In this last stage of alcoholism, the individual often exhibits both physical and mental health issues. Only a qualified mental health professional can give you an official diagnosis of alcohol use disorder. Often times, alcoholics develop chronic health conditions as a result of their drinking.

For Friends and Family

This stage of alcoholism is difficult to notice, even for the person misusing alcohol. Alcohol detox is usually only completed within an inpatient program because the individual may need urgent medical care as they go through withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can cause dangerous to life-threatening symptoms. The damage to the brain is often the most severe because alcoholism can lead to strokes, dementia, seizures, and other neurological conditions. Some of these conditions can impair a person’s ability to process and remember day-to-day information. There are over 3 million cases of alcoholism (alcohol use disorder) diagnosed in the United States each year.

What Is an Alcoholic?

5 stages of alcoholism

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Take our short (it takes less than 5 minutes) questionnaire based on the DSM-5 criteria to assess the severity of your alcohol use. The severity of the AUD depends on how many of the symptoms they have. A hit on six or more questions can be considered a severe case of AUD. Talk to your doctor if you think you might have a drinking problem.

  • They can often hold conversations without stuttering or slurring.
  • This CME/CE credit opportunity is jointly provided by the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and NIAAA.
  • At this point, you have an attachment to alcohol that has taken over your regular routine.
  • Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain.

What is considered 1 drink?

  • End-stage alcoholism, also known as late-stage alcoholism, is the most severe.
  • There are no quick fixes to addiction, and alcoholism is no different.
  • Although you may relapse and start drinking again, these programs can help you transition to sobriety much better.
  • Alcoholism is a treatable disease, with many treatment programs and approaches available to support alcoholics who have decided to get help.

A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma or death. This is of particular concern when you’re taking certain medications that also depress the brain’s function. Using alcohol during adolescence (from preteens to mid-20s) may affect brain development, making it more likely that they will be diagnosed with AUD later in life. However, most people with AUD—no matter their age or the severity of their alcohol problems—can benefit from treatment with behavioral health therapies, medications, or both. The recovery and rehabilitation stage involves treatment, therapy, and aftercare programs.

  • One of them is DUI – 2012 data of the Bureau of Justice show that almost 30 million people admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • These stages show how one goes from the beginning stages through to sustained recovery.
  • So far, there’s no consensus on the medical definition of recovery in alcohol treatment literature.
  • What might seem harmless at first can get worse if it’s not treated.
  • Hosted by Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares strategies for coping with alcohol cravings and other addictions, featuring addiction specialist John Umhau, MD.

Recovery Coaching