The Four Stages of Alcoholism: Pre, Early, Middle, & Late

early stages of alcoholism

In the recovery stage of alcoholism, people who are in crisis recognize that they need help and work to stop drinking entirely as they rebuild their lives. This stage is often characterized by sobriety, self-awareness, and positive changes with the goal of long-term recovery. During the recovery stage, it’s not uncommon to feel temporarily worse.

early stages of alcoholism

Alcoholism Stages − Get Professional Help

early stages of alcoholism

If you answer “yes” to most of them, you may be in this stage along with most people who drink on occasion. While the recovery period may be challenging, it’s also filled with milestones that can transform your life into one that’s better than you could have previously imagined. The mental challenge of this stage is not to let anything make you feel defeated. Our free email newsletter offers guidance from top addiction specialists, inspiring sobriety stories, and practical recovery tips to help you or a loved one keep coming back and staying sober.

Alcoholic Liver Disease/Cirrhosis

They may feel like they need alcohol to relax, socialize, or cope with stress. Psychotherapy and counseling are pivotal in the treatment of alcohol addiction, addressing the psychological underpinnings and aiding in long-term recovery. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most recognized forms of psychotherapy for alcoholism, backed by a substantial body of evidence highlighting its efficacy.

What is Alcoholism (Alcohol Use Disorder)?

In the second stage, individuals start to develop a higher tolerance, requiring more alcohol to feel its effects. This leads to increased alcohol consumption and cravings, as well as a greater risk of binge drinking, and can be considered a moderate case of alcohol abuse. Effective treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Signs of AUD include a strong craving for alcohol, loss of control over alcohol intake, withdrawal symptoms upon cessation and a tolerance that leads to increased consumption.
  • The pancreas also suffers, as alcohol induces the production of toxic substances, leading to pancreatitis, a painful and potentially life-threatening condition.
  • Lastly, it is important to remember that alcoholism is a chronic disease, and recovery is a journey that requires patience, understanding, and support.

These stages can help prevent relapse and support people to live healthier, fuller lives. Alcoholism is a chronic and often progressive disease that can have devastating effects on individuals and their loved ones. The disease is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to consume alcohol despite the negative consequences that arise from its use.

early stages of alcoholism

Alcohol Tolerance

Though recovery is still possible, prolonged alcoholism can affect your health in the long-term. Often termed the ‚prodromal‘ phase, this stage is when people start to drink more often, which can lead to some dangerous consequences. You might experience occasional memory blackouts as a result of your drinking, and you might find yourself drinking on their own or in secret.

  • It’s important to identify these situations and avoid them whenever possible.
  • Inpatient treatment involves living on-site at the detox or rehab facility, an approach that keeps patients in a healing environment and allows for better monitoring and treatment.
  • End-stage alcoholism, also known as late-stage alcoholism, represents the most severe phase of an alcohol use disorder (AUD), characterized by profound health issues and life-threatening conditions.
  • Overall, chronic alcoholism not only deteriorates physical health but also erodes the fabric of social interactions, often leading to isolation and conflict within personal relationships.

This disorder also involves having to drink more to get the same effect or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. Alcohol use disorder includes a level of drinking that’s sometimes called alcoholism. Our writers and reviewers are experienced professionals in medicine, addiction treatment, and healthcare.

Intervention Help

Medical treatment may be necessary to detoxify the body of alcohol and to obtain a fresh start. Since many people with alcoholism endure psychological problems, individual or group therapy may help in overcoming addiction. If any of the information listed in this article rings true for you, 5 stages of drinking or for a loved one, know that help and support is available and that recovery is within your reach. They’ll be able to assess your symptoms, discuss your drinking habits with you and outline next steps for support. You could also consider private treatment for alcohol addiction with Priory.

Alcoholism & Anger Management: Mental Health & Addiction

alcoholism and anger triggers

Understanding this dynamic highlights the importance of mindfulness and caution regarding alcohol consumption, particularly for individuals prone to anger-related challenges. Anger, a normal emotion, can be manifested in various behaviors ranging from mild irritation to explosive outbursts. When alcohol enters the equation, its impact on our neurobiology becomes essential to understand. Alcohol has a significant impact on our social landscape, from casual gatherings to formal events. However, it acts as a potential catalyst for heightened emotional responses, particularly anger.

How to find support for anger and alcohol misuse

  • Alcohol can provoke different emotional responses for different people.
  • Positive memories of drinking, paired with the minimized recollection of negative consequences, lead to unrealistic expectations about drinking.
  • The morning after a night out can be rough—grappling with a pounding headache, nausea and a tidal wave of anxiety.
  • For example, suppose you see a friend or person in your surroundings with violent behavior after drinking alcohol.

