Rehubs

Our Guide To The Stages Of Alcohol Addiction

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Alcohol addiction is a deeply personal struggle and breaking the cycle of alcohol addiction can be incredibly difficult. However, it is not impossible. It is important to identify the root cause of your alcohol problem to take your steps toward recovery.

Reaching out to a close friend or relative you can trust, or reaching out to one of our trustworthy consultants at Rehubs, can be a great first step. There is always someone willing to help and understand what you are going through.

At Rehubs, we understand the complexities and challenges that come with addiction, and we’re here to offer guidance and support with empathy and understanding.

Alcohol addiction typically progresses through several distinct stages, each marked by characteristics and behaviours. While not everyone may experience every stage in the same way, recognising these patterns can help identify what support is needed. Here are the different stages of alcohol addiction:

 

Stage 1 – Pre Alcoholic

This is where it all begins. During this stage, you may find yourself binge drinking more than you usually would or turning to alcohol to relieve stress and increase your mood. Although drinking socially may feel harmless to begin with, it is easy to fall into a cycle.

Many binge drinkers don’t realise the severity of their frequent drinking so you should always listen to family and friends if they bring up that they are worried.

If you feel like you may be using alcohol as a coping mechanism, or you can feel that it may have even the slightest bit of control over your life or could be impacting some of your life choices, then you must discuss this with a professional or someone you are close to. Excessive drinking and the stages of alcoholism can progress very quickly.

 

Potential Consequences

Physical Health – Occasional hangovers, minor digestion problems and stomach bloating, weight gain due to excessive calorie intake from alcohol, early signs of alcohol intolerance and a poor sleeping routine.

Emotional Well-being – Poor mood, guilt and regret post drinking (hangxiety), increased stress and anxiety which can then lead to more drinking.

Social and Professional – Minor judgment, leading to damaged friendships, underperformance or unexplained absences from work, and potentially risky behaviours such as drunk driving.

Financial – Increased spending on alcohol, substituting other essentials for alcohol.

 

Stage 2 – Early Stages

This stage of alcohol abuse is filled with uncertainty and confusion, where the line between enjoyment and dependency begins to blur.

Despite the warning signs – the missed obligations, the strained relationships – it can be difficult to acknowledge the impact that alcohol is having on your life as you consume alcohol more and more. You may be in denial that it has now become a problem.

In this stage, you may experience memory blackouts, you may start drinking in secret or lie about drinking you may start to rely on alcohol more and more.

You may start drinking regularly and at unusual times such as in the morning. This stage is crucial for acknowledging your problem and you must reach out.

 

Potential Consequences

Physical Health – Regular and extreme hangovers, onset liver problems, and weakened immune system leading to frequent sickness and even insomnia.

Emotional Well-being – Negative feelings of shame and guilt, low self-esteem, constantly irritated, defensive if someone brings up your drinking habits or tells you to stop drinking.

Social and Professional – Damaged personal relationships due to unexplained absences or unpredictable behaviour, criticism from colleagues or superiors at work, and decreased professionalism.

Financial – Increased spending on alcohol is starting to interfere with you financially.

 

Stage 3 – Middle Stage

This is the stage where your addiction may become more obvious. You may be hiding your drinking from family and friends and drinking earlier on in the day.

You have developed alcohol dependence and may experience slight alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating and tremors. These symptoms can start soon after your last drink. You may find yourself trying to reduce your drinking but not being able to. You may also notice increased mood swings and irritability.

 

Potential Consequences

Physical health – Liver and digestive problems, vitamin deficiencies which can lead to you having skin and dental issues, weakened heart muscles and nerve damage.

Emotional Well-being – Extreme anxiety and depression, feeling suicidal and hopeless. You may also be aggressive and agitated.

Social and Professional – Damaged relationships you feel can no longer be repaired, isolating yourself from family and friends, loss or change of employment.

Financial – Financial problems may have worsened due to your constant spending on alcohol or possible job loss.

 

Stage 4 – Fully Developed Alcoholism

This stage is the most severe form of alcohol dependency. You may have developed a high tolerance to alcohol, needing increasing amounts to achieve the desired effects. You may experience withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, making it difficult to stop or reduce your alcohol consumption without professional help.

Physical health problems, such as liver diseases, heart issues, and neurological damage, become more pronounced and can be life-threatening.

It is important to remember that recovery is possible, even in stage 4 of alcoholism with this level of alcohol abuse. With the right support and treatment, you can regain control of your life and rebuild relationships, finding hope and healing along the journey to sobriety.

 

Potential Consequences

Physical Health – Extreme damage to vital organs, including cirrhosis of the liver which can lead to liver failure, brain damage leading to cognitive impairments, and increased risk of cancer. Poor personal hygiene.

Emotional Well-being – You may feel paranoid and may even start to hallucinate. You could also be affected by mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Social and Professional – You have completely isolated yourself from other people, you may have been turned away by family and friends. You could find yourself homeless or without a job, which can lead to drug abuse.

Financial – You may find yourself depending on social services or charities, potential loss of assets such as your home, your car and your life insurance policy.

 

Stage 5 – Making Steps to Sobriety

Stage 5 is identifying your problems and wanting to make a change to stop drinking, there are many support groups and treatment options out there.

Here at Rehubs, we can help anyone dealing with alcohol issues, whether you’re in the early alcoholic stages or you’re in the final stage with physical dependence on alcohol.

We aim to ensure everyone can access the proper treatment they need. Alcohol use disorder can affect anyone – so remember that you are not alone in this and you should reach out to a consultant for your free consultation to start your rehab journey today.

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