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What is Alcoholism?

On any given day, either in the newspaper or on the evening news, something is usually said about alcoholism or the effects of this disease.

Consequently, it seems relevant to ask the following question: “what is alcoholism”?

Also known as alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence, alcoholism is a progressive degenerative disease that includes the following four components: tolerance, physical dependence, craving, and the loss of control.

Stages of Alcoholism

First Stage

first-stage-alcoholismIncreasing tolerance | Lack of recognition by the person that he or she is in the early stages of a progressive illness | Gross Drinking Behavior – more frequent drinking of greater amounts | A conscious effort to seek out more drinking opportunities | An ability to drink great amounts of alcohol without any apparent impairment | Drinking is not social but a psychological escape from stress and problems | Boasting and a “big shot” complex

Second Stage

second-stage-alcoholismIncreasing physical problems | More frequent blackouts | Denial | Increasing tolerance | Drinking because of dependence rather than for stress relief | Sporadic loss of control | Blaming problems on others and on things external to themselves | Sneaking extra drinks before social events | Unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking | Feelings of guilt and shame | Chronic hangovers

Third Stage

third-stage-alcoholismAvoidance of family and friends | A decrease in alcohol tolerance | Serious financial, relationship, and work-related problems | Neglect of necessities such as food | The development of an alibi system – an elaborate system of excuses for their drinking | Aggressive and grandiose behavior | Eye-openers | Increasing tremors | Loss of interests | The start of physical deterioration | Loss of control has become a pattern | Half-hearted attempts at seeking medical aid | Frequent violent or destructive behavior | A decrease in alcohol tolerance | An increase in failed promises and resolutions to one’s self and to others | Unreasonable resentments | Problems with the law (e.g, DUIs) | The development of an alibi system – an elaborate system of excuses for their drinking | Loss of willpower

Fourth Stage

fourth-stage-alcoholismVague spiritual desires | Benders, or lengthy intoxications | Persistent remorse | Moral deterioration | The realization of being out of control | Indefinable fears | The possibility of alcoholic psychosis | Impaired thinking | The “DTs” | Devaluation of personal relationships | Loss of tolerance for alcohol | Unreasonable resentments and hostility toward others | “The shakes” | An obsession with drinking | Nameless fears and anxieties such as feelings of impending doom or destruction | The collapse of the alibi system | Continual loss of control | Auditory and visual hallucinations

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An addiction to alcohol or any drugs will set you apart from your quality of life. When problems arise, you try to escape and find something like alcohol that you think can help you ‘get out’. Alcoholism is bigger than any of this. It needs adequate attention right away.