A Closer Look at Alcohol Abuse and When to Reach Out for Help
When it comes to alcohol abuse, it can be a slippery slope that develops over time. Alcohol use disorder does not come on all at once. Instead, it follows a typical framework that impacts your physical and mental health. When your drinking habits start to align with the 3 stages of alcoholism, you need to seek treatment.
But don’t let this prospect scare you from further exploration, as Catalina is here to help every step of the way.
Catalina Behavioral Health is here to help you quit drinking alcohol and embrace a sober lifestyle. We can guide you through the worst of your alcohol withdrawal symptoms and make you more comfortable during the detox process.
If you find that your drinking habits are bordering on dependence, keep reading to learn more, and please reach out and contact us today to get help and proven support for sobriety!
3 Stages of Alcoholism: Be Aware When You Drink Alcohol
Everyone who consumes an alcoholic beverage should be aware of the possibility of a slide into alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction. It can be quite insidious and may not be totally clear to you from the outset. It may be a good idea to get the opinions of those closest to you to determine if you have a drinking problem.
For right now, take an honest inventory of your drinking and see if you fall into one of these three stages of alcoholism. Even if you are in an earlier stage of alcoholism, it is a good idea to seek treatment before alcohol use worsens.
Stage One: Dependence on Drinking Alcohol
The first sign of alcohol addiction beginning is often innocuous. Many people never fully realize the first of the stages of alcoholism because it can be quite subtle. Take a minute to truly think about how often you drink alcohol right now.
Have you dramatically increased your drinking since you first started? For example, you might move from one drink a night to two, three, or more. This is a telltale sign that you are on the road to alcoholism.
The problem at this first stage of alcoholism is that your body is growing more and more tolerant of the alcohol you consume. It takes more alcohol than it used to for you to feel its effects. Chances are you are drinking just about every day to cope with the stressors of life. Eventually, this stage of alcoholism will lead to physical symptoms in a later stage.
When Functioning Begins to Falter
For the most part, people who fall into this category are still high-functioning drinkers. They can maintain their professional and personal responsibilities. Many times, people do not even notice that they are ramping up their drinking because they may do so in private.
At this stage, it is fairly common for people to feel like they are not actually in a stage of alcohol use disorder. Most people will move into the following stages of alcoholism without thinking about putting a stop to their drinking in these early days.
Stage Two: Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms
Eventually, you will segue into the second stage of alcoholism which is a little more physical than the first stage. You will likely find that your body actually craves alcohol consumption. This means that when you are trying to tend to personal and professional matters, your body is telling you that it needs yet another drink.
The cravings can be quite severe because the body has become fully dependent on alcohol abuse to get through the stressors of everyday life, both physically and mentally. It is no longer an optional part of your day but a mandatory one. Your alcohol consumption is severely problematic at this stage.
While managing your diet to help quit drinking (and tapering your consumption) can work for those with mild to moderate second-stage alcoholism, many people need additional support and resources beyond those found at home.
The Absence of Alcohol Begins to Cause Problems
Of course, quitting now is extremely difficult because you will incur serious withdrawal symptoms when you decide to forgo that next drink. These severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms can start a few hours after your last drink if you are used to excessive consumption of alcohol.
The most common withdrawal symptoms of alcohol use can include:
- Shaking hands or tremors
- Increased anxiety
- Disrupted sleep cycle
- Nausea and vomiting
More serious symptoms can include hallucinations and seizures, so you may want to consider a medical detox program for your alcohol use disorder in the early stages of recovery.
Stage Three: End-Stage Alcoholism
As you may have guessed, end-stage alcoholism is the most severe of the three stages of alcoholism. By the time you make it to this juncture, you will likely find that you are completely dependent upon your alcohol use for both your physical and mental health. Your drinking habits have likely ramped up.
For many people, binge drinking takes place at this third stage of alcoholism because they have built up such a tolerance to substance abuse. It will take its toll on the body eventually, especially if you are drinking like this often.
