- What Are the Stages of Addiction Recovery? | Recovery at the Crossroads
- What Is the Transtheoretical Model?
- What Are the Five Stages of Change?
- 1. Precontemplation Stage
- 2. Contemplation Stage
- 3. Preparation Stage
- 4. Action Stage
- 5. Maintenance Stage
- The Importance of Aftercare
- Find Out More About the Stages of Addiction Recovery Process
- 4 Stages Of Recovery From Addiction
- Understanding The Stages of Recovery From Addiction
- 1. Treatment Initiation
- 2. Early Abstinence
- 3. Maintaining Abstinence
- 4. Advanced Recovery
- The Four Stages Of Alcoholism
- What Are The Stages Of Alcoholism?
- Early Stage: Increased Drinking
- Middle Stage: Cravings And Dependence
- Late Stage: Severe Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
- End Stage: Loss Of Control
- When Should You Be Concerned About Your Drinking?
- Getting Help For Alcohol Abuse
- What Are The Stages of Alcoholism?
- The History of the Alcoholism Research
- Pre-Alcoholic Stage
- How to Spot Someone in the Pre-Alcoholic Stage
- Early-Stage Alcoholism (Prodromal)
- Looking for Signs of Early-Stage Alcoholism
- Identifying Someone with Middle-Stage Alcoholism
- End-Stage Alcoholism
- What to Do When Someone Has End-Stage Alcoholism
- Help is Available During Every Stage of Alcoholism
- The Stages of Alcohol Recovery — The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab
- Stage One: Precontemplation
- Stage Two: Contemplation
- Stage Three: Preparation
- Stage Four: Action
- Stage Five: Maintenance
- Stage Six: Transcendence
What Are the Stages of Addiction Recovery? | Recovery at the Crossroads
1 year ago · RAC RAC · 0 comments
Alcohol and drug abuse can tear families apart and transform loving and successful individuals into desperate, lonely husks of their former selves. Even though the impact is devastating, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Anyone can overcome addiction with the help and guidance of a substance abuse treatment program.
Understanding the five stages of addiction recovery can be useful for addicted people and their family members.
Each stage clearly describes the process of recognizing and admitting the problem, preparing for addiction treatment, and dealing with life after treatment of alcohol and drug abuse.
It’s an integrated theory that’s compatible with most evidence-based and holistic treatments, the 12-step program and behavior therapy.
What Is the Transtheoretical Model?
Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross created the stages of change or transtheoretical model in 1983 to help people quit smoking.
It was then updated in 1992, when it started being used in clinical settings for a variety of behaviors.
By studying various mental health and substance use disorder treatment plans, Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross noted patterns that occur as people progress through a major behavioral shift.
The stages of addiction recovery aren’t necessarily linear, and people don’t stay in them for a set amount of time. Of course, some people sail quickly through the stages, in perfect order. Plus, there are certain principles that counselors and therapists on rehab programs can use to guide clients through the recovery process.
It can also be helpful for the addicted person themselves to gain self-understanding using this model. Insight is a powerful tool for change because it makes it easier to be mindful of decisions you’re making in the moment.
What Are the Five Stages of Change?
The five stages of addiction recovery are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. Read on to find out more about the various stages.
1. Precontemplation Stage
People who are in the first stage of addiction recovery aren’t yet ready for any addiction treatment program. This phase is characterized by defensiveness and endless justification of their behavior. There’s a clear lack of insight into the negative impact of excessive drug or alcohol use and a strong focus on the positive effects they experience from using their drug of choice.
Someone might remain in this stage due to a lack of information about addictive behaviors. Another reason we regularly see people get stuck in the precontemplation stage is disappointment with multiple failed attempts at recovery and treatment options. Most individuals in precontemplation feel that recovery simply isn’t possible for them. The truth is that anyone can recover from any stage.
2. Contemplation Stage
The next phase is characterized by contemplative readiness. This means the person is ready to bring about change in the future, but not immediately. Un the previous stage, they’re aware of the pros of becoming drug-free.
However, they are also still acutely aware of the benefits they perceive from alcohol or drug addiction. This is a critical stage for family members and treatment facilities because the person is more ly to listen to reason. By avoiding blame, judgment and accusations, it’s possible to guide them to the next stage.
