Alcoholism Stages


By Jennifer Bailey

An individual passes through several phases prior to the last stage of addiction or dependence. The four stages of alcoholism are pre-alcoholic, prodromal, crucial and chronic.

The first or the pre-alcoholic stage is the use of alcohol without any negative consequences. There is no preoccupation with drinking and the drinker has control over the amount of alcohol consumed and rarely drinks to the point of intoxication.

The second stage of alcoholism also known as the early stage or prodomal stage is associated with the misuse of alcohol. The drinker identifies alcohol as a coping device to relieve tensions and problems.

Friends and family around the person may not recognize that they are in the early stages of alcoholism but may express concern about the increased consumption of alcohol by the person.

With time, the tolerance levels increase, this means that the drinker requires an increased quantity of alcohol every time in order to get the desired effect or feeling.

In this stage, the body adapts to the increased level of alcohol and a person performs better with the drinking as the blood alcohol level rises.

With the increase in the consumption of alcohol to the point that an individual becomes unmanageable and has no control over the intake of alcohol, the person is said to have entered the middle stage of alcoholism also known as the crucial stage. In this stage, a person drinks in order to erase the feeling of anger and social discomfort.


Drinking in the morning, loss of appetite, avoidance of any social circle, tremors and loss of willpower are all the symptoms that suggest that an individual is in the middle stage of alcoholism.

The last or chronic stage is when medical complications start along with the complete loss of control over one's life. Liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure, inflammation of the pancreas, depression, insomnia, nerve dysfunction and hypertension can occur during this stage. These are serious withdrawal symptoms.

If unattended or unchecked it can sometimes lead to insanity or even death. Hence, the earlier the problem of alcoholism is identified; more are the chances of a patient's recovery.

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