Alcohol addiction – stages of progression

Addiction is a progressive disease with three classes of stages – early, middle, and late stages in ascending order. The characteristics of each stage lie in varying cognitive mechanics and behavioral patterns. The affected patient is subjected to a recovery process when the addiction stage has been determined. This process is carried out by registered treatment centers.

Early stage

This is best characterized by sneaking of drinks and drugs, however applicable. This is often preceded by thoughts to misuse or abuse the substance. For instance, regular doses begin to vary. Gradual and controlled dosage becomes sporadic. For alcohol addiction, the affected person begins to gulp his drink faster than usual. A common route of administering drugs in addicted patients is by injection. Most times, the dosage is spiked. Eventually, repetition of these processes results in memory blackouts.

Memory blackout is a phase where the affected individual loses consciousness of the influence of the abused drug. Nevertheless, this is an indication of high drug tolerance. In extreme cases, isolation starts to set in as the individual fails to integrate himself into social functions. Gradually, the individual finds it uncomfortable to be without drugs or alcohol. This situation is called ‘relief drinking.’

At this stage, one may prescribe de-addiction centers for drugs and alcohol as an immediate solution.

Middle stage

Loss of control is the main feature of this stage. For addicted individuals, there is no line between right and wrong and self-discipline is often compromised. The frequency of relief drinking increases. Because of the fall in the value system, the addict finds it comfortable to come up with an excuse for taking the substance. Even though he knows the consequences of overdose, he cons himself into abusing the substance.

From. This point, morning cravings for alcohol or drug begins. When he realizes the lack of control, he begins to consider abstinence or geographical change both of which are unsuccessful. Alcohol addiction usually results in aggression and rationalization.

Thus, cognitive distortions exhibited through minimizing, diverting, and rationalization are addressed in the alcohol de-addiction treatment regimen. Yet, the addict puts up a self-defence where he completely jettisons the realities of life – a phase of denial

At this stage, the denial phase makes the addiction recovery process a tough one. Other features are unfounded resentments, devaluation of personal relationships, isolation, low self-esteem, poor control mechanisms, poor eating habits, lackluster sex drive, and inability to sustain a job.

Late stage

Shakes and tremors set in after an accumulated time of drug and alcohol addiction. For want of control, lengthy binges cannot be avoided. Some cognitive and thinking processes become impaired, resulting in irrationality. Accumulated guilt makes the addict persistently remorse. While tolerance decreases, there is an increase in emotional instability. Other common features are deterioration in physical health and moral standards.

Addiction recovery involves addressing the guilt felt in the previous stages. This is the point where there is need to admit the patient into a de-addiction center. In worse cases, psychiatric hospitals are used instead. Failure to get adequate help may eventually result in death.

The pattern of symptoms may vary from one addict to the other. But the onset of more than 60% of the outline symptoms is enough to proceed to the next stage. Thus, the progression of addiction is basically determined by a predictable curve. Most importantly, addicts may be administered an addiction recovery regimen in any of the stages especially the first stage.

Alcohol addiction can be treated by a detox process. Before starting a treatment process, it is essential to flush out the culprit – be it alcohol or drugs.