3. Preparation Stage
When it comes to the preparation stage, the individual is building a sense of urgency regarding their desire for sobriety. They’ve usually made steps toward taking action, such as intending to join a gym, seeing a counselor or attempting to quit addiction by themselves without attending a treatment center.
It’s normal for people in this phase to go for a day or two without turning to drug or alcohol abuse, but it’s also perfectly usual to see people jump back to contemplation or precontemplation in case triggers or difficult emotions arise.
4. Action Stage
During the action stage, the person has made significant changes in their lives and is committed to change. This stage of change is characterized by prolonged periods of abstinence and the inclination to turn to professionals for help before or after relapse.
It won’t just be a case of halting the destructive behavior; change will be apparent in multiple aspects of their lifestyle. Self-care and self-understanding are both present in this treatment stage, but counseling is required to keep them on the right path.
5. Maintenance Stage
During the maintenance stage, the individual is working hard to prevent addiction recovery relapse.
They’re also keeping up the lifestyle changes they made, getting regular exercise, recreational activities, staying sober, paying attention to sleep hygiene and attending support groups.
They don’t feel the urge to relapse as frequently as people in the action stage, so their confidence grows and they truly believe in their ability to maintain sobriety long term.
This stage can last from six months to five years, depending on the severity of the addiction and the individual’s genes and experience. It takes a small minority of people six months of abstinence to reach the point where they don’t go back to their addictive behavior. However, for most people, a commitment of two to five years is necessary to truly break the habit and solidify change.
The Importance of Aftercare
Even when someone has reached maintenance, it doesn’t mean they’re cured of addiction. diabetes or heart disease, it’s a chronic condition that requires major lifestyle changes to keep under control.
As such, it’s crucial that people in addiction recovery make continuous active efforts to maintain sobriety.
Complacency or a sense that the work is done once you reach maintenance is often a one-way ticket to recovery relapse.
Aftercare helps you stay on track and keep practicing what you learned while in rehab. Whether it’s individual therapy, support groups, 12-step meetings or an outpatient treatment program, we recommend staying in some form of aftercare for at least one or two years after you complete a course of rehab program.
Find Out More About the Stages of Addiction Recovery Process
If you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse, Recovery at the Crossroads can help you along every step of the way. Call our New Jersey rehab today at 888-342-3881 to find out how to enroll in one of our alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs.
4 Stages Of Recovery From Addiction
Addiction is a complicated disease that is classified as both a mental illness and chronic disease. For some, addiction happens quickly, but for others, it develops over time.
When you’re dealing with drug or alcohol addiction, it’s easy to feel alone. However, there are approximately 23.5 million Americans addicted to drug or alcohol, while only 11% of those people attend treatment facilities. The largest percentage of those seeking treatment – approximately 30% – are adults ages 24 to 29.
Understanding The Stages of Recovery From Addiction
Once you realize you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you begin the long journey of recovery. Making the decision to enter a drug or alcohol treatment program isn’t easy, but it’s one of the best steps you can take to free yourself from your addiction.
When you decide to enter a drug or alcohol rehab program, you will begin a journey through four distinct stages of recovery from addiction as you learn to develop a clean and sober lifestyle.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse developed the four stages of rehab treatment and recovery for its resource, Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide, which is intended for healthcare professionals. In this model, recovery is considered a lifelong process.
Here are the four stages of recovery from addiction:
1. Treatment Initiation
The first stage begins the moment you seek help for your drug or alcohol addiction. Whether you seek help voluntarily or are forced by circumstances to enter rehab, your recovery process begins with you initiating professional treatment.
At this stage, it’s normal to have second thoughts about giving up drugs or alcohol. You may even think you can control your addiction on your own without the help of an addiction treatment center. However, it’s important to remember why you entered treatment, as denial is the worst enemy of your recovery.
2. Early Abstinence
Once you have fully committed yourself to the treatment of your addiction, you are in the second stage of recovery, known as early abstinence.
For many recovering addicts, this is the toughest stage to overcome because it’s when you experience withdrawal symptoms, psychological dependence, physical cravings and a multitude of triggers – all of which can threaten your recovery.
