The Stages of Alcoholism

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) classifies alcohol use as a disease. Overall, it’s a progressive illness, meaning it becomes exponentially worse as it advances. Thus, knowing the stages of alcoholism will help you determine when it’s time to seek treatment. Here’s what you should know about the 5 stages of alcoholism.

What are the Stages of Alcoholism?

During the first stage, users may binge drink or abuse alcohol only occasionally. Most feel this isn’t a problem if they only use every once in awhile. However, it can quickly transform into frequent drinking. During stage two, individuals may binge drink on weekends and consume in moderation during the week.

Furthermore, when drinking becomes problematic, an individual reaches stage three. At this point, they may change their social habits to revolve around drinking. Many form new relationships and sever ties with old friends who might not approve of their alcohol use.

Stage four involves dependency and an ever-increasing need for alcohol. Those in the throes of this stage develop an unusual tolerance to alcohol and require more and more of it to produce the same euphoric effects.

Stage five is addiction. At this point, people can no longer control their drinking. They may continue consuming alcohol despite the known risks. Once someone develops an addiction, they’re drinking is no longer under control.

Everyone Progresses Differently

There’s no timeline for progressing through the five alcoholism stages. For example, some people go from step one to five in a matter of weeks, whereas others take years to develop addiction. Additionally, other people progress only to stage two or three and never reach the latter stages.

It’s impossible to determine whose disease will progress at a certain rate. However, you should never assume your loved one’s alcoholism is any less severe. As soon as you notice the early signs of a problem, take action. Overall, the sooner someone seeks treatment, the greater the odds of recovery.

1st Step Behavioral Health Can Help

To conquer alcoholism, take advantage of 1st Step Behavioral Health’s quality programs including:

With more than 25 years in the addiction recovery field, 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano, Beach Florida treats all the stages of alcoholism. We provide a brand new outlook on life and work hard to help you overcome your addiction. Our long-term treatment model and caring staff members ensure the best chances for successful recovery.

Seek Alcoholism Treatment Today

Alcoholism drastically alters your life. Stop letting it. Visit our Florida alcohol rehab center to change your life for the better. Contact us at (866) 319-6126 today to begin your personal journey to recovery.

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.