohol at inappropriate times. Alcoholics struggle with wanting to avoid alcohol, but the addiction is becoming stronger than their willpower. It is at this stage that family and loved ones have noticed signs of alcohol addiction, and the individual has begun lying about how much they consume daily. Alcoholics tend to try to hide their consumption by placing alcoholic beverages in concealed containers or adding alcohol to soft drinks.
3. Uncontrollable Alcohol Abuse
The middle alcoholic stage is the point where it is completely obvious to the family that the individual is an alcoholic. Drinkers begin to neglect their responsibilities due to their addiction. Work attendance is poor, and their children aren’t receiving the love and attention they need and deserve. Arguments often erupt between the addict and their loved ones. Physical changes are more visible.
Some alcoholics develop redness of their skin that looks like a severe sunburn. Depending on the type of alcohol they abuse, the individual losses or gains a significant amount of weight. It is also more likely that the individual has at this point committed a crime, such as driving under the influence.
4. The Late Stage Alcoholism
In the final stage of alcoholism or alcohol dependence, the individual has developed severe health conditions, such as cirrhosis or even colon cancer, due to excessive consumption of alcohol. Late-stage alcoholics don’t attempt to hide their addiction since it takes over their life completely. At this stage, any attempt to recover from addiction leads to severe body tremors and, for some alcoholics, hallucinations begin. It is at this stage that the individual is at a greater risk of dying due to their deteriorating health.
The main characteristics of each of the four stages of alcoholism help families become educated about addiction and how to identify these changes in their loved ones. It isn’t always evident in the initial stages that the individual has an addiction. Too often, the drinking goes unnoticed until at least the second stage. Families who see signs of addiction determine the current stage of addiction by reviewing the predominant characteristics.