During the early abstinence stage, your trained addiction counselor will begin to teach you the coping skills needed to lead a sober lifestyle. The tools you learn during this stage will help you throughout your recovery.
3. Maintaining Abstinence
After 90 days of continual abstinence from drugs or alcohol, you move to the third stage of recovery: maintaining abstinence. If you are in a residential treatment facility, now is the time you move to the outpatient counseling phase of your recovery program.
The focus of this stage of recovery is to maintain abstinence by avoiding a relapse. You will learn the warning signs that lead to relapse and how to deal with your triggers.
You will also put the tools you learned in the early abstinence stage to use so you can continue to live a truly sober lifestyle. Additionally, you will learn new tools that help you deal with other areas of your life including:
- Healthy relationships
- Developing a substance-free lifestyle
- Dealing with the past
- Managing anger
- Exercise and nutrition
- Employment and money management
- Substituting addictions
4. Advanced Recovery
Once you’ve remained clean and sober for approximately five years, you enter the fourth and final stage of recovery: advanced recovery. At this point, you take all of the tools and skills you learned throughout your counseling and put them to use living a satisfying and fulfilling substance-free life.
Not only will you be able to remain sober, but you will also have the skills needed to become a healthier person, a better spouse/parent/child and a productive member of society.
Although your recovery is never truly over, going through these four stages of recovery from addiction teaches you how to live a healthy, sober lifestyle. Part of living this healthy life is continuing to work your program, which may mean attending 12-step meetings, attending periodic counseling sessions or joining a support group.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, recovery is possible. If you’re ready to seek professional treatment, contact the Orlando Recovery Center today.
Written by: Christina Bockisch
Christina is a blogger based in Fort Myers, Florida. She writes about mental health, fitness, and life as a whole on her blog, My Life in Wonderland. Follow her on .
The Four Stages Of Alcoholism
Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is a serious problem that affects over 17 million adults in the United States, as well as many teenagers. Most portrayals of alcoholism that people see or read about in the media are of people struggling with severe alcohol addiction, which can skew people’s perceptions of what constitutes a problem.
The reality of alcoholism is that it is often much more complex. Each case of severe alcohol abuse begins somewhere. Many of the initial signs of a drinking problem are not so obvious and can sometimes be easy to miss due to the prevalence of drinking among adults.
To allow room for the complexity of alcohol abuse and addiction, alcoholism is commonly described as having four stages:
- the early stage
- the middle stage
- the late stage
- the end-stage
Each stage features signs and symptoms of mild to severe alcohol abuse and can help people determine when someone has developed a problem and how severe it is.
Although it can be difficult to confront a drinking problem, it is never too early or too late to seek professional help. No matter how long you have been struggling, recovery from alcohol abuse is possible.
What Are The Stages Of Alcoholism?
Alcohol abuse is a problem that tends to grow worse over time. Alcohol abuse can have effects on a person’s physical health, mental health, and their ability to function without alcohol.
We are here to help you through every aspect of recovery. Let us call you to learn more about our treatment options.
The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), which is used to diagnose alcohol use disorder, lists three subcategories for alcoholism: mild, moderate, and severe.
There are also four stages to describe the severity of alcohol abuse, how long a person has been abusing alcohol and the extent of its impact.
Each person’s struggle is different, and the road leading up to severe alcoholism does not look the same for everyone. However, each road does begin somewhere, starting with the early stage of alcohol abuse.
Early Stage: Increased Drinking
The earliest stage of alcoholism often begins with an increased pattern of drinking. This can mean drinking more frequently, as well as drinking larger quantities of alcohol. Binge-drinking, which involves having multiple drinks within a small window, is a common initial sign of a drinking problem.
Binge-drinking is defined as:
- for men: having five or more drinks within a two-hour period
- for women: having four or more drinks within a two-hour period
This amount of alcohol is typically how much it takes for a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to reach 0.08 g/dL.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2015 about 26.9 percent of adults in the United States reported binge-drinking in the last month.
Binge-drinking is especially common among young adults, and some teenagers experimenting with alcohol. Not every person who binge-drinks will necessarily go on to develop a drinking problem, but it does increase the risk of a serious drinking problem.
