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What Is the Jellinek Curve?

Alcohol addiction is a devastating chronic condition that can affect anyone. Spotting this condition early on is one of the best ways to help prevent it from robbing you of your health. But how do you know when your drinking habits have gone from harmless fun to a potentially dangerous condition? Understanding the Jellinek Curve and addiction phases can be eye-opening, as you might discover that your drinking behaviors are responsible for some of the current challenges in your life.

If you are wondering, “What is the Jellinek Curve?” The Right Step Hill Country can help explain. We can also help with addiction treatment. If you need help getting control of your alcohol consumption, contact The Right Step Hill Country at 1.844.675.1628. Our addiction treatment programs are designed to help you recover regardless of which stage of the Jellinek Curve you are in.

What Is the Jellinek Curve?

If you are asking yourself, “What is the Jellinek Curve?” then you are not alone. The Jellinek Curve is named after the researcher Dr. Elvin Morton Jellinek, best known for his work in the field of alcohol addiction. The Jellinek Curve is a model of the progression of alcohol use disorder (AUD) used to help addiction treatment professionals recognize the severity of addiction in their clients. It is also a useful tool for understanding whether you or a loved one’s drinking behavior might be a concern and heading toward addiction.

The Jellinek Curve and Addiction Phases

The Jellinek Curve outlines five distinct phases of alcohol addiction:

1. The Pre-Alcoholic Phase

The first phase on the Jellinek Curve is the pre-alcoholic phase, during which a person:

  • Starts experimenting with alcohol in social situations
  • Uses alcohol to relax
  • Drinks to minimize mental health symptoms like depression or anxiety

The beginning stage of pre-alcoholism can be one of the trickiest to spot since many people take for granted that alcohol consumption, even excessive consumption, is normal on the weekends, at parties, or other celebrations. Binge drinking is commonplace on many college campuses or bars and nightclubs, and no one usually thinks that they or their friends are headed toward addiction when drinking heavily during these outings.

2. The Prodromal Phase

The second phase of the Jellinek Curve, the prodromal phase, is also referred to as early-stage alcoholism. At this stage, tolerance increases, and the person’s consumption becomes more frequent and consistent. The occasional nights out may increase to each weekend, with regular binge drinking sessions. Also, the person may start to experience a negative impact on their personal and professional life, such as having a hard time at work or keeping up with other responsibilities due to hangovers.

3. The Crucial Phase

The third phase of alcohol use disorder, the crucial phase, is also known as the middle alcoholic stage. The crucial phase is named as such because it marks a significant turning point as the consequences of alcohol use become more evident. The physical, psychological, and social effects of addiction start to become more apparent to others. Relationships are strained, and the risk of job loss increases. They have difficulty controlling their alcohol intake and need higher amounts of alcohol to achieve the same level of intoxication.

4. The Chronic Phase

By the time a person reaches the chronic phase, also referred to as end-stage alcoholism, alcohol addiction has become deeply ingrained. The detrimental effects extend to one’s mental and physical health, including liver damage, cognitive impairment, and emotional instability. Many people at this stage find it difficult to hold down a job or relationship and start to isolate themselves, spending much of their time-consuming alcohol or recovering from its effects.

5. The Rehabilitation and Recovery Phase

The rehabilitation and recovery phase begins when a person recognizes they have an addiction and commits to quitting. They might try to go cold turkey on their own or reach out to an addiction treatment center for professional help. Either way, some relapse and move through the phases again, as is the cycle of alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, some people hit rock bottom and never reach the rehabilitation phase, instead losing their lives to the addiction.

Get Help for Alcohol Addiction by Calling The Right Step Hill Country

If the Jellinek Curve has shown that you or a loved one is progressing toward alcohol use disorder, there is no better time to seek help than now. Our team at The Right Step Hill Country has the experience and expertise to help you through the rehab and recovery phase and onto a life free from addiction. Remember, it is never too late to get help for alcohol addiction, no matter which stage of the Jellinek Curve you are on. The Right Step Hill Country is here to support you through your recovery. Call us at 1.844.675.1628 or complete our contact form to schedule an intake assessment.

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