5 Stages of Alcoholism

Grapes and Wine may cause alcoholism The Disease of Alcoholism

There are, and have been, many theories about alcoholism. The most prevailing theory, and now most commonly accepted, is called the Disease Model.

Its basic tenets are that alcoholism is a disease with recognizable symptoms, causes, and methods of treatment. In addition, there are several stages of the disease which are often described as early, middle, late, treatment and relapse.

While it is not essential to fully define these stages, it is useful to understand them in terms of how the disease presents itself.

This series of articles describes the signs and symptoms of each stage as well as exploring treatment options.

  1. Early or Adaptive Stage
  2. Middle Stage
  3. Late Stage
  4. Treating Alcoholism
  5. Relapse to drinking

1 – The Early or Adaptive Stage of Alcoholism

The early or adaptive stage of alcoholism is marked by increasing tolerance to alcohol and physical adaptations in the body which are largely unseen.

This increased tolerance is marked by the alcoholic’s ability to consume greater quantities of alcohol while appearing to suffer few effects and continuing to function. This tolerance is not created simply because the alcoholic drinks too much but rather because the alcoholic is able to drink great quantities because of physical changes going on inside his or her body.

The early stage is difficult to detect. By appearances, an individual may be able to drink a great deal without becoming intoxicated, having hangovers, or suffering other apparent ill-effects from alcohol. An early stage alcoholic is often indistinguishable from a non-alcoholic who happens to be a fairly heavy drinker.

In the workplace, there is likely to be little or no obvious impact on the alcoholic’s performance or conduct at work. At this stage, the alcoholic is not likely to see any problem with his or her drinking and would scoff at any attempts to indicate that he or she might have a problem. The alcoholic is simply not aware of what is going on in his or her body.

See also;

  1. Early or Adaptive Stage
  2. Middle Stage
  3. Late Stage
  4. Treating Alcoholism
  5. Relapse to drinking
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15 thoughts on “5 Stages of Alcoholism

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