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Alcoholism: At Which Stage Are You?

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

Alcohol is a socially acceptable way of cutting loose and enjoying yourself. Many people drink alcohol on a regular basis, and there are many who will only drink on occasion. The problem is that there are many alcohol abusers in the UK who will not admit to having a problem with alcohol. In order to help you decide whether you should stop drinking or not, below we have listed the five stages of alcoholism. Are any of them applicable to you or someone close to you? If so, you need to make a decision to get assistance to stop drinking. Alcohol Rescue is here for you to help you make the right choices as well as to support you when you need to stick to your decision.


Stage 1: Binge Drinking
This stage usually starts in early adulthood when you are experimenting with alcohol and testing your tolerance levels. Binge drinking is when you drink a lot of alcohol on occasion in order to get drunk or get a ‘buzz’ from your intoxication. This stage includes occasional alcohol abuse. You are not an alcoholic yet, but you are giving your body the opportunity to get used to alcohol.


Stage 2: Increased Drinking
Where you used to only drink at parties or special occasions, you now drink more regularly; for example, every weekend. You are finding excuses to drink and are creating opportunities for yourself to have a drink. Some of the excuses you use to drink are: friends are coming over; you are bored or sad or lonely; you are stressed. The excuses seem credible to you and you do not realise just how often and how much you’re drinking.


Stage 3: Problem Drinking
During this stage, you are drinking more than before and it is starting to have an impact on your daily life. Your drinking is affecting your relationships at home and, in some cases, at work. You socialise less because your behaviour has become erratic. In addition to that, your circle of friends is changing to include more individuals who like to drink. You’re also starting to find it more difficult to socialise and talk with strangers.


Stage 4: Alcohol Dependence
Your body has become accustomed to a certain amount of alcohol at a regular interval. Now you feel physically (and emotionally) bonded with alcohol and you suffer withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, irritability, and other symptoms if you go too long without having a drink. You start losing sleep and there is a significant impact on your life. You are not an addict yet, but you’re only one step away.


Stage 5: Alcoholism and Alcohol Addiction
When you reach this stage, your drinking is completely out of control. The urge to drink is more than a need and your body reacts violently if you do not drink frequently during the day. You will experience withdrawal within 2 hours of your last drink and you need to drink a large amount of alcohol in order to reach the ‘buzz’ or to get drunk.


Depending on what stage you are at on the above list will influence the level of assistance you require. However, know that the sooner you get help for your problem, the sooner you can return to a life without alcohol being a major factor.

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