And all too often, as in Ryan’s case, it reflects displacement, directing anger toward a target that is not the source of an individual’s original anger. Under the influence of alcohol, those already predisposed toward anger may vent or, more seriously, direct their anger toward a target that might be experienced as less threatening than the original target. Attending one-on-one therapy with a licensed therapist can help you work through anger issues in a more private setting.

alcoholism and anger triggers

What Are the Strategies for Anger Management?

I’m also a first-generation American and proud Latina so I’m especially passionate about supporting individuals with diverse backgrounds. In addition to being a Forbes Senior Contributor, you can find me on LinkedIn and my blog at My work is also regularly featured in publications including the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Inc., Success Magazine and many others. Throughout the day following heavy drinking, you may find it hard to stay awake, but anxiety can also make falling asleep difficult, creating a hellish tug-of-war.

Take the First Step Towards a Healthier Life

As a depressant, alcohol slows central nervous system activity, limiting inhibitions and promoting impulsive behaviors – including anger issues. Abuse during childhood increases the risk for alcohol use disorders in both adolescence and in adulthood. This is particularly true for children who grow up in alcoholic homes, researchers report. When the body experiences stress, or even perceived stress, it mobilizes a variety of physiological and behavioral changes via the nervous and endocrine systems to achieve a goal of maintaining homeostasis and coping with stress. With some insight into factors that can cause rage or aggression while drinking, you can take steps to avoid certain behaviors. Alcohol consumption may also lead to a rage response because of expectations, according to researchers (1).

  • When a situation doesn’t match up with our preconceived expectations, we can get easily frustrated.
  • While anger isn’t necessarily a side effect of alcoholism, drinking to “dull” or “numb” the anger (or other emotions) isn’t just ineffective – it could be a sign that it’s time to seek help for some deeper issues.
  • Kelly Siebold is a postpartum depression and anxiety survivor, Founder and CEO of Thrive Postpartum, and podcast host who helps moms struggling with maternal mental health issues after experiencing them herself.

If you believe you’re displaying more than one of these behaviors, you might be dealing with a dry drunk syndrome or another co-occurring disorder in your recovery. Consider speaking with an addiction therapist to discuss your feelings and explore the various treatment outlets to find happiness and fulfillment in your sober life. As if that wasn’t complex enough, anger can also result from inherited tendencies or brain chemistry.

alcoholism and anger triggers

Is There a “Safe” Amount of Alcohol for the Brain?

Heavy drinkers can experience severe and sometimes life threatening symptoms when reducing alcohol intake, so it’s important to have medical support. Anger expression may also be confused with aggression or hostility, two consequences of drinking commonly cited in research. The link between alcohol and aggression has been established since the 1990s, and a World Health Organization (WHO) committee in the 2000s noted aggression is more closely linked to alcohol use than any other psychoactive substance. Specifically, it found that problematic drinkers may be more likely to attend to aggressogenic stimuli while intoxicated, and that is, they were more likely to experience certain cues as aggressive. Consuming alcohol can serve as a distraction from a range of negative feelings, including anger.

alcoholism and anger triggers

What is Cotton Fever: Myths, Facts & Treatment Options

Since this research was conducted, the study of predictors of outcome has progressed substantially (c.f., Adamson, Sellman & Frampton, 2009 for a review). Alcohol withdrawal can be potentially life-threatening, in the case of severe dependence. Medical detox is typically considered the optimal method for allowing alcohol to safely alcoholism and anger process out of the body while under continual medical supervision. When people have difficulty controlling impulses, trouble regulating their emotions, or may present a danger to themselves and/or others, medical detox is required. Medical detox programs are often the first stage in a comprehensive addiction treatment program.

  • Through empathy and support, we can create environments that nurture healthier relationships with both alcohol and emotions.
  • Sessions began with reviews of cravings, high-risk situations, and any alcohol consumption between each session.
  • In the late 80s I worked in an inpatient program for women who self-injure.
  • Second, although therapists completed intensive training and training cases, measures of therapist adherence or competence were not obtained.

For example, suppose you see a friend or person in your surroundings with violent behavior after drinking alcohol. In that case, you may react the same way because of excessive exposure to such harmful environments and behaviors. Similarly, a low socioeconomic background can also make you express anger outbursts more often. The terms “anger” and “aggression” are usually used interchangeably; however, there is a difference between Anger and aggression. Anger is an emotion experienced when you feel threatened and frustrated, while aggression is a behavior in which you can harm yourself, your family, and others. It is important to note that anger is a normal human response, but it can be warped and misdirected, causing problems for you and those around you.

The Effects of Being Angry at Work