Alcoholism is considered a disease because it affects the way the brain operates. It causes symptoms such as compulsive behaviour and intense cravings. It disrupts a person’s ability to think critically, make rational decisions and function normally.

Today, most authoritative medical organizations consider addiction to alcohol and other substances a disease.

  1. Precontemplation -The addict has not yet considered stopping the behaviour or use of substances.
  1. Contemplation– The addict is starting to consider making a change in behaviour.
  1. Preparation– The addict is mentally and, possibly, physically preparing to make a change.
  1. Action– The addict has taken an action, such as seeking treatment, self-help groups or counselling. Treatment has been provided and the addict has stopped using.
  1. Maintenance– The addict is maintaining his or her new lifestyle and behaviour, following a recovery program.

Defining Alcoholism & Alcoholic

The terms alcoholism, alcohol addiction and alcohol use disorder are often used interchangeably. Alcohol use disorder, which includes alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence and alcoholism, is the official medical term for recurring alcohol consumption that causes clinically significant impairment and an inability to meet responsibilities, according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

More simply, alcoholism can be defined as a disease that causes a compulsive desire for alcohol, loss of self-control and diminished judgement.

Types Of Alcoholics:

  • Young adult
  • Young antisocial
  • Intermediate familial
  • Functioning alcoholic
  • Chronic severe

Alcoholics may be characterized by how much they drink or how long they’ve been drinking. But the criteria for alcoholism have nothing to do with those factors. People develop alcoholism when they lose the ability to control their drinking. They feel an uncontrollable urge to drink, and they have incredible difficulty stopping themselves from drinking. All alcoholics share those traits.

Alcoholism is also a disease that can sometimes be avoided through prevention strategies and educational initiatives. Like other health problems, some people take risks and develop alcoholism despite preventative measures.

Stages of Alcoholism

The stages of alcoholism aren’t scientifically defined as the severities of alcohol use disorders. But they do provide an easy-to-understand view of how someone becomes addicted to alcohol.

As a person progresses through the stages, he or she becomes more severely addicted. Many of the stages are defined by the signs of alcoholism a person is displaying.

Signs and symptoms of alcoholism by stage:

EARLY-STAGE ALCOHOLISM

Drinking to relieve stress, finding reasons to drink, showing a rise in tolerance and drinking to feel normal.

MIDDLE-STAGE ALCOHOLISM

Alcohol dependence, drinking to avoid withdrawal, drinking in secret and behaving unpredictably.

LATE-STAGE ALCOHOLISM

Physical and mental health problems, poor diet, job loss, expulsion from school and lost relationships.

Some people remain in the early stage their entire life. Others rapidly progress to end-stage alcoholism. The way that alcohol affects each person is determined by a combination of genetic, environmental and social factors. The stages of alcoholism can indicate the intensity of treatment that a person needs.