Like most diseases, alcoholism occurs over a period of several months or years. Sometimes it can take so long to develop the addiction to alcohol that you don’t notice the stages of alcoholism as they are occurring. The main reason for this is that you and those around you grow accustomed to your behavior.
While moderate drinking isn’t a cause for concern, moderate drinking can turn into binge drinking, which turns into benders, which turns into an addiction. Eventually, the brain and body become so saturated with alcohol that you form a dependency. You no longer can see yourself living without a drink.
What are the Stages of Alcoholism?
Let’s take a closer look at the stages of alcoholism so that you can identify them when they occur.
Stage 1: Occasional Binges or Benders
Binges and benders are common with social drinkers. Many people report having an experience where they drank too much, got drunk, acted foolishly, and woke up the next morning with a hangover. For some binges are few are and far between. However, for others, binges set the stage for a much larger problem.
Binge drinkers often exceed the recommended limit for drinking. They drink more than they should even when they don’t mean to. Eventually, the binges occur at more frequent intervals. For instance, every Friday presents an opportunity to wasted.
Stage 2: Increased Alcohol Consumption
One of the most evident stages of alcoholism is increased alcohol consumption. As the effects of alcohol wear off, you may consume more to continue feeling drunk or relaxed. You may also get to the point where you have more excuses for drinking such as:
- Social events
- Relaxation or stress alleviation
- Mid-week hang out with friends
- Depression or anxiety
You continue to find more reasons to drink until one day you feel like you don’t need a reason anymore. You just drink.
Stage 3: Drinking Starts to Cause Problems
If you no longer have control over drinking, problems will arise that interfere with different areas of your life: work, family, school, health, mood, hobbies, etc. You may notice that your sleeping or eating patterns have changed. In addition, you feel isolated, depressed, or anxious.
You may also lose energy or motivation. You just want to stay in bed. You may start shirking your responsibilities or calling in sick from work too often. Other people start noticing the problems and may pull you aside to address your alcohol addiction.
Stage 4: Dependence & Addiction
Once your brain and body get used to large amounts of alcohol in your system, they form a dependency on the substance – one of the final stages of alcoholism. At this point, you have increased your alcohol consumption to high levels that are consistent on a near-daily basis. You get to the point where you feel as though you can no longer live without alcohol.
Even when you do stop drinking, you feel intense cravings. Furthermore, you may experience severe health problems or alcohol withdrawal symptoms if you go for any period without drinking.
Symptoms may include:
- Elevated heart rate
Once you get to this point, it is time to see a doctor or visit an alcohol addiction treatment center in Texas. You may need professional care and rehab.
Learn More About the Stages of Alcoholism
If you would like to learn more about the stages of alcoholism or discuss your addiction with alcohol, contact Right Step Hill Country today. We offer comprehensive treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Call us at 1.844.675.1628 to speak with a treatment specialist and get started with your treatment.