Some people are able to drink alcohol without developing a dependence, but many of us are not. Understanding the stages of alcoholism may help some people avoid the onset of worsening conditions. As they advance, a person may need to seek out professional alcohol addiction treatment. Solution Based Treatment & Detox can help.
Understanding the Stages of Alcoholism
Addiction does not occur instantly. With alcoholism, it worsens over time as a person consumes more of the substance or does so more frequently. Binge drinking, in which a person consumes alcohol in large quantities in one sitting, can also lead to alcoholism. Most people follow these stages:
- Occasional Alcohol Abuse: In this initial stage, a person is testing their limits through experimentation. Some may binge drink. Binge drinking is defined as five or more alcoholic drinks in two hours for men and four or more for women.
- Increased Consumption: Drinking becomes more frequent, often going from a few weekends a month to drinking every weekend. It also starts to provide some benefits, such as alleviating stress or boredom. Sometimes drinking is a way to avoid loneliness.
- Problem Drinking: At this point, alcohol abuse is developing. A person is likely to engage in frequent and uncontrolled use. At this stage, a person is starting to feel the impact of their overconsumption. This may lead to relationship problems, reduced social activity, and changes in friends.
- Alcohol Dependence: At this level, a person is using alcohol on a routine basis, recognizing the negative outcome of their behavior but engaging anyway. Notable signs of withdrawal, such as agitation and insomnia, occur when alcohol is not available.
- Addiction and Alcoholism: At this final stage, a person drinks because they feel the physical and psychological need to do so. It’s no longer about pleasure but needing to do so. Compulsive behavior is common.
What Happens as Alcoholism Develops?
Habits change during these stages. However, other changes are evident as well. A person may become more withdrawn as alcohol addiction develops, pulling away from friends and family, even activities they once enjoyed. Additionally, health typically changes. Pain, stomach discomfort, and muscle wasting can occur.
It’s common to see signs of addiction worsening with symptoms such as:
- A drop in physical hygiene
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Agitation and increasing depression
- Erratic and reckless behavior development
- Challenges with relationships develop
Noticing these symptoms often indicates a person may benefit from support. Depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are a few of the mental health conditions that can also develop from alcohol abuse or other cases; these mental health challenges can lead to the onset of addiction.
Alcohol Treatment Can Begin Any Time
Substance abuse worsens over these stages, but a person can receive professional treatment at any stage of the process. Alcohol addiction will worsen without treatment, especially once a person cannot stop using on his or her own.
Our team offers a comprehensive level of care that includes individual and group therapy, mental health support, and evidence-based treatment. The severity of the addiction and stage also play a role in which level of treatment is best. Some of the options we offer for the treatment of alcohol addiction include:
- Alcohol detox programs
- Residential treatment programs
- Intensive outpatient programs
- Partial hospitalization program
- Faith-based treatment
- Dual diagnosis treatment
The sooner alcoholism treatment is sought, the faster the progression to addiction ends.
Embrace Treatment Now – Call Solution Based Treatment
Throughout all stages of alcoholism, treatment is available and can be effective. For those engaging in substance abuse of any type, Solution Based Treatment offers help. Our comprehensive programs provide new opportunities and healing. Learn more about them when you reach out online or call 833.999.1941 for immediate help.