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Alcoholism Information & Resources

Learn-About-Alcoholism.com is an online alcoholism information resource designed to help individuals who suffer from abuse or dependence, and the people whose lives they impact.

The hope is that you can gain a better understanding of the disease of addiction and begin the journey to better health and emotional wellness.

Addictive, problem drinking is not a character flaw or life choice. It is a debilitating disease that affects millions of people around the world – men, women and children.

Addiction can be found in different countries, religions, ethnicity, education levels and socioeconomic status. Addiction is commonly viewed as a brain disease because of the way that it impacts the regular functioning of your brain. These changes contribute to the challenges often experienced during a person’s recovery. As the disease advances, it takes over the body and destroys the physical and mental health of the drinker, and may lead to premature death.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 3 million people died from alcohol related deaths in 2018. This breaks down to 1 in 20 deaths was alcohol related for 2018.

Examples of alcohol related deaths include motor vehicle accidents, accidents due to poor coordination, chronic health problems and death due to withdrawal.

Alcoholism also produces damaging psychological effects on family members, friends and co-workers that can have life-long ramifications. These damages are often the result of the alcoholic focusing their time and energy on alcohol and neglecting other obligations.

Yet, there is hope for those afflicted through proper, timely treatment and ongoing support. There is no point in a person’s addiction where it is “too late” to get help.

FREE Expert Advice

The American Psychological Association used The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) as a tool to diagnosis a variety of mental health concerns, including addiction. The diagnosis for Alcoholism is divided into severity levels based on the number of symptoms present. Symptoms included in the Alcohol Use Disorder are:

  • 1. Consuming alcohol in larger amount’s or for longer periods of time than intended
  • 2. Unsuccessful attempts to cut down drinking
  • 3. Spending a lot of time obtaining, using and recovering from drinking
  • 4. Having cravings to drink
  • 5. Inability to fulfill work, family and school responsibilities
  • 6. Continuing to drink despite problems it has developed
  • 7. Giving up important work, social and recreational activities because of drinking
  • 8. Drinking in dangerous situations
  • 9. Continuing to drink even though it will worsen physical and/or mental health concerns
  • 10. Developing a tolerance to alcohol
  • 11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms

The severity scale for Alcohol Use Disorder is as follows:

  • Alcohol Use Disorder, Mild: Presence of 2-3 symptoms
  • Alcohol Use Disorder, Moderate: Presence of 4-5 symptoms
  • Alcohol Use Disorder, Severe: Presence of 6 or more symptoms

Though there is a distinction among diagnoses, any stage of addiction would benefit from professional treatment, especially those falling into the severe category. Family members of alcoholics also benefit from professional help due to the impact of their loved ones addictive behaviors.

Stages of Alcoholism

There are three stages of alcoholism currently accepted by mental health professionals that highlights the progression of the disease. One thing to note is that everyone’s journey is unique, so there is no “cookie cutter” time line that an alcoholic’s journey will fit into.

There will also be differences to signs and symptoms experienced. Below are examples of the common signs and symptoms for each stage.

First Stage: Early Stage

  • Drinking to cope with uncomfortable emotions and thoughts
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol
  • Still able to function at work
  • Able to maintain family and social relationships reasonably well
  • Denial that their drinking behaviors have a negative impact on their life

Second Stage: Middle Stage

  • Beginning to lose control of drinking behaviors
  • Beginning to drink earlier and/or for longer periods of time
  • Drinking is not fun anymore
  • Having cravings for alcohol
  • Beginning to have alcohol related health problems
  • Beginning to struggle at work
  • Beginning to have conflict with family and social relationships

Third Stage: Final Stage

  • Have multiple health concerns resulting from drinking
  • Relationships are significantly damaged, possibly irreconcilable
  • Drinking becomes a sole focus of life
  • Beginning to ignore basic needs (Food, shelter and water)
  • If they continue drinking, it will kill them