In addition to binge-drinking, there are other signs that can indicate someone is in the early stages of alcoholism, including:
- drinking boredom
- drinking to relieve stress, sadness, or anxiety
- developing a higher tolerance for alcohol
- frequently blacking out as a result of heavy drinking
Middle Stage: Cravings And Dependence
During the middle stage of alcoholism, a person’s drinking problem is ly to become more obvious – both to the person and those around them. Frequent drinking, especially in heavy amounts, can lead to a dependence on alcohol. This can cause people to crave alcohol throughout the day and spend much of their time thinking about drinking or acquiring alcohol.
Dependence can also result in withdrawal symptoms.
Initial alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- fast heartbeat
- nausea and vomiting
- alcohol cravings
- pale and clammy skin
- loss of appetite
Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms can make it difficult for people to get through the day without having alcohol in their system. This can make it difficult for a person to perform well at work, attend school, or attend to other personal obligations.
People will often sneak a drink if only to relieve withdrawal symptoms, in order to feel “normal.” They may also begin experiencing other negative effects as a result of their drinking, including effects on health, mood, and behavior.
Late Stage: Severe Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
By this point, both physical dependence and addiction are present. People in this stage of alcoholism are ly to meet the DSM-V criteria for severe alcohol abuse.
The ‘severe’ classification of alcohol use disorder means experiencing at least six of the following symptoms in the past year:
- drinking more, or for longer than intended
- experiencing problems at work, school, or socially as a result of drinking
- continuing to drink after experiencing negative effects on physical or mental health
- cutting back on activities you used to enjoy in order to drink
- continuing to drink after experiencing family, social, or relationship problems as a result of alcohol use
- spending a lot of time drinking and experiencing aftereffects
- feeling an urgent need to drink and being unable to think about anything else
- engaging in risky activities while drunk, more than once (e.g. drinking and driving, having unsafe sex, operating heavy machinery)
- having to drink more than you used to in order to experience the effects of alcohol (i.e. developing high tolerance)
- being unable to cut down on or stop drinking
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms after the effects of alcohol have worn off
Reaching the late-stage of alcohol abuse poses serious consequences to a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. Many people at this point become unable to maintain a job or function normally in their usual routine. They may experience depression or anxiety as a result of alcohol abuse, and may show less desire or motivation to tend to their hygiene or appearance.
End Stage: Loss Of Control
Reaching the ‘end’ stage of alcoholism can sound frightening, and it is. Most people with end-stage alcoholism feel a loss of control over their drinking and experience several alcohol-related medical problems.
Heavy and long-term alcohol abuse can cause several medical problems throughout the body, including damage to several vital organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and the brain.
People in the end-stage of alcoholism are at high risk for serious and even life-threatening health problems. This includes issues such as liver cirrhosis, more severe withdrawal, polysubstance abuse, and suicide.
It can be difficult for people at this point to believe that they have a way out. They may believe there is no real chance for recovery, or that it would be too painful to attempt. The reality is that severe alcoholism is still treatable.
Although some severe medical conditions can be permanent, seeking help can often reverse or at least prevent problems from becoming worse. No matter how long you have been struggling, it is never too late to seek help.
When Should You Be Concerned About Your Drinking?
Every case of alcoholism begins somewhere, and that includes some of the more subtle symptoms described in the early stages of problem drinking. Not all early symptoms of alcoholism are life-threatening but can still be a cause for concern.
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of early alcoholism yourself, it may be time to reassess your drinking habits. If you’re noticing signs in a loved one, it may be helpful to express your concern by calmly asking them about their drinking.
People that are struggling with alcohol abuse are not always responsive to a loved one’s concerns. People may often become defensive about their drinking, deny having a problem, lash out, or withdraw from those questioning their alcohol use. In these cases, staging a group intervention may be a beneficial option.
Getting Help For Alcohol Abuse
No signs of alcohol abuse should be ignored. If you are concerned about you or a loved one’s drinking, professional alcohol treatment programs is a beneficial option to consider. The first step for many people is talking to a doctor or treatment specialist. This can help a person determine whether they need to enter a detox program.
the severity of a person’s alcohol abuse and other personal needs, outpatient or inpatient treatment may be recommended. The most effective treatment for overcoming alcoholism involves a combination of behavioral therapy, medications, and attending support groups.
