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What are the stages of alcoholism?

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Quick Answer

Adaptive, dependence, progression and conclusion are the stages of alcoholism. Alcoholism is a progressive and chronic disease. It affects people from all races, age and gender.

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Full Answer

A person enters the adaptive stage when their drinking moves from normal to a way of escaping from psychological reality. In this stage, drinking is no longer social. The drinker develops tolerance to the drink and consumes larger amounts of alcohol to get the same feeling he used to get when starting out.

The dependence stage is where a person starts to feel irritable and uncomfortable if they do not drink. The person is used to large amounts of alcohol, and he makes sure that his schedule involves drinking. Such a person may not be able to stop drinking once he has tasted the first drink. People close to the person, such as friends, family members and coworkers, begin to notice his drinking behavior. The physical consequences associated with this stage include hand tremors, hangovers and blackouts.

As the problem progresses, the person begins to lose control. For example, the person may have the intention of having two or three drinks but is unable to stop after taking the first drink. A person in the progression stage begins to neglect his interests and personal hygiene.

Conclusion is the fourth stage of alcoholism. The person develops chronic loss of control because he must drink to function. In most cases, the person alienates his family and friends. If the person attempts to stop drinking, he suffers severe withdrawal symptoms, such as hallucinations, irritability, headaches and sometimes death.

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