Mounting Consequences to Quality and Length of Life
Of course, the main concern during end-stage alcoholism is the physical toll that drinking has had on your body. You are likely to develop other health problems that could put your life at risk, namely liver disease and heart problems. Even if you struggle with liver disease, we can assist you in getting the treatment necessary to help you heal.
Mentally, you may not be doing so well either. If your drinking habits are not indulged, you may struggle with mounting anxiety and depression, or if self-medicating with alcohol for CPTSD or other mental health concerns, these underlying conditions may begin to worsen rather than improve when drinking.
Getting Help for an Alcohol Use Disorder
Even if you are not yet binge drinking, you might need help for an alcohol use disorder. After all, 29.5 million people over the age of twelve have an alcohol use disorder. If you find that some of the symptoms listed above apply to you, it is a good idea to check yourself into a facility that can provide comfort and medical supervision for your alcohol withdrawal.
There are several options for treatment when you have a drinking problem. Here are the best ways that Catalina Behavioral Health can help you through long-term alcohol abuse.
Medical Detox for Physical Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Whether you are in the first stage or third stage of alcoholism, you are likely to be uncomfortable in the first few days or weeks of sobriety. Medical detox is the best place for you to get excessive drinking under control while managing your mental health. Catalina Behavioral Health can help you remain as comfortable as possible.
Medical detox means that you will be under around-the-clock care from our team of medical staff. If you experience severe symptoms of withdrawal such as hallucinations or seizures, you are in good hands. We can respond quickly and efficiently to any symptoms you may experience.
Of course, we can also make you more comfortable with less severe withdrawal symptoms. Using medication-assisted treatment, we can help you to feel less nauseous, curb vomiting, and help you to get a good night’s sleep even when insomnia is raging.
Inpatient Care for Continued Treatment
Once you make it through the early days of sobriety from your alcohol dependence, it might be time for you to consider what your life will look like if you quit drinking. Chances are there are plenty of changes you need to make in your life to stay sober.
Inpatient or residential treatment is the gold standard of care once you make it out of medical detox.
During inpatient care, you will learn how to cope without excessive alcohol consumption. We will teach you new coping skills to relieve stress, how to alter the thought patterns that lead to your drinking, and still provide you with medical care for co-occurring conditions.
This takes you out of your regular environment and allows you to focus solely on your sobriety for a time. Drinking will no longer be an option while you are under the watchful eye of our staff. We can help you with both emotional and physical deterioration so that you can get the help you need.
Outpatient Care to Transition Back to Responsibilities
At a certain point, you will have to leave the comfort of our inpatient facility and return to your daily life without turning to alcohol abuse to cope. Outpatient treatment is a great way to transition through this stage because it allows you a small amount of freedom to practice your sobriety.
Outpatient care allows you to come to our facility during the day and attend the same individual and group therapy sessions you would have attended during inpatient. Between sessions, you are free to come and go from the facility, allowing you to keep up with professional and personal obligations.
This gives you a structured transition back to regular life while allowing you the comforts of home. While you will receive excellent care during the day, you can sleep in your own bed each night. No matter what stage of alcoholism you are in, there is treatment available for you at Catalina.
What Stage of Alcoholism Are You In? Get Help at Catalina
Take a minute to honestly assess what stage of alcoholism you might fall into right now. Alcohol abuse is, unfortunately, fairly common and may require professional intervention to get you sober. Catalina Behavioral Health in Tucson offers every level of care you might need to conquer alcohol and achieve lasting sobriety.
From medical detox to outpatient care, we can walk with you during these early days of sobriety.
If you think that alcohol treatment might be in the cards for you, we encourage you to reach out to our warm and welcoming admissions team to learn more about our services. We can even quickly and confidentially verify your health insurance so that you know what to expect financially.
Reach out to us and get effective support for a sober life today!