The best option in order to receive adequate support in early sobriety is to enter an inpatient or residential rehab program. This provides a safe and structured environment for people to address all medical, emotional, and psychological aspects of their drinking for lifelong recovery.
If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, or are worried about someone else, contact us today. We’ll help you find treatment options that suit you or your loved one’s needs.
What Are The Stages of Alcoholism?
Alcoholism doesn’t develop in a day. It isn’t something that comes about overnight. In reality, alcohol addiction is a progressive condition. What starts as casual drinking advances into dependence and addiction over time. The majority of people who struggle with alcohol addiction, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), took months or years to reach that point.
Additionally, no two individuals have identical reasons that lead them to develop alcohol use disorder. Despite the variation in specific causes and timeframes from person to person, the disease itself follows a pattern.
If you or your loved ones need help to identify the signs of problem drinking, four stages of alcoholism have been identified: pre-alcoholic, early alcoholic, chronic alcoholic, and end-stage alcoholism. These categories were developed because it’s vital to help people understand alcoholism as an illness rather than a moral failing.
If you can identify with one or two stages, please understand that alcoholism is a progressive disease. People rarely spend an indefinite time in the early stages of alcoholism; it almost always progresses eventually.
Additionally, the DSM 5 journal indicates 11 diagnostic criteria for determining the presence of an alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol abuse of any kind puts people at a greater risk of developing more serious problems over time. Someone who experiences even 2 of the 11 criteria qualifies as having a mild disorder.
6 or more criteria denote a chronic alcohol use disorder, otherwise known as alcoholism.
What does the progression through the stages of alcoholism look ?
The History of the Alcoholism Research
Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are not new conditions. People who struggle to control their consumption have ly existed for as long as alcohol has been around. The public understanding of alcohol addiction, however, is a newer concept. Knowledge surrounding the causes of alcoholism was still scarce until the mid-1900s.
Little research on alcohol and alcohol addiction existed in the early 1900s. There were plenty of people who couldn’t control their drinking but doctors couldn’t explain why at the time. The disease concept of alcoholism hadn’t yet been introduced. Many thought that drinking problems were the result of weak willpower or a lack of self-control.
The field of alcohol science progressed further after Prohibition was repealed in the 1930s. Researchers conducted more studies to help them learn and understand why, regardless of the consequences, some people cannot control or stop drinking. This new phase of research laid the groundwork for how we understand alcohol addiction today.
Morton Jellinek was a scientist whose research helped form a better understanding of alcohol addiction today. In 1946 he published a paper on the progressive nature of alcoholism a small study of members of Alcoholics Anonymous. He proposed the idea that problem drinking follows a common trajectory through various stages of decline.
Throughout the following years, Jellinek conducted another study on a wider sample size which led to another piece. He published a follow-up paper in 1952, “Phases of Alcohol Addiction,” that built upon his original ideas. He outlined the unique stages of drinkers categorized by their drinking behaviors.
Jellinek looked at the way alcoholics started in the pre-alcoholic stage, drinking in a casual, social manner. They drink socially with friends or while out for dinner.
As they continue drinking, though, they move from a point where their reasons for drinking are no longer social but psychological. Whether they realize it or not, they’re beginning to lose control of their drinking.
If they do not stop drinking, they continue progressing to the point of alcohol dependence and then finally to the point of chronic alcohol use.
Jellinek’s studies and publications eventually led to the formation of the Jellinek Curve. It illustrates the symptoms seen during a person’s progression through the stages of alcoholism. The four main stages include:
- Pre-Alcoholic Stage
- Early-Stage Alcoholism
- Middle Alcoholic Phase
- End-Stage Alcoholism
His contributions helped frame the way the medical community understands alcohol addiction to this day. Continue reading to learn more about the four stages of alcoholism.
The pre-alcoholic stage occurs before alcohol is ever a real problem. It’s difficult to identify because alcohol has yet to cause any problems and drinking has not become compulsive. Even those in the pre-alcoholic stage are unly to recognize that their drinking may eventually progress into something serious.
