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  1. #1
    Registered User. mario's Avatar

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    The 4 stages of alcoholism

    Alcoholism is a progressive degenerative disease that includes the following four symptoms: craving, physical dependence, tolerance, and the loss of control.

    Alcoholism is a complex topic that can be better understood when it is studied and assessed via the four alcoholism stages. And keep in mind that when the term "alcoholism" is used, this also means "alcohol addiction," "alcohol dependency," or "alcohol dependence."

    Alcoholism: The First Stage

    In the first stage of alcoholism, drinking is no longer social but becomes a means of emotional escape from inhibitions, problems, inhibitions. Stated differently, during the first stage of alcoholism, drinking is, in many instances, a psychological attempt to escape from reality. For instance, early in the disease an individual starts to depend on the mood-altering effects of alcohol.

    Another observable characteristic of the first stage of alcoholism is that a slow and gradual increase in tolerance develops, meaning that more and more amounts of alcohol are needed for the individual to "get high" or to "feel the buzz." For example, it is common for problem drinkers in the first stage of alcoholism to start gulping one or two drinks before attending a social function and then to increase social drinking to 3 to 5 drinks per day.

    Alcoholism: The Second Stage

    In the second stage of alcoholism, the need to drink becomes more powerful. For example, it is common during this stage for the problem drinker to start to drink earlier in the day.

    As tolerance increases, furthermore, the individual with the drinking problem drinks not because of psychological tension or stress relief, but because of his or her dependence on alcohol. During this stage of the disease, even though the "loss of control" does not occur on a regular basis, it is, nevertheless, starting to become more noticeable by others such as relatives, family members, neighbors, friends, and co-workers.

    Also during this stage of the disease, the problem drinker may begin to feel more concerned and embarrassed about his or her drinking. Often during this stage, problem drinkers are unsuccessful in their attempts to stop drinking.

    In this stage, physical symptoms such as hangovers, blackouts, hand tremors, and stomach problems increase. Interestingly, instead of seeing their drinking as the root of the many problems and issues they experience, however, drinkers with a drinking problem in this stage frequently start to blame others and things external to themselves for their difficulties.

    Alcoholism: The Third Stage

    In the third stage of alcoholism, the loss of control becomes more severe and more observable. This means that problem drinkers are unable to drink in accordance with their intentions. For example, once the individual takes the first drink, he or she commonly can no longer control further drinking behavior, in spite of the fact that the intent might have been to have just "one or two drinks." It should be stressed that an important aspect of this stage of the illness is the following: the drinker often starts to experience more serious drinking problems as well as alcohol-related employment, relationship, financial, and legal problems.

    In the third stage of alcoholism, it is common for the problem drinker to start avoiding friends and family and to show a lack of interest in activities and events that once were fun or important. Also typical during this stage are "eye-openers," that is, drinks that are taken whenever the problem drinker awakens. Eye-openers are taken mainly to "calm the nerves," lessen a hangover, or to quiet the feelings of remorse the individual occasionally experiences after a period of time without consuming a drink.

    As the drinking increases the individual with the drinking problem starts to neglect most things of importance, even necessities such as food, water, personal hygiene, shelter, and personal interaction. And finally, during this stage, the drinker often makes half-hearted attempts at getting professional medical assistance.

    Alcoholism: The Fourth Stage

    The fourth and last stage of alcoholism is characterized by a chronic loss of control. In the earlier stages of the illness, the problem drinker may have been successful in maintaining a job. Due to the fact that drinking during this stage frequently starts earlier in the day and commonly continues throughout the day, however, few, if any, full-time jobs can be maintained under these conditions.

    In the earlier stages of the illness, the problem drinker had a choice whether he or she would take the first drink. After taking the first drink, the drinker typically lost all control and would then continue drinking. In the last stage of alcoholism, however, alcoholics no longer have a choice: they need to drink in order to function on a daily basis.

    During the fourth stage of alcoholism, benders are typical. More to the point, in the fourth stage of alcoholism the alcoholic frequently gets helplessly drunk and may remain in this predicament for a number of days or weeks. The unattainable goal for the drinker while engaging in his or her bender is to experience the "high" they he or she once experienced.

