Sheila noticed that her husband had been drinking more lately. Normally, he would only occasionally drink when they were with friends, but lately, he has been drinking daily. She is starting to get worried about him, but she doesn’t know how to approach him about the conversation. She wants him to seek treatment before it becomes too much for both of them.
In 2020, 21.9% of men and 12.4% of women participated in excessive drinking in Ohio. It is never too early or late to seek treatment for an alcohol use disorder at any stage. At Superior Behavioral Health, we provide a small, intimate family feel that can help you feel comfortable in your treatment – no matter what stage of alcohol use disorder you find yourself in. Today, let’s talk about the 4 stages of alcoholism.
The Four Main Stages of Alcohol Use Disorder:
Remember that seeking treatment at any stage is possible, even when it feels like it’s not. While the earlier stages are easier to seek treatment in, it is not impossible to seek treatment at any point. Recovery is always possible.
The Pre-Alcohol Use Disorder Stage
People in this stage of an alcohol use disorder might begin drinking to cope with day-to-day life. They might participate in binge drinking, categorized as 5 drinks for men and 4 drinks for women in a 2-hour time frame. Or they might drink just because they are bored or to relieve stress. People in this stage might begin to develop a higher tolerance to alcohol, and they might experience blackouts while drinking.
Early-Stage Alcohol Use Disorder
During this stage, cravings for alcohol might begin. People will start to spend large portions of their time drinking, and those around them might begin to notice their drinking habits. Alcohol dependence will start to show, as will withdrawal symptoms if they decide to stop drinking. These symptoms can include depression, increased heartbeat, and loss of appetite.
The Middle Alcohol Use Disorder Stage
This stage brings a higher level of alcohol dependence. People will have become tolerant of drinking, which leads them to drink even more to get the same effect. Alcohol becomes a significant part of their day-to-day life. Their thoughts are about how to get alcohol and when to drink. Many might start their day by drinking. Relationships with others might worsen at this stage, and they might feel sick when not drinking.
End-Stage Alcohol Use Disorder
At this stage, alcohol has taken control of their life. They feel this intense desire to drink, and they might feel like they can’t control that feeling. Their body requires alcohol, and when it doesn’t get alcohol, the person will experience withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings. At this stage, withdrawal symptoms might include:
- Mood swings
- Sleep problems
This level of alcohol use disorder can cause serious medical concerns to the heart, kidneys, liver, and brain. Seeking help at this stage can be difficult, but it is not impossible.
What Are Some Signs of the Stages of Alcoholism?
There are several signs of an alcohol use disorder that someone might experience. They might not be able to limit how much alcohol they drink or have a strong desire to drink when they are not drinking. They might experience withdrawal symptoms. People with an alcohol use disorder will spend a lot of time getting alcohol or drinking alcohol. They will not complete their responsibilities at home or work and instead choose to drink alcohol instead of addressing any concerns in their social life, relationships, or work performance. Some people will even give up activities that they used to enjoy to drink, while others will use alcohol when it is not safe to do so.
When Drinking Becomes a Concern
It can be challenging to know if getting help for an alcohol use disorder is something you need to do. Many people want to figure things out independently. However, the most significant sign that you might need help for an alcohol use disorder is if you are experiencing intense cravings that make you feel like you have lost control of your alcohol use. You might feel like you drink too much, or your family has mentioned their concerns to you about your alcohol use. If you are experiencing alcohol side effects, such as depression or anxiety, it is time to consider seeking alcohol use disorder treatment.
Strategies for Helping Someone Through the Stages of Alcoholism
It can be challenging to watch your loved one have an alcohol use disorder. Your loved one might not even recognize having an alcohol use disorder and might not be receptive to your concerns. However, there are some things that you can do. Do not use the word “alcoholic,” but instead use person-first language, such as “a person with an alcohol use disorder.” Share your concerns by using “I statements” such as “I want” or “I feel.” Offer to do activities that don’t involve alcohol, such as a walk in the park or seeing a movie.
Please encourage them to seek treatment in some form and be supportive when they decide to go. Most importantly of all, seek support for yourself. Go to family support groups or talk with friends and family you can trust. It can be stressful, but you don’t have to do it alone.
Get Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder
When the desire to get treatment occurs, the motivation can often decrease as the cravings increase. Getting treatment started sooner rather than later can keep their motivation going. Located in Garfield Heights, OH, Superior Behavioral Health offers same-day appointments that allow you to get started on treatment while your motivation is still there. For more information or to get started on your treatment, call today at 216-435-1110.
FAQs About the Stages of Alcoholism
What is Stage 3 alcoholic?
The 3rd stage of an alcohol use disorder involves increased alcohol use and tolerance to alcohol. People in this stage might start having relationship concerns or drinking in the morning.
What are the 4 types of alcoholics?
The 4 types of people with an alcohol use disorder are those with an uncontrollable need for alcohol, those who drink because of a mental health concern such as depression, those who drink alcohol periodically but also alongside a mental health disorder such as bipolar disorder, and the people who use alcohol regularly and socially.
What are the stages of the alcohol breakdown?
The 4 stages of an alcohol use disorder are the pre-stage, the early stage, the middle stage, and the end stage.