The way alcohol interacts with the body and mind is complex. It mimics certain chemicals, GABA and glutamate, that the brain naturally produces and are required for proper functioning. The former causes people to relax while the latter is excitatory and makes them more active.
The more a person drinks, the more their body becomes dependent on ethanol to release these neurotransmitters instead of releasing them naturally. This is how physical dependence on alcohol develops.
The pre-alcoholic stage is a formative stage; people go in one of two directions. Those who begin using alcohol as a tool someone uses to unwind after a long day, bolster themselves in social situations, or help them fall asleep progress into the next stage of alcoholism. Those who find alternatives to drinking either stay in the pre-alcoholic stage or move away from drinking altogether.
How to Spot Someone in the Pre-Alcoholic Stage
It’s often difficult to determine whether someone is in the pre-alcoholic stage. Their drinking hasn’t veered far from regular social drinking. People in the pre-alcoholic stage may enjoy drinking more frequently than those around them but it isn’t overtly noticeable in most people.
These drinkers have a drink in their hand at most or all social gatherings. You might notice it if they use it as their go-to way to unwind after a challenging day or long week.
If they regularly rely on alcohol as a coping mechanism, can’t bear to face a social gathering without a drink, or need alcohol to relax, this could be a sign they’re in the pre-alcoholic stage.
Seeking treatment during the pre-alcoholic stage is possible but is highly unly.
Signs of the pre-alcoholic stage:
- Relying on alcohol to unwind or relax
- Needing a drink to engage in social situations
- Using alcohol to cope with uncomfortable feelings or emotions
Early-Stage Alcoholism (Prodromal)
Early-stage alcoholism, or the prodromal phase, is when people begin binge drinking regularly and may even black out occasionally.
This behavior may be a sign of experimentation with alcohol gone too far, especially in the case of adolescents or young adults.
If their drinking continues, though, and they keep drinking past a certain point, they’re showing signs of early-stage alcoholism.
Binge drinking is characterized by the consumption of around four drinks within two hours for women and five drinks within two hours for men.
If this is a normal amount for your loved ones, it’s time for them to seriously reconsider their drinking habits.
Enjoying the sensation of rapid onset drunkenness and drinking to seek inebriation as quickly as possible is dangerous and may indicate a deeper problem.
Individuals in this stage may not be drinking every day or even every week. However, they still use alcohol frequently and can’t imagine a “good night out” without it.
They drink heavily under the guise of “having a good time with friends” or “relaxing after a long week at the office.
” Regardless of their reasoning, though, regularly drinking to excess primes the mind and body for the development of a more serious problem with alcohol later on.
Looking for Signs of Early-Stage Alcoholism
Early-stage alcoholism is easier to notice than the pre-alcoholism stage. Your friend or family member in early-stage alcoholism will regularly binge drink or drink to the point of blacking out.
They’ll ly joke about their blackouts or mention they won’t drink that much again. However, they’ll inevitably drink that much again not long after.
Over time it becomes a cycle of binge drinking, blacking out, swearing to cut back, and then starting again.
If you notice they continue drinking heavily and blacking out, you have a right to be concerned. Keep an eye on their drinking behaviors to see whether they progress further. Even if they never progress past this stage, regular binge drinking is not a healthy way to consume alcohol.
Signs of early-stage alcoholism:
- Regular binge drinking
- “Blacking out” (memory loss caused by drinking)
- Difficulties controlling the amount they drink
- Swearing they’ll cut back or stop but having troubles doing so
During this stage, your condition may become evident to friends and family, although some people can become highly adept at hiding problem drinking. One of the main issues with this disease is how easy it becomes to lie to yourself as well.
If you’re in this phase, you’ll often downplay the amount you drink and find ways of explaining away the behavior.
You may start to experience consequences at work or school due to your habit and find yourself regularly hungover and craving more alcohol.
Signs such as drinking at work, while looking after children or when driving are indicators of this stage. You’ve ly become more irritable, and alcohol may start to affect you differently.
You’ll need to drink more to achieve the same effects you used to feel and often pass out from alcohol.
Changes in your body such as facial redness, stomach bloating, shaking, sweating and memory lapses start to affect you.
