Alcoholism Stages: How Do Abuse and Dependence Occur?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a progressive disease. It has 5 stages, as you can see in the infographic. It can be difficult to recognize alcoholism in its early stages, especially if a user tries to hide their consumption. Sometimes, family members and friends ignore the first few symptoms of alcoholism or attribute them to a bad mood or well-being. People around the user can notice the problem when it is already on the third or even fourth stage, when physical changes (appearance and health), problems at work, or negative alcohol-related events occur.
One stage may take months or years before moving on to another one. On average, the five stages of AUD last ten years before death comes in 25% of cases. The time between each stage depends on many factors including a dose-dependent manner with the amount of alcohol consumed and with the frequency of drinking.
Recognizing that you or someone you care about is abusing alcohol is not easy. It brings feelings of shame, hurt, embarrassment. A common piece of advice in this situation is to learn as much as you can about AUD.
AddictionResource authors add that professional medical help shouldn’t be neglected even in the early stages of alcoholism.
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