The Stages of Alcoholism [Infographic]

Last Updated: Jan 2nd 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

The Stages of Alcoholism [Infographic]

Drinking alcohol to excess harms your health. But because the substance is a powerful drug, far too many people form an addiction to it. A contributing factor is the somewhat laissez-faire attitude society takes of drinking and overdoing it. Across the five stages of alcoholism, risky behaviors or death follow individuals who grapple with it.

88,000: Annual Deaths across the Stages of Alcoholism

Alcohol use can result in preventable deaths. Government officials suggest that the substance contributes to about 88,000 fatalities a year. These deaths may be the results of failing health during the latter stage of alcoholism. They can also be the results of vehicle accidents where alcohol played a role.

4 or 5 Drinks: Characteristics of a Binge

Health experts define binge drinking as imbibing four drinks (women) or five drinks (men) in two hours. When it’s easy for someone to do so without showing visible signs of intoxication, he or she is likely in the first stage of alcoholism. People call this “being able to hold your liquor.” Your body recognizes it as an adaptive stage where you build up a tolerance. At this point, people may begin exhibiting alcoholism symptoms.

1 in 6 Adults: Number of People Who Binge Each Month

Estimates suggest that one in six American adults engages in about four binges each month. In the course of these binges, these individuals may consume an average of eight drinks for each event. For some, this behavior propels them to the second stage of alcoholism: cravings. Substance abuse often becomes a real problem during this stage.

$2.05 Per Drink: The Cost of Alcohol Abuse

Officials put a dollar figure on the losses that the stages of alcoholism can cause. The total amount would be $249 billion in a year. This number breaks down to $2.05 for each drink. Factoring into the equation are productivity losses, healthcare costs, and crime statistics.

2,221: Alcohol Poisoning Fatalities a Year

Stages three and four of alcoholism involve a gradual loss of control. You form a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol and rapidly head toward the end stage of the disease. On average, 2,221 individuals die each year of alcohol poisoning, which primarily affects people over the age of 35.

Get Help Before You Reach the Final Stages of Alcoholism

At a rehab facility, therapists routinely work with people in all stages of the disease. They use programs such as:

  • Residential rehab to help participants avoid co-dependent relationships and peer groups that encourage using
  • Partial hospitalization to assist individuals with co-occurring disorders to get the intensive care they need
  • Intensive outpatient treatment for individual with moderate addiction and responsibilities they can’t hand off to someone else
  • Dual disorder assessment, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Talk therapy in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy and similar settings

Whether you’re in the early, middle, or late stage of this disease, help is available. Maybe you made it through treatment and relapsed. There’s still a chance to recover. Contact the therapists at 1st Step Behavioral Health to find out what it takes to get well. Call (866) 319-6126 today.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.