What Is Alcohol Dependence?
Alcohol Dependence is known as a chronic medical condition that usually includes a current or past history of excessive drinking, an intense craving for alcohol, continued alcohol use despite repeated issues with drinking, health issues due to drinking, and an inability to stop drinking or control their alcohol consumption. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2019, nearly 15 million people suffered from an alcohol use disorder.
How To Tell If Someone Might Be An Alcoholic
Unfortunately, there is no telling who will become an alcoholic, but there are some warning signs, and individuals are at a higher risk of being predisposed to alcoholism. Individuals are more likely to struggle with alcoholism if they have a familial history of addiction, experienced past trauma, have a co-occurring mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or began drinking before 15.
Are you or someone you know showing potential signs of alcoholism? Here are some warning signs to look out for:
While you can use these signs to aid you in determining if someone is potentially suffering from alcoholism, this disease is anything but black and white. Alcoholism comes in stages, which can gradually develop, and the symptoms can increase over time.
Stages of Alcoholism
Symptoms of alcoholism can vary from mild to severe, depending on what stage someone is currently in. The four main stages of alcoholism are:
Sometimes this stage is undetectable because the signs are minimal. Individuals in the pre-alcoholic stage often keep their drinking to social settings or maybe have a glass of wine before bed to cope with stress. For people who don’t struggle with alcoholism, these pre-alcoholic habits might not strike them as problematic. However, an individual’s tolerance to alcohol will usually increase during this first stage, so the amount of alcohol they need to receive the same effect increases.
Early-Stages of Alcoholism
During this stage, alcohol begins to be the number one priority of the individual’s thoughts. Individuals in the early stage of alcoholism tend to binge drink, think about drinking often, regularly suggest alcohol interactions, and have difficulty limiting their alcohol consumption. They participate in episodes of binge drinking and heavy drinking. This stage is also where you may begin to feel someone distancing themselves so they can conceal their excess drinking or become deceptive about their drinking.
Middle-Stages of Alcoholism
Alcoholism begins to take over every aspect of someone’s life during this stage. They are now drinking regularly and ignore the effects of alcohol. Since alcohol is their priority, they usually find ways to begin their day with a cocktail, have a drink during work hours, appear hungover more often than not, display mood-altering behaviors, and express signs of physical withdrawal symptoms such as excessive sweating, hands shaking, water retention or weight gain.
End-Stages of Alcoholism
The final stage of alcoholism is the most dangerous and severe stage of the disease. Individuals who enter this stage are consumed by their alcoholism. They will place drinking above their employment, relationships, parental obligations, well-being, and health. During this stage, individuals know that their drinking has cost them everything. Usually, warning signs of their deteriorating health have appeared. They have been informed that if they continue to drink, it will result in death. However, they continue to consume alcohol.
Alcoholism’s Long-Term Risks
If you or someone you know has arrived at the end stages of alcoholism, they risk developing various physical health complications. Long-term risks of alcoholism can include:
According to NIAAA, from 2010-to 2016, liver disease associated with alcohol consumption was the main factor of almost 1 in 3 liver transplants in the United States. Alcohol use disorders and alcoholism are dangerous, and their effects can be life-threatening. However, it is a treatable disease. Recovering from alcoholism is a lifelong recovery process involving detox, treatment, commitment, and determination.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options
If you feel that you or someone you care about is suffering from alcoholism, contact our Addiction Specialist for an alcohol addiction assessment. Once our medical professionals reach a diagnosis, they can design a unique treatment plan that best suits the client’s needs. Treatment options may include a combination of alcohol detox, inpatient alcohol rehab, addiction counseling, Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT), family intervention, group therapy, aftercare planning, and outpatient support groups.
At Avatar Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center, we are always available to answer your questions about alcoholism, addiction, substance use disorders, and mental health. Give us a call at 973-774-7222.