Identifying Someone with Middle-Stage Alcoholism
The further someone’s drinking progresses, the easier it becomes to notice their lack of control. Middle-stage alcoholism is when their drinking problem reaches more serious levels. Clear examples of progressive alcoholism include placing drinking ahead of their family, their job, or their education.
Treatment is most beneficial for those at the point of middle-stage alcoholism. They haven’t reached a place where their health declined too far and they can make some extreme changes in their lives. Attending alcohol rehab at this stage will be incredibly beneficial.
In this phase, the effects of long-term alcohol abuse will start to become apparent. You might have tried and failed to stop or cut down drinking several times, too.
Alcohol consumption becomes an all-day affair, and your priorities change to facilitate drinking as the most important aspect of your life.
If you’ve lost your job or you’re in financial trouble, the sadness and worry associated with these life events could make the situation worse.
Paranoia is frequently seen during this phase.
Some people — known as functioning alcoholics — can still maintain their life during this phase, but this is rare and ly to lead to liver damage or other alcohol-related illnesses.
If you feel your drinking problem is chronic but your life isn’t falling apart, don’t continue down this dangerous path. This disease is progressive, and your health will eventually bear the brunt.
What to Do When Someone Has End-Stage Alcoholism
End-stage alcoholism is the most serious point to reach. It’s evident when someone is at the end-stages of their alcohol addiction. They see severe impacts on their health, relationships, employment, finances, and overall satisfaction with life.
Someone who is at the point of end-stage alcoholism needs treatment as soon as possible. If they choose not to address their drinking problem, they’re ly to drink themselves into an alcohol-induced illness, such as cirrhosis or cancer.
Help is Available During Every Stage of Alcoholism
The stages of alcoholism are a helpful tool to help determine the progression of alcoholism but they are by no means a rule. They outline the typical trajectory of alcoholism to reveal the steady decline from social to chronic alcohol use.
The Jellinek Curve doesn’t end there, though. It also includes the journey of alcohol addiction and into recovery. He outlines the ways people can recover from their problematic drinking behaviors. And you can shift from the downward spiral of alcoholism and toward the upward trajectory at any point.
There is no such thing as not being “alcoholic enough.” There is no reason to wait until you feel your drinking is bad enough to warrant treatment. You can ask for help at any point, whenever you realize your drinking has gone too far.
Help is available for you no matter which stage of alcoholism you’ve reached. Thousands of people find a solution to their drinking through alcohol rehab each year. Alcohol addiction treatment teaches you more about the nature of your condition and provides you with the tools you need for long-term recovery.
If you can relate to the issues outlined above or know someone who falls into any of the four categories, medical treatment in a rehabilitation facility is the most effective path to long-term recovery. To find out how to get the help you need, speak to one of Peace Valley Recovery’s addiction specialists at 215-780-1953.
The Stages of Alcohol Recovery — The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab
It’s easier to walk down a difficult path if you know where it leads. The recovery process takes time, effort, willpower and support, but the sober life at the end is worth it. However, it can be easy to get discouraged along the way, which is why addiction experts have created a model that can help you visualize a path to recovery.
The Stages of Change Model outlines the steps many take throughout the addiction recovery process. While every person’s journey to sobriety is unique, you may recognize yourself or a loved one in any of these stages.
Stage One: Precontemplation
Signs of a drinking problem can include financial issues, legal problems, struggling in relationships and using alcohol to deal with stress. Some of the physical symptoms include shakiness, bloated appearance, sweating, changes in skin complexion, weight gain or loss, nausea, sleep issues and more.
During the precontemplation stage, a person is feeling the effects of their addiction but is not interested in changing their habits. They will ly be defensive about their alcohol use and may even deny that it’s beyond their control.
It sometimes takes a big event for someone to understand that they have an alcohol use disorder, such as a legal issue or an intervention. After someone realizes they may have an issue with alcohol use, they can move onto the second stage.
Stage Two: Contemplation
When someone reaches Stage Two, they are thinking about changing at least some of their habits within the next six months. They’ll be weighing the pros and cons of quitting and might be more receptive to information about their addiction than they were in Stage One.
