Major Alcoholism Stages
Most experts agree there are basically three main alcoholism stages that mark the progression into addiction. These stages gradually lead to a complete physical/mental/emotional dependency. Learning to recognize the various alcoholism stages can lead to a better understanding of this disease and when to seek help for yourself or some you care about. The following slide show provides information about alcoholism, recovery and possible relapse.
Stage One: Early Alcoholism
In the early stage of alcoholism, a person who originally began drinking for entertainment now finds it's possible to consume even more alcohol before becoming drunk. This is because the body is beginning to physically adapt. At this stage, the user may not be aware of a growing chemical dependency.
Stage Two: Mid-Stage Alcoholism
Drinking is done less for entertainment and used more as a survival mechanism. Physical dependency becomes more evident with the onset of alcohol cravings and a gradual loss of control over consumption. Drinking may now affect a person's relationships and employment, although he or she may still be in denial about the addiction.
Stage Three: Late Stage Alcoholism
Drinking is no longer voluntary; all control over alcohol is completely gone. Drinking goes on at all hours of the day. Physical illness and mental instability become evident. Without intervention, the user faces certain death, and it may indeed be too late for medical help if organ damage is evident.
It's possible to seek help and begin recovery during any stage of alcoholism, although the toll the disease has taken on the body will affect the degree of recovery possible. Counselors, physicians and dependency clinics can all provide recovery resources. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous can also provide support for the recovering addict.
Relapse Is Possible
It's important to understand that there is no "cure" for alcoholism, and it is very possible to have a relapse. This relapse can range from a one-time incident to a temporary relapse to a complete surrender to the disease. Therefore, it's vital to remain vigilant and continue seeking help as often as needed. Recovery is a life-long process, but it is possible.
For more tips, check out Drunk Driving Prevention.