Understanding Alcoholism As a Progression

Alcohol addiction is a unique disease as it impacts and affects each person differently. When most people think of an alcoholic, the visual that comes to most minds is someone who has lost everything, is homeless, or cannot maintain daily life. While some individuals have hit a “rock bottom,” they did not start there. Alcohol abuse is a disease that progresses over time, and the longer it goes on, the more at-risk individuals are at experiencing negative consequences from increased drinking and alcohol consumption. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.

Risk Factors for Develop Alcoholism

Each person’s history with an alcohol use disorder begins with your own unique set of circumstances that impact various risk factors and negative consequences. Common risk factors for individuals developing an alcohol use disorder are: 

  • The age at which you first engaged in alcohol consumption. Research has shown that the younger someone is when having their first alcoholic drink creates a higher likelihood of developing alcohol addiction. 
  • Coming from a family with a history of alcohol addiction increases the chances of experiencing an alcohol use disorder. 
  • If you reside in an environment with higher levels of alcohol abuse, you will have a higher chance of developing alcohol addiction.
  • Having a history of trauma or emotional turmoil that has not been addressed and healed through trauma therapy could lead to dependence. Alcohol often feels like escaping unpleasant emotions stemming from these problematic memories and quickly develops into alcohol addiction. 

Along with alcohol, opioids also have a strong addictive quality. See which opioids are the strongest in our list below:

List of Opioids From Strongest to Weakest

The Stages of Alcoholism

Alcohol addiction is an individual disease that will progress within you for your own set of circumstances and affect your life differently. With that said, alcohol abuse can move in the following stages:


Alcohol abuse is characterized by individuals looking to cope with stressful situations, numb emotions, or relieve anxiety. These drinking behaviors can quickly escalate to further problematic drinking behaviors if effective treatment for emotional regulation and relapse prevention methods are used. 

Early alcoholic

Individuals within this stage will often show the following signs: blacking out from alcohol consumption, lying about your alcohol use to others and your loved ones, excessive or heavy drinking behaviors, and thinking becomes overtaken by the thought of drinking, planning for alcohol consumption, and coming up with ways to obtain more alcohol. 

Middle alcoholic

At this stage, it becomes more evident or apparent to those around you that your alcohol use disorder has become problematic. This is often exhibited by missing work or other commitments, forgetting responsibilities such as appointments, or picking up loved ones from school. Physical signs of alcohol abuse become evident such as redness of the face, weight changes, bloating of the stomach, or lack of energy/sluggish behavior. If you are at this stage, support groups such as alcoholics anonymous could be a good resource and support to help you identify ways to make changes for addiction recovery within your life. 

Late alcoholic

This stage is characterized by an individual’s life being taken over by alcohol abuse. Other aspects will be impacted by your alcohol abuse, including your social connection with peers, family relationships, employment status, and financial situation. Individuals who attempt to quit drinking at this end-stage alcoholic stage will often experience severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations or seizures. The support of medical detox is needed to remove the harmful chemicals of alcohol dependency safely. 

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?

An alcohol use disorder is a disease that impacts a person’s brain by affecting an individual’s motivation or desire to make healthy life decisions. This can be reflected differently within each person as alcohol addiction is a spectrum disorder meaning that while one person may experience specific challenges such as job difficulty or loss of connection with loved ones, others may be considered a high functioning alcoholic and maintain their lifestyle while still engaging in excessive alcohol use or binge drinking episodes. Regardless of your unique circumstances with alcohol, an alcohol addiction treatment program will address your specific underlying causes of addiction and give you the tools to avoid potential triggers. 

Alcohol Rehab and Detox at WhiteSands

WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab values each patient’s unique history that walks through our doors. We want to get to know you and your history with alcohol addiction to ensure you are provided with the individual care for your addiction treatment program. Our supportive team utilizes the latest in alcohol addiction treatment methods to gain perspective on what has influenced your alcohol consumption. We also address the negative consequences of your alcohol addiction to begin to shift and adjust your daily lifestyle to one of health and sobriety. Call us today to learn more about our alcohol treatment programs.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.