Moderate drinking is usually fine for most adults. However, when your drinking gets out of control, it can eventually develop into an addiction. Still, it’s important to remember that there are different alcoholism stages. Recognizing these stages can help you see if your drinking is taking a dangerous turn and how to intervene.
Alcoholism Stages: Signs And Symptoms
Occasional heavy drinking
The first of the alcoholism stages is occasional excessive drinking. This tends to occur when someone is new to drinking and trying to experiment with different types of alcohol. As a result, it’s usually young adults who do it the most.
Drinkers in this stage tend to engage in binge drinking quite often. While they may not drink all the time, they consume a lot of alcohol when they do. Some may think this is safe when done occasionally, but that’s far from the truth. Excessive drinking at any time can pose serious health risks and lead to heavier abuse down the line.
Over time, occasional binging can turn into the next alcoholism stage, which is a constant heavier intake. Now, instead of drinking every once in a while, a person will drink every weekend or so. It could be used as a way to socialize, or to cope with stress, boredom, or sadness. Still, the drinking hasn’t passed into near-abuse territory quite yet.
Rather, things become more dangerous when someone starts to drink frequently and with no control. Whereas before a person had reasons to drink, now they’ll start to drink just to feel good. This can start to impact their health and mood in a negative manner, but the want to drink will make them not care and continue. A person may also see their personal life impacted by their drinking.
Dependence and addiction
The last alcoholism stages are dependence and full-on addiction. At dependence, a person has lost nearly all control over their drinking. Any old routines they’ve had have been taken over by alcohol. They’ve also developed a higher tolerance, requiring them to consume more in order to achieve similar effects to before.
Addiction is the final stage, and the one with the most dangers. Here, a person has a physical and psychological need to drink. If they don’t, then their body will experience withdrawal symptoms. When this occurs, it’s crucial a person gets help as soon as possible.