Stages of alcoholism: when is it a problem?

Alcoholism can simply be defined as alcohol dependence or continued consumption of alcohol despite the negative consequences it poses on an individual’s health and social relationships. It is viewed differently by various groups of people. Some think that alcoholism is a self-inflicted condition that can be stopped if the alcoholic wishes to. As a result, those who fail to easily withdraw from using alcohol are deemed to be weak. On the other hand, some people understand that alcohol dependency is an illness and an addiction. Both of these beliefs can be true though those who fail to withdraw from alcohol usage are not necessarily weak. It is really hard to stop an addiction, most especially if the reason behind addiction is still left unresolved. This is the reason why psychological treatments are also given to patients who are working towards ending their addiction. Psychological treatment is administered to help resolve the alcoholic’s underlying issues and to help prevent a relapse.Alcoholism is a condition in which someone is physically dependent on the substance and cannot stop drinking through voluntary choice.  Someone with alcoholism will experience cravings, physical dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not consumed as it regularly would be.

Alcoholism has nothing at all to do with someone’s willpower or moral character. People from all walks of life can become dependent on alcohol and it can happen to anyone. The disease of alcoholism causes an extreme stronghold over someone and what was once a voluntary choice to drink is no longer a consideration. There are people who have no understanding of alcoholism and think someone can simply walk away from alcohol when they desire. But in truth, most people who are dealing with alcoholism will require the help of an alcohol treatment program in order to successfully recover and heal.

Why is it important to discover the hidden reasons behind drinking alcohol?

There are many reasons which could motivate someone to seek out alcohol. Some people abuse alcohol to escape from stress, others use it to relax and sometimes people abuse it to forget about a painful past. Through going into an alcohol treatment program and discovering the hidden reasons behind your drinking, you can deal with these issues in a healthy manner and develop the ability to live without resorting to alcohol when something bad or stressful happens.

Researchers suggest that every minute 0.7% of the world’s population is intoxicated. That is, 50 million people are drunk now. This means that almost every family has an alcoholic. Learn how to deal with this disaster.

Alcoholism stages

There are socially acceptable amounts of alcohol consumption that do not pose any health problems. It is generally fine for healthy men to have up to two glasses of alcohol and for healthy non-pregnant women to have a glass, but they may, later on, develop a form of alcohol dependency otherwise known as alcoholism. Frequent small amounts of alcohol intake may be considered alcoholism since alcoholics are not necessarily only those who are intoxicated all the time. There are three stages of alcohol dependency, categorized according to severity. These stages usually take years to develop, which may start from the casual everyday intake of small amounts of alcohol.

It is sometimes hard to tell that a person is already in the early stage of alcoholism. Most of the people in this stage look like they are sober when you interact with them. In most cases, they are really not really intoxicated, since their alcohol intake is relatively low and can be handled by their bodies. Usually, the people who are in this stage take in alcohol as a way of achieving a certain feeling or mood, or to simply take relief in drinking alcohol. What they usually don’t observe is that their body’s alcohol tolerance level is changing, and they are beginning to drink more and more to continue in achieving the mood or the relief that they are after.

Next, people move up to the middle stages of alcoholism. People in this stage may already recognize that they have a problem with drinking, but maybe afraid to deal with it. It is also in this stage that illnesses such as stomach problems, blackouts, and hangovers are common. This is also the reason why many people start to drink at the beginning of the day: to relieve a hangover. In this stage, the body may start to have a decrease in the alcohol tolerance level, so people in this stage get intoxicated faster. Most importantly, it is in this stage that some people totally lose control of the amount of alcohol they take in because they can no longer measure how much alcohol their bodies can handle.

The end-stage of alcohol dependency is the most severe in all aspects. People in this stage are already obsessed with drinking, whether they are already experiencing all sorts of illnesses brought about by their excessive consumption of alcohol. Social problems may also arise at this point as other people can tell that people in this stage have problems with drinking. The extreme result of this stage, when not cured, can be death due to much deterioration of health, or it can be self-inflicted.

What role does genetics play in the development of alcohol?

It is important to realize there are many things that play a role in the development of alcoholism and one important facet is genetics.  Someone has a greater chance of developing an alcohol problem if he or she were to grow up in a home with an alcoholic parent or caregiver. Alcoholism runs in the family, but it does not necessarily mean someone will develop the problem because there are steps that can be taken to prevent it from happening. If you are experiencing an issue with alcohol, the best way to approach the matter is through receiving help from an alcoholism rehab center.

Severe cases of alcoholism have four basic manifestations:

– Craving or obsession with a drink. Many alcoholics become aware that they have a problem in the middle stage of their alcoholism, and yet they choose to continue drinking alcohol because it’s a compulsion they cannot avoid.

– Impaired control. Alcoholics tend to lose control over the frequency and the place where they drink, which is why they often get into trouble such as law disobedience or losing their job.

– The physical dependence on alcohol. Alcoholics do not only have a psychological dependence on consuming alcohol. Abrupt withdrawal from alcohol use may lead to physical conditions like nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety. Many people would rather consume more alcohol than to feel these consequences.

– Alcohol tolerance. Alcoholics tend to consume more and more alcohol as they become addicted to it because the body no longer recognizes it and then becomes immune to its effect. Alcohol’s effects become recognized only when greater amounts are taken in.

The longer you engage in out of control of alcohol consumption, the worse the situation will become. You do not need to continue risking everything you have worked so hard for just to continue feeding your alcoholism because you can make better choices.

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Dr. Michael I. Gurevich

Dr. Michael I. Gurevich

Best addiction specialist in New York.

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Dr. Gurevich has over 20 years of experience in the field of psychiatry and addiction treatment. He received his medical education at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine at Elmhurst, as well as further education in child psychiatry. He has a certificate for work as a psychiatrist and neurologist, a license to work as a specialist in general and child psychiatry, as well as a specialist in the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction.