Stages Of Alcoholism & The Jellinek Curve

Stages Of Alcoholism

This stage occurs when you’ve lost control of your alcohol intake. You may find there are certain times when you’re drunk for multiple days, you’re experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms, or you develop a mental health disorder. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

If you choose to leave alcohol behind, you may be able to better manage things like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder . Moderate drinking can help prevent both negative health effects and AUD.


Someone in this stage needs to seek professional treatment as soon as possible as they are likely to drink themselves into serious health problems or even death. Middle-stage alcoholism occurs when a person starts to prioritize drinking above their relationships, their career, and/or their education. This is also the stage where treatment for drinking can be the most beneficial. This is because the impact of drinking on their health has typically not progressed to a level that can’t be reversed with healthy lifestyle changes. When a person starts to regularly binge drink and have blackouts, this is a sign they’ve progressed to the second stage of alcohol use disorder. Many times, especially with young adults and teens, these patterns are simply a sign of alcohol experimentation.

  • Alcoholism in its end stages can cause serious, even life-threatening health problems.
  • This stage can last indefinitely, but those with a predisposition to be alcoholics will eventually move on to the next stage.
  • Effective addiction treatment providers will have addiction counselors, but they should also have mental health services as many people with alcoholism have co-occurring mental health conditions.
  • Drinking-related legal issues occur, like driving under the influence .
  • If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today.
  • It is important that we take an honest and unbiased look at our behaviors and symptoms so that we can assess our need for assistance as we seek to live healthy and meaningful lives.

If you have a loved one with alcohol use disorder you know that it can be an extremely difficult task to support them through their struggles with alcohol use. Hank started drinking more when he retired and did not know what to do with himself.

Middle Alcoholic Phase

There are several popular stage models of the progression of alcohol use disorders . According to LaTrobe University, there are four kinds of drinkers. These types of drinkers are the social drinker, the person who drinks to conform, the person who drinks for enhancement, and the person who drinks to cope. Often individuals with alcohol use disorder are drinking to cope and an underlying issue has prompted their alcohol use. Alyssa Hill Content Contributor Alyssa is a content contributor and lead editor for AlcoholRehabHelp. In Journalism from the University of Arizona and has extensive experience writing authoritative medical content, including in the addiction space.

As we have worked to understand addiction and the treatments that are valuable today Jellinek’s idea that stages exist within Alcohol Use Disorder continues to be helpful today. These programs typically last 30, 60, or 90 days, sometimes longer. Noticed any alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, increased heart rate, restlessness, and/or seizures after stopping use. A few of the most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms are shaking hands, sweating profusely, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, seizures, and hallucinations.

Helpful Resources For Families And Loved Ones

Alcohol use is stopped, spiritual needs are examined, and the possibility of a new way of life without alcohol becomes possible. All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of early alcoholism yourself, it may be time to reassess your drinking habits. If you’re noticing signs in a loved one, it may be helpful to express your concern by calmly asking them about their drinking. People that are struggling with alcohol use are not always responsive to a loved one’s concerns. People may often become defensive about their drinking, deny having a problem, lash out, or withdraw from those questioning their alcohol use. In these cases, staging a group intervention may be a beneficial option. Help is available for you no matter which stage of alcoholism you’ve reached. Thousands of people find a solution to their drinking through alcohol rehab each year.

This disease is characterized by cravings, loss of control, and increasing alcohol intake in order to produce the desired effect. Additionally, alcoholics typically drink in order to escape from their reality or from feelings in relation to past-traumas.

Difference Between Alcohol Use Disorder Aud And Alcoholism

At Banyan Detox Stuart, we understand the stages of alcoholism and its dangers. Alcohol abuse can destroy a person’s health and relationship with others. The beginning of the early alcoholic phase is usually defined by a blackout. At this stage, alcoholics begin to realize their problem with drinking, but are unable to stop. Drinkers in this stage may find themselves lying about their drinking habits to their family, friends, and co-workers.

Stages Of Alcoholism

With so many effects on the body, the usual first step in treating alcoholism is detox—or getting alcohol out of your system. Depending on the severity of the alcohol use disorder, this stage can be mildly annoying or severe. Early withdrawal symptoms include headaches, anxiety, nausea, irritability and shaking. Each stage features signs and symptoms of mild to severe alcohol useand can help people determine when someone has developed a problem and how severe it is. Although it can be difficult to confront a drinking problem, it is never too early or too late to seek professional help. No matter how long you have been struggling, recovery from alcohol use is possible.

Find Help For Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism Today

You may start to feel sick from heavy drinking, but enjoy its effects too much to care. Many drinkers at this stage are more likely to drink and drive or experience legal troubles as a result of their drinking. The stages of alcoholism are a helpful tool to help determine the progression of alcoholism but they are by no means a rule. They outline the typical trajectory of alcoholism to reveal the steady decline from social to chronic alcohol use.

Stages Of Alcoholism

However, they need to consume more alcohol in order to produce the same effect they experienced in the beginning. Additionally, this stage of alcoholism is when an individual will begin to identify a sense of emotional relief as an effect of alcohol. At this crisis point, everyone is aware of the effects of alcoholism—including the alcoholic. The alcoholic is rarely without a drink, but thinks no one notices. This stage frequently results in alcohol-related deaths for users who do not enter treatment. You may become more depressed, more anxious, or start losing sleep.

You might think binge drinking is safe when you only do it occasionally, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Peace Valley Recovery seeks to heal individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction through building a bridge to a peaceful and purposeful life. The pre-alcoholic stage occurs before alcohol is ever a real problem.

Partial Hospitalization Programs Phps

Blackouts from drinking occur when alcohol shuts down the area of the brain responsible for making memories, leading to periods of time the person doesn’t remember. If a person enjoys the feeling of rapidly getting drunk, or seeks intoxication as quickly as possible, this may indicate the beginnings of a deeper issue. Over time, as problem drinkers start to drink more frequently and in greater amounts, they will begin to build a tolerance to alcohol. When a tolerance is built, individuals will need to consume more and more alcohol to experience the same desired effects. A man having five or more drinks or a woman having four or more drinks within a two hour period. Although a single episode of binge drinking can lead to serious consequences , not every individual who binge drinks on occasion will go on to develop an alcohol addiction. In fact, the first stage of alcoholism typically begins with experimentation.

The further someone’s drinking progresses, the easier it becomes to notice their lack of control. Middle-stage alcoholism is when their drinking problem reaches more serious levels. Clear examples of progressive alcoholism include placing drinking ahead of their family, their job, or their education. Individuals in this stage may not be drinking every day or even every week.

They see severe impacts on their health, relationships, employment, finances, and overall satisfaction with life. Some people — known as functioning alcoholics — can still maintain their life during this phase, but this is rare and likely to lead to liver damage or other alcohol-related illnesses. If you feel like your drinking problem is chronic but your life isn’t falling apart, don’t continue down this dangerous path. This disease is progressive, and your health will eventually bear the brunt. During this stage, your condition may become evident to friends and family, although some people can become highly adept at hiding problem drinking. One of the main issues with this disease is how easy it becomes to lie to yourself as well.

Middle Alcoholic Stage

It’s a disease—an altering of the brain that controls a person’s motivation and ability to make healthy choices. Once it takes hold, it can be hard to shake loose—without the right Stages Of Alcoholism help. Take the first step toward addiction treatment by contacting us today. This is especially true for teens who attend parties where drinking is the primary activity.

Because drinking is a very common part of American adult activities, the pre-alcoholic stage can be very difficult to spot. As drinking progresses, the brain and body adjust to the presence of alcohol. The brain gets used to having alcohol tell it to release these happy chemicals and stops releasing them on its own. The next stage of alcoholism begins when an individual starts to become dependent on alcohol. Shadow Mountain Recovery is a modern, innovative healthcare organization offering a path to recovery to those suffering with substance use and mental health disorders. The pre-alcoholic stage, early alcoholic stage, and middle alcoholic stage are steps leading to alcohol use disorder. During these stages, many people are able to attend to their important life tasks, but alcohol use will make this increasingly difficult.

The field of alcohol science progressed further after Prohibition was repealed in the 1930s. Researchers conducted more studies to help them learn and understand why, regardless of the consequences, some people cannot control or stop drinking. This new phase of research laid the groundwork for how we understand alcohol addiction today. People who struggle to control their consumption have likely existed for as long as alcohol has been around. The public understanding of alcohol addiction, however, is a newer concept.

At the end of the day, each of us has something we need to work on. Your reasons for drinking may be different from someone else’s, and that’s OK. It’s well known that alcohol can cause dehydration, which can wreak havoc on your skin. By being properly hydrated, you can help maintain your skin’s elasticity.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals. As mentioned, addiction and addiction recovery are unique experiences that will differ greatly between people. With that being said, the Jellinek Curve, despite its age, offers wonderful insights into the progression of alcohol use.

Potential Predictors Of Alcohol Use Disorders

Alibi system is frequently used to justify the using because the drinking is out of control. The addict becomes defensive if s/he believes that others are concerned. Herculean efforts are expended in order to convince others as well as her/himself that alcohol is not the problem. The drinking may be blamed on a bad relationship, difficulties at work, one’s geographic location or even the weather.

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