1. What are the stages of alcoholism?

Pre-alcoholic: the pre-alcoholic stage appears to be “normal” alcohol use. It refers to social drinking or drinking small quantities in socially acceptable situations. In this stage, drinkers develop alcohol tolerance with increasing use. Drinkers in the pre-alcoholic stage may begin using alcohol for emotional reasons, to calm nerves or feel happier.

Early alcoholic: early alcoholic stage often includes memory loss and blackouts from binge drinking, attempts to restrict drinking, increased drinking despite attempts to cut back, and concealing alcohol use from others.

Middle alcoholic: if it hasn’t happened before this stage, alcoholism becomes apparent to others. The drinker may be missing work or social appointments due to drinking or hangovers. The alcoholic will probably show physical symptoms, like changes in weight. At this stage, many seek or are encouraged by loved ones to get treatment.

Late alcoholic: this stage occurs after chronic alcohol abuse. The drinker usually suffers health problems from drinking. If it hasn’t already happened, jobs or relationships fail at this stage. Rehabilitation is still recommended at this point.

2. What are the symptoms of alcoholism?

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol abuse is defined as having more than 4 drinks in one day, or more than 14 drinks per week for men. In women, it is more than 3 drinks in one day or more than 7 drinks per week.

Other symptoms of alcoholism include futile attempts to refrain from alcohol use, blackouts, making poor decisions while under the influence, work or relationship problems, cravings, and high alcohol tolerance.

3. What are alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms occur when an alcohol abuser does not have alcohol and can include: anxiety, headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, irritability, digestive problems, shaking, and sweating.

4. Is alcoholism fatal?

Because alcohol is a depressant, it slows the central nervous system functions, including breathing. When breathing slows down enough, it means the brain does not receive enough oxygen to function and can be fatal. Chronic alcohol abusers are not the only ones at risk of dying from alcoholism; binge drinking even one time can result in death. Alcohol weakens the body and increases the risk of cancer and other serious illnesses. Approximately 88,000 people die annually from alcoholism, which makes alcohol abuse the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. In 2012 alone, 3.3 million deaths in the world (about 6% of all deaths) were alcohol-related.