Ama definition of alcoholism as a disease Who defined alcoholism as a disease Definition of alcoholism as a disease Definition of alcoholic liver disease Defining alcoholism as a disease is associated with. Alcoholic Recovery Stages: The Stages of Alcoholism Recovery

Alcoholic Stages

Early into the study of alcohol abuse, a theory was proposed that described the decline into full-blown alcoholism. This theory divides the progression of alcohol addiction into 4 stages. The theory is widely recognized in the treatment of alcohol abuse. Definition of alcoholism as a disease.

Learn more about the stages of alcoholism and recovery, including:

Stages of Alcoholism

Elvin Morton Jellinek, or E. M. Jellinek, was a biostatistician and alcohol abuse researcher who gained widespread attention with his revolutionary way of looking at alcohol addiction.

In 1960, he published The Disease Concept of Alcoholism, which proposed the now widely accepted disease model of alcohol addiction.

He viewed alcoholism as a chronic, relapsing condition that required professional health treatment.

Jellinek developed a theory on the progression of alcoholism through various stages, largely defined by the damage observed in the body.

Not every person struggling with alcohol abuse will go through the phases or display all of the symptoms. But the stages can help some people assess their alcohol consumption and prevent future problems.

The disease theory of alcohol addiction has been a source of great controversy. Many have refuted the concept in favor of one that encompasses the wide range of individuals, motivations, and abuse patterns.

Pre-Alcoholic (Symptomatic) Stage

The "symptomatic drinking" stage describes a point during which a person uses drinking as a way to cope with a current problem.

The person may begin drinking socially and be trying to deal with stress, manage emotions, or simply supplement a sociable lifestyle.

As a person drinks more often, he or she starts to develop a tolerance to alcohol's effects, meaning the brain grows accustomed to the presence of alcohol and the subjective effects seem diminished.

Ama definition of alcoholism as a disease Who defined alcoholism as a disease Definition of alcoholism as a disease Definition of alcoholic liver disease Defining alcoholism as a disease is associated with

The problem is that the physical damage continues to accumulate, and these seemingly reduced psychoactive effects can lead to more frequent and higher doses of alcohol.

Early (Prodromal) Stage

Jellinek's proposed "prodromal" or transitional stage of a drinking problem refers to the development of a cyclical pattern of alcohol abuse. The user's drinking habits begin to cause additional problems, which he then faces only with additional, excessive drinking.

These problems can involve relationships, health, or school and work neglect, and the person copes with negative emotions by returning to alcohol use.

This pattern of excessive alcohol consumption is self-perpetuating and leads to more complications in the long run.

The pattern can escalate, and the user may start to experience issues with higher levels of drinking. He or she may have blackouts, where the user has consumed so much that his or her brain cannot form memories associated with the heavy drinking episode.

Middle (Crucial) Stage

The "crucial" stage of Jellinek's theory involves the escalation of symptoms from the prodromal stage.

The user's drinking becomes more frequent, and he or she may even start mornings off with a drink.

These habits often cause feelings of guilt. The drinker may change his or her pattern of consumption by abstaining for periods of time, changing the brand or type of alcohol consumed, or drinking alone to alleviate negative feelings about alcohol abuse.

This desire to begin hiding, rationalizing, or masking alcohol use can lead to further alienation from family, friends, and work. Jellinek proposes that drinking may begin to occur predominantly alone or in the presence of other alcoholics that will affirm a person's unhealthy habits. Excuses for drinking and a sense of loss of control are two major parts of the theory behind this stage.

Late (Chronic) Stage

Jellinek believes that up until this final stage, the person has had control over his or her decision whether or not to have the first drink. However, once that first drink is consumed, the person loses the ability to limit consumption.

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He theorizes that this final stage of alcoholism involves complete loss of control: the user must drink.

This final, "chronic" stage of alcoholism is characterized by the progression of disease and psychological decline associated with drinking.

Prolonged periods of intoxication can lead to ethical deterioration, severe memory problems, bodily damage, and irrational fears and resentments.

Some users may experience a potentially deadly withdrawal condition known as delirium tremens, in which seizures and hallucinations are common.

Jellinek theorizes that in this stage, people will prioritize maintaining a constant supply of alcohol and sacrifice social, occupational, and cognitive functioning. If the user does not seek help by this stage, they run a very high risk of drinking themselves to death.

Stages of Alcohol Recovery

Following Jellinek's theory on the stages of alcoholism, a man named Max Glatt developed a theory about recovery from alcohol abuse.

This theory built upon Jellinek's work, but it lacked any real supporting data.

Since its publication in 1958, some supporting evidence has come to light.

Glatt's model is generally used to describe the spiritual growth aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Recovery is rarely linear or sequential, so Glatt's recovery theory is often presented as a curve, with the downward slope representing the deterioration into alcoholism and the upward slope signifying progressive recovery. Many people will struggle with relapse and loop back through earlier stages.

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The recovery curve follows a transformational progression after the user's decline into chronic alcoholism:

Treatment Programs for Alcoholism

Those with alcohol abuse problems can seek help through a number of programs. Treatment facilities offer the most structured start to sobriety, with options for both live-in or live-at-home treatment.

Find a Recovery Center

Professional treatment can make a world of difference for a person struggling with alcohol abuse. If you suspect that you or a loved one has a drinking problem, call 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? to speak with a recovery program placement specialist about starting your upward path to recovery today.

Sources

[3]. Fingarette, H. (1988). Heavy drinking: The myth of alcoholism as a disease. London, England: University of California Press.

[10]. McCrady, B. and Epstein, E (eds.). (1999). Addictions: A Comprehensive Guidebook.

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