During this time, it’s helpful for loved ones to make themselves available for honest, nonjudgmental conversations. The decision to move toward recovery can feel overwhelming and the support of family and friends is often a crucial factor in helping someone take the next step.
Stage Three: Preparation
Some people consider Stage Three the first real step toward recovery, as this is when a person has made a commitment to change. They may begin this stage by taking small steps away from negative habits. Researching alcohol recovery is also common and extremely helpful during this time.
In fact, jumping into recovery without understanding what it entails can make it harder than it needs to be. For example, the detoxification process can cause severe physical effects if not approached in the right way.
It’s important for people to have an idea of what they’ll be experiencing during treatment.
There are also complicated emotions to work through. For many, addiction can feel a relationship — something that they’ve been relying on for support. Losing it can lead to the stages of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, depression and eventual acceptance.
Stage Four: Action
If Stage Three is about committing the mind to recovery, Stage Four is about committing the body. A person is ly to actively seek support during this stage. The first action to take is alcohol detoxification, or “detox.
” If someone is attempting a detox outside of a detox facility, they should have a family member or friend nearby to monitor them throughout the process.
These people should be prepared to seek medical help if the person in detox begins experiencing symptoms of delirium tremens, which include seizures, hallucinations or confusion.
At a treatment facility, detox involves three key processes:
- Evaluation: Doctors will conduct blood tests and health screenings to assess what kind of damage the addiction has inflicted on the patient’s body.
- Stabilization: The patient may be given medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms and be prescribed a balanced diet to fight malnutrition. The patient will also learn what to expect during treatment and recovery.
- Transition: Once stabilized, the patient will begin the transition from detox to treatment. Many people choose to use an outpatient program so they can continue working at their job and stay close to loved ones. For more serious cases, however, doctors may recommend a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or residential treatment.
During treatment, some people will embrace the new, healthy habits they’re learning. They’ll rediscover favorite hobbies that were left in the past and will ly pick up new ones as well. It’s also common to make new friends at a treatment facility. They will embrace action throughout the treatment and recovery process.
Related: Get Started with Online Substance Abuse Treatment
Stage Five: Maintenance
As treatment progresses, the focus will turn from learning about the sober life to practicing recovery techniques and healthy coping strategies every day.
A person in this stage will be discovering freedoms in their new life that they may have never thought they could experience. They’ll ly still feel the temptation to drink, but they’ll be focused on their goal.
After all, alcohol recovery isn’t about abstaining from a substance — it’s about changing your whole life.
During this time, a person may begin to feel extreme emotions that develop into what some call pink cloud syndrome. The pink cloud is a phase in which the emotions that were suppressed by addiction come flooding back.
These positive emotions can feel powerful and extremely encouraging, but when they stop, the lows can be crushing.
Recovery can feel a roller coaster as emotions work themselves back to normal, and being unprepared for it can trigger a relapse.
Relapse is a very real possibility in any stage of recovery, and it is important to understand which situations carry higher risks. If a relapse does happen, remember that it’s only temporary. It is normal to feel a sense of failure, but it doesn’t mean the treatment isn’t working. In fact, relapse is very common and is an expected part of the Stages of Change model.
Stage Six: Transcendence
Many people include this stage as the final step in the path to recovery. Someone who reaches it will feel they no longer need their old habits or lifestyle.
The pain of alcohol use might even feel profoundly distant from who you are now. How long it takes to reach this stage is different for every person, but it can only be achieved by maintaining a commitment to recovery each day.
Keep moving forward, and you’ll look back one day and see just how far you’ve come.
If you are struggling with an alcohol use disorder and are looking to begin your journey to recovery, The Recovery Village is here to help. Contact us to learn more about programs that can work well for your situation and give you the resources needed for a healthier, alcohol-free future.
De Pietro, MaryAnn. “Signs of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.” Medical News Today, July 5, 2018. Accessed December 29, 2019.
LaMorte, Wayne, W. “The Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change).” Boston University School of Public Health, September 9, 2019. Accessed January 9, 2020.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Drunk Driving.” (n.d.). Accessed December 29, 2019.
MedlinePlus. “Grief.” March 26, 2018. Accessed December 29, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes.
We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
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