Stages of alcoholism


Alcoholism in a form of a disease doesn’t evolve in a day, it develops into form of illness gradually. That is why therapists, treating alcohol addiction diagnose the disease on several symptoms instead of only one (drinking alcohol). A person that only yesterday was a heavy drinker can become an alcoholic the next day.

Alcohol abuse turns into alcoholism gradually, one symptom evolves out of another, one stage of alcoholism becomes the next and so on.

Stages of alcohol addiction

You cannot tell if it is alcoholism on the first stage because a person diminishes or keeps his addiction in a secret. This fact itself is a symptom, called dissimulation. It is not just cheating, which is common among alcoholics, it is a clear sign of a personality changes under alcohol effect. The fraud has a restricted aim – to hide the fact that are connected to alcohol addiction in any way, even gaining nothing to themselves.

What facts do people addicted to alcohol usually hide?

  1. The amount and the frequency of alcohol being drunk, often the reality doesn’t correspond to the words of an alcoholic. It doesn’t occur to him that the real facts can be easily checked and prove the opposite.
  2. Increasing need in alcohol. People addicted to alcohol often dissimulate their addiction.
  3. Denying of losing  control over amount of alcohol being drunk. Alcoholic realizes that this fact proves he is addicted, so, he hides it in any possible way. Even regular overdosing and being heavy drunk, alcoholic claims he knows how much he can drinks and he never drunk.

The only reason that confirms alcoholism and that alcohol-addicted people do not hide — is losing by a person his vomiting reflex. When someone first starts drinking, drinking more than his individual amount of alcohol, causes vomiting. If  drinking experience is pretty big, vomiting reflex, protecting the organism from overdosing with alcohol doesn’t work anymore.  As a result, drinking too much leads to alcoholic intoxication and blackouts.

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The first stage of alcoholism

The first and the most distinctive sign of the first stage of alcoholism is loss of the vomiting reflex by alcoholic.  At the beginning, when alcoholic only develops his drinking experience, it is inevitable for a person who drunk more than his individual dose is to throw up. If an alcoholic has quite an experience in drinking, this reflex, protecting organism from the overdose with the alcohol, does not work any more. As a result, there is an alcohol overdose, leading to heavy alcohol abuse and blackouts.

Such cases with the memory loss are called “alcohol palimpsests” and it is the second symptom of the first stage of alcoholism.

The third symptom of the first stage is regularity if drinking alcohol – up to 2-3 times a week. Moreover, there is no sign of feeling disgust to drinking alcohol even after previously being drunk. As a result, alcoholics gain the ability to drink a few days in a row.

The fourth symptom is a higher level of tolerance to the amount of alcohol being drunk. And if at first it was enough to have 100 g of a strong alcohol drink to become drunk, now he needs 3-4 times more to get the same effect. At that time psychological addiction to alcohol is formed. Such kind of addiction expresses in changes of feelings, emotions and behavior of a person:

  • a person has pleasant memories about being drunk and different events, linked to that state; he also quite often thinks about alcohol;
  • a person makes excuses to get another drink and often experiences a conflict about if he should or shouldn’t drink. Being with friends he often touches the subject of alcohol drinks, imagining himself an expert;
  • an alcoholic defends absurdity of drunk people and, in a way, his own behavior.
  • anticipating having a drink, person who is already addicted cheers up and he becomes more lively;
  • because of his psychological addiction to alcohol, a person can feel real satisfaction only from the state of being drunk. Everything else becomes insignificant;
  • Family conflicts and problems at work appear because the situations when the person is drunk become more often. A person becomes aggressive to his relatives, thinking they nag him for no reason and he drinks not more than others do.

Psychological addiction to alcohol leads to health deterioration. Even being sober, he doesn’t feel well. His work efficiency goes down, he becomes grumpy. That is how first stage alcoholism looks like.

The second stage of alcoholism is characterized by the symptoms, listed above, progressing and new ones emerging.

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The second stage of alcoholism

Having the second stage of alcoholism, a person partially realizes his psychological addiction to alcohol and makes attempts to quit drinking, which is almost always ineffective. On this stage, a person’s work efficiency in a state of alcohol intoxication is on its highest. Alcohol tolerance rises and comes to its limit, which is individual for everyone. Moreover, the amount of alcohol he needs now is 8-10 times higher than an average healthy person has to get drunk.

