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Does Alcoholism Start as a Choice?

The important thing to recognize with alcoholism is that every person’s problem is unique from another’s. No two people or addictions are alike; however, the stages of the alcoholism are usually similar. Knowing them can help you understand your problem and help you recover.

The First Stage of Alcoholism

Some of the early signs of alcoholism include the following:

  • A slow increase in the tolerance to alcohol
  • Using alcohol to self-medicate symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress or worry
  • Using alcohol to cope with overwhelming problems

In this early stage it can be difficult to see a difference between someone who is just a heavy drinker and someone who is struggling with the early stages of alcoholism. It is important to note that alcohol is often abused because drinkers have not learned effective coping mechanisms for stress. So, while there is indeed a choice to pick up the first drink, it might be the only choice that person sees to help him function on a normal level.

The Second Stage of Alcoholism

When an alcoholic crosses the line into the middle stages of a drinking problem, there is rarely one big event to mark the new stage. Instead this new stage can be marked by the following:

  • When the alcoholic drinks, there is a sharp decrease in any pleasures that were once experienced. Her or his drinking is now more medicinal to help her get over the hangover from the previous day’s drinking.
  • Destructive behaviors are more visible as the drinking progresses.
  • Those closest to the alcoholic are starting to notice more behaviors that are out of character; behaviors that are clearly influenced by the alcohol.
  • Poor performance at work will now become very clear; disciplinary action or even loss of job may be experienced.
  • A craving for the alcohol is starting to develop and grow increasingly stronger.
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms may be present when the alcoholic is unable to drink.
  • Blackouts and memory loss may start to occur with increasing frequency.

The Final Stage of Alcoholism

The late stages of alcoholism are the point at which the alcoholic can no longer effectively hide the signs of alcoholism. Alcoholics in this stage often exude the following behaviors:

  • Extreme physical health concerns that include infection as well as damage to the heart, liver and pancreas
  • The alcoholic may now be acutely aware of his or her problem but finds it near impossible to break free from its grip
  • A physical dependency to alcohol keeps the alcoholic drinking
  • Loved ones may have given up trying to offer hope or help

While the last stages of alcoholism do sound bleak, the reality is that there is help. A quality alcohol rehab program will offer medically supervised detox as well as treatment for the mental health issues that are contributing to the addiction.

Free Alcoholism Helpline

Rehab can help patients break away from alcoholism triggers and treat the depression, anxiety and alcohol addiction. Inpatient rehab is not for every lifestyle, however; it does pay to learn more about your options.
Call our 24 hour toll-free helpline today. Calls are confidential and allow you to discuss your situation with our understanding counselors. Don’t delay getting professional help. This is one choice that you can make for a bright future.