    In the second or third stages of alcoholism the drinker's hands may have trembled slightly on mornings after getting drunk the previous night. In the fourth and last stage of alcoholism, conversely, alcoholics get "the shakes" whenever they attempt or are forced to refrain from drinking.

    These tremors are an indication of a serious nervous disorder that now affects the drinker's entire body. When "the shakes" are combined with hallucinations, furthermore, the result is known as "the DTs" or delirium tremens. The DTs are a potentially deadly kind of alcoholism withdrawal that almost always takes place unless the alcoholic receives immediate alcoholism treatment. It may come as no surprise that after an attack of the DTs, more than a few alcoholics promise to never drink again. Sadly, most of them do not and cannot fulfill their promise. Consequently, they more often than not return to drinking and the alcoholic drinking patterns and drinking problem start all over again.


    From the information discussed above, it can be concluded that the four stages of alcoholism paint a bleak picture for individuals who are alcohol addicted. Perhaps learning about the destructive and damaging outcomes and the unhealthy nature of alcoholism may not make a much of an impact on most individuals who are already chronically alcohol dependent.

    It is hoped, however, that by exposing the facts about alcohol dependency and about the stages of alcoholism to our youth BEFORE they start consuming alcohol in an abuse and irresponsible manner will prevent many of our teenagers from experiencing the drinking problems and the unhealthy and devastating realities suffered by most alcoholics

    Finding a quality treatment program can be a difficult process. That's why it is important to log on & post here daily and of course other forums or organisations like this,
    copied from web.

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  3. #2
    Registered User. one2many's Avatar

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    The 4 stages of alcoholism

    Excellent post Mario. Thank you xxx

  4. #3
    Registered User. Panno's Avatar

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    The 4 stages of alcoholism

    Thanks for posting this Mario

  5. #4
    Forum Subscriber. techie's Avatar

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    The 4 stages of alcoholism

    GREAT POST!!!

  6. #5
    Registered User. Doggygirl's Avatar

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    The 4 stages of alcoholism

    Thanks Mario. I identified strongly with everything in Stages 1 - 3. I was making headway into Stage 4 (from the info in your post) in the end. I'm grateful I was married and that Mr. Doggy was "carrying me" professionally / financially in the last couple of years because my ability to hold down a regular job (in an office, reporting to work from 8 to 5, with an "on premise" boss) was LONG gone.

    I am so grateful to be sober today.

    DG

  7. #6
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    The 4 stages of alcoholism

    Thank you Mario, it is such a scary picture that I'm going to start my Antabuse again. Although I'm scared of the effects of Antabuse on my liver it sure is no worse then what the alcohol is doing.

  8. #7
    Registered User. mario's Avatar

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    The 4 stages of alcoholism

    neva eva;933110 wrote: Thank you, Mario.
    I feel like I know so well the 'stages' having lived them and then being bludgeoned with them in treatment.
    But reading that helped me think about my own drinking pattern in a different way. Very interesting. If you don't mind, where did you find it?
    eva
    Sorry about the delay neva,just seen this....About.com.alcoholism you can sign up and get more info from them,

  9. #8
    Registered User. Cinders's Avatar

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    The 4 stages of alcoholism

    Mario,

    I am glad I read the post this morning. Sober.

    I learned this in rehab, also, but only listened and didn't hear.

    I am definitely a 4th stage alcoholic. No question.

    I don't have many, if any, more "sobers" in me.

    It is also true, at least for me, that when I go a period AF and relapse, I pick up right where I left off.

    Thank you,
    Cindi

  10. #9
    Registered User. momof3's Avatar

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    The 4 stages of alcoholism

    This is a great description of the 4 stages. I have never seen them so well described before. I was solidly in Stage 3 when I finally said "enough" and stopped. My life was fallling apart for sure.

    I was probably in Stage 1 for 10 - 15 years; Stage 2 about 4 -5 years and Stage 3 about 2 years. It is scary how the addiction slowly and incidiously grabs ahold of you. I am grateful that I am AF today.

    M3

  11. #10
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    The 4 stages of alcoholism

    Mario, Thanks for sharing. I knew some of that info., but not all.

    Wonka

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