Alcoholism on this stage becomes regular, which in medical terms is called false alcoholism. Alcoholic drinks several days in a row, making small breaks to work. Falling asleep without alcohol is often difficult.

Blackouts become more severe. Alcoholic forgets all or almost all circumstances when he got drunk. He increasingly forgets his absurd behavior and negative emotions.

Together with psychological addiction now comes physical addiction to alcohol. As a result alcoholic doesn’t control how much he drinks and drinks so much that next morning he even feels hangover. But the origin of it is rather complex, including mental addiction and obvious alcohol intoxication.

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The third stage of alcoholism

Since the third stage of alcoholism can cause the death of a person drinking alcohol, it is the last stage of a disease. The death of alcoholic can be caused by alcoholic delirium or cardiac insufficiency. If alcoholic doesn’t die on this stage he mentally, physically and socially degrades. Rudeness, cynicism, anger and aggression are usual traits of alcoholics on the last stage.

Alcohol cravings on the third stage is much severe than on the second stage. Alcohol tolerance goes down. Alcoholic needs less and less alcohol to get drunk. False alcohol abuse become real ones. Alcoholic loses his appetite and loses the weight dramatically. Alcoholics’ heart, liver, brain and kidneys are seriously affected on the third stage of alcoholism. In fact, he is not interested in anything he used to be, even being drunk doesn’t give the same pleasant feelings to him. Even faster comes moral and ethical degradation of alcoholic and he comes to the sad final of his life…

Prognosis for people like these is unfavorable. The death rate on the third stage is very high. Heavy depressions and progressive emaciation of all organs and systems of the organism lead to the lethal outcome. Suicides are common among alcoholics as well.

You can learn what stage of alcoholism your relative or close person on with the special test. Answering the questions will also help to know if it is occasional drinking or if it has already turned into alcoholism.

Alcohol addiction on beer has the same stages as addiction to vodka, because in both cases it is addiction to alcohol.

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The most significant to drinking person alcohol qualities

Why do people drink alcohol? What is attractive in a state of being drunk? There are two main qualities of alcohol, which are highly significant to people who drink alcohol:

  1. Alcohol ability to cheer you up and cause euphoria;
  2. Tranquilizing qualities of alcohol – its ability to eliminate stress, fears, obsessions and bring peace in mind.

There are four stages of drunkenness.

1. Light drunkenness

It is characterizes with the feeling of warmth, muscles relaxation and physical comfort. The mood rises and the person is pleased with himself and people around him. The reality, past and future are in the bright colors. Past and present negative events are not significant any more, on the other hand positive events are exaggerated. Light laughter becomes loud; an acquaintance seems a close friend and so on. A person starts bragging and being arrogant. He wants to «pour his heart out” to the next man, he becomes too open, sometimes annoying and rude. It seems to him that he is neat and witty, but people around him see that he is clumsy and cheeky.

2. Medium drunkenness

A drunk person experiences mood swings. He can fast turn from feeling love to cynical swearing. A very common question, characterizing this stage is “Do you respect me?” can be asked in different tones – from interrogative to aggressive. He becomes a danger to himself and everyone around him. He doesn’t feel pain to the full extent as well as the feeling of danger. Lessen or disappears instinct for self-preservation. It is hard for a drunk person to move accurately.

3. Serious drunkenness

A drunk person speaks slowly, words sound unclear, he cannot choose the right words long. His movements become sprawling and his walk becomes wobbly. The person talks very loud, and at the same time, his hearing is going down. He has disinhibition of his sexual drive. In a while mental excitement changes with apathy and sleepiness. The drunk person can fall asleep anywhere with any temperature outside.

4. Heavy drunkenness

This stage leads to serious neurologic disorders, up to central nervous system involvement. A person cannot only fall into deep sleep, but he can go into a deep alcoholic coma. This state affects the heart beating rhythm, breathing; it can cause epileptic seizure and spontaneous intestinal or cystic emptying. The person can die from suffocation with his vomitus, from getting cold, or from the accident. This stage is also characterized by amnesia.

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