Alcohol addiction occurs for several reasons. Individuals can be motivated by a variety of emotions, situations, and traumas. What is certain is that no one chooses to become an alcoholic. Furthermore, the disease progresses over time so one doesn’t suddenly become an alcoholic. Each person’s journey to addiction will be unique to them. However, even though each case is different, people who suffer from alcohol use disorders tend to go through a similar five stages of alcohol addiction.
There’s no set time period over which these stages occur. So, while some people may take a long time to progress from stage one to five, other people may do so quite quickly. In any case, as soon as you realize you have a problem with alcohol use, you should seek professional help. If you notice signs of alcohol misuse or addiction in a loved one, you should encourage them to seek help. You don’t have to wait until the situation reaches stage five. Let’s look at what typically happens during each stage.
Stage 1: Experimentation
Most people have their first taste of alcohol when they are teenagers, but some may try it at an even younger age. At this point, they may decide whether or not they like the taste or how drinking makes them feel. Some young people drink even if they don’t like the effects. This is usually because of peer pressure or fear of missing out. Most teenagers don’t go on to develop an alcohol use disorder after experimenting. However, some find that alcohol helps to reduce their anxiety, relieve pain or erase bad memories. These individuals could go on to develop alcohol dependence.
Stage 2: Increased Tolerance
If a person continues to drink alcohol regularly, they will build up a tolerance. This means the effects are reduced each time they drink. If they are seeking to achieve a particular feeling, they will need to consume more and more alcohol each time. If two drinks were enough to calm their anxiety when they first started drinking, they may find they now need three or four drinks to feel the same way.
Stage 3: Adverse Effects
With continued misuse of alcohol, the substance may begin to have a negative impact on the user’s life. Excessive drinking can damage relationships with relatives and friends and impact the individual’s work performance. It can also lead to financial problems. Friends and family are usually the first to notice that something is wrong. At this stage, alcohol also begins to have an adverse effect on the individual’s health. It can cause sleep problems that lead to anxiety or depression.
People in danger of becoming addicted to alcohol may also take unnecessary risks while drinking or drink at times they normally wouldn’t. If your drinking habits have been causing problems in your life, you should reach out for help at this point. Early intervention makes a successful recovery more likely. It also helps you to avoid the mental and physical health issues that could be coming. You don’t have to go through all five stages of alcohol addiction if you already know you have an alcohol-related problem.
Stage 4: Dependence
Over time, the brain and body get used to the presence of alcohol and they become physically dependent. When you’re not drinking, you will experience withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, sweating, shaking and headaches. Psychological dependence can also develop. This means you may feel you need a drink in order to function normally. You may think about alcohol all the time or neglect other activities so you can drink.
Stage 5: Addiction
When you develop an alcohol addiction, you lose all control over your consumption. You will drink to reduce the physical symptoms of withdrawal or because you feel anxious when you’re not drinking. You won’t be able to stop drinking even if you want to. You could also start to experience more health problems including heart, liver or kidney disease, paranoia, and dementia.
Get Help from Asheville Recovery Center if You’ve Experienced the Five Stages of Alcohol Addiction
Some people go through all these stages without realizing it. Some don’t notice that they’ve been increasing their consumption. Others are unaware of how dangerous their drinking practices are. Alcoholism can damage your mind and body and make your relationships difficult. However, you can recover with the right personalized addiction treatment. To escape the stages of addiction, you need to seek professional help. Contact Asheville Recovery Center today and schedule a consultation with a recovery specialist.