Alcoholism, now referred to as alcohol use disorder, is a condition that makes one consume alcohol even when it is impacting them and their family negatively. A person with this condition has a long-term addiction and doesn’t know when he/she has to stop drinking. For the majority of their time every day, they keep thinking of alcohol and have no control over it. Overconsumption of alcohol starts causing severe problems related to their work, relationships, and money in their life.
Such people require an appropriate alcohol treatment for their alcohol use disorder, which tends to become worse with time. Doctors and rehab centers consider several factors, including stages and characteristics of alcoholism, for creating the most ideal treatments and recovery plans for those with alcohol use disorders.
What are the Stages of Alcoholism?
Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder affects a large number of populations, including adults as well as teenagers. The most disturbing aspect of this complex problem is that it starts somewhere, and then goes on to become difficult and threatening. Therefore, the family and friends must know the initial signs of this drinking disorder well. To ease the complication and confusion, alcoholism has been classified into different stages –
- Early Stage: The first stage of alcohol use disorder is about the increase in drinking, which can either be starting drinking more frequently or in larger quantities. If you feel you or your friend/family member has lately started drinking multiple drinks in a short period, you should know that it can be the start of a drinking disorder. This doesn’t mean that every person who has started to binge drink would develop a drinking problem, but it sure increases the risk. Other signs indicating the early stage of alcoholism are drinking to get rid of stress or sadness, frequently blacking out, and developing a tolerance for higher alcohol doses.
- Middle Stage: By the time a person enters the middle stage of the alcohol use disorder, cravings and dependence sets in. From an occasional thing, drinking becomes an everyday habit. They start craving alcohol almost all the time. Dependence increases so much so that people start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, nausea, sweating, appetite loss, paleness, and agitation.
- Late Stage: By the time people reach this stage, they have severe alcohol addiction issues that have started interfering with their mental and physical well-being. They get affected by their alcohol use disorder so much that they fail to work normally as per their daily routine. Such individuals often develop stress or depression and start taking less care of their hygiene and appearance.
- End-Stage: The most frightening of all, the end stage of alcoholism or alcohol abuse disorder is the end-stage. It is all about complete loss of control over one’s drinking and feeling hopeless about getting rid of it. By this time, a person develops several medical problems caused by the damaging effects of alcohol on the liver, heart, kidneys and brain. They might develop some life-threatening conditions also if an ideal alcohol treatment isn’t sought on time. No matter how hopeless alcoholics feel when in this stage of alcoholism, they must know that their condition is still treatable and several things can be done to reverse the damage.
What are the Complications of Alcohol Use Disorder?
Every addiction starts with one trial, which is often made for fun. Compelled by friends or peers saying there’s always a first time, for many, there is no looking back until the first time becomes a heavy addiction. The most common complications that alcohol abuse brings into life include fatigue, memory loss, gastrointestinal problems, liver diseases, diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, erectile dysfunction, disrupted menstruation, thinning bones, cancer, and mental illnesses. Those who drink excessively are also more prone to road traffic accidents or injuries caused by falls.
Women who are hard drinkers have high chances of developing fetal alcohol syndrome, which is responsible for causing birth defects in babies. They might take birth with cognitive problems, heart problems, and issues like a small head or shortened eyelids. Because of the nervous system problems caused by excessive drinking, people have shortened attention spans, disordered thinking, and dementia, leaving a negative impact on their work.
Due to the mental illness that alcoholism causes, people are more susceptible to developing suicidal tendencies. There is a record showing a high suicide rate among people with alcohol use disorder. Such people also end up having bad relations with their family members, and they often get caught up in spouse-beating and fight with neighbors.
With the correct support and ideal alcohol treatment, making lives better and reversing the damage is possible. Those dealing with alcohol use disorder simply have to have ample support from their loved ones and proper guidance from a rehab center or hospital.