Alcoholism: Symptoms and Treatment. Stages of Alcoholism

male alcoholism

Alcoholism can rightly be considered a human problem. However, not everyone can tell exactly when and how the disease manifests. At the same time, alcoholism, like any other disease, has several stages.

There are a total of 4 stages of alcoholism. Not only the duration and effectiveness of treatment, but the ultimate outcome will depend on the degree of neglect and the circumstances in the patient's environment.

After all, many people who recover even after a few years return to old habits.

This is not about treatment, but about the wrong approach to the main causes of this problem, a lack of understanding of the patient's character traits, and insufficient psycho-emotional support from relatives and friends.

Initial Stages of Alcoholism: Causes and Treatment

Read more: What is alcoholism.

The first stages of alcoholism are not always seen as the beginning of degeneration and disease progression. Treatment and its duration may depend on the following parameters:

  • the age of the patient;
  • disease stage;
  • the emotional state and atmosphere of the family;
  • Susceptibility (genetic);
  • surroundings;
  • The stability/instability of the human mind;
  • Not only the patient, but all his friends and relatives' views on the problem;
  • Patient gender (male or female).
  • man drinking with friends
  • The dose of alcohol is gradually increased;
  • Strong drinks are acceptable even for minor reasons;
  • A person loses control, and it is difficult to control actions and thoughts after drinking;
  • Aggression towards acquaintances and friends is more often manifested;
  • Unable to stop even if the alcohol buildup in the stomach is emptied (vomiting);
  • headache, severe hangover;
  • So far, his reaction to hangovers (refusal to drink) has been negative;
  • Contradictory words and deeds after drinking and sober;
  • Negative attitude towards an alcoholic, not seeing his problem as important.

Initial treatment

Early treatment of alcoholism

Also, don't miss the effects of alcohol on all human organs. Therefore, understanding the problem will help research:

  1. liver and pancreas disorders (heaviness, nausea, vomiting, pain and cramping, bloating, indigestion);
  2. Phytovascular disease (swollen veins, heavy legs, swelling and pain after a day);
  3. Hypertensive disorders (sudden jumps in pressure, decreased physical strength, severe headache, nausea);
  4. Neurological disorders (headache, convulsions, swelling, irritability, sleep disturbance, crunching hands, aggression, irritability).

How to judge the stages of alcoholism? You cannot solve this problem by yourself without the help of qualified experts. The first sign should alert you. Early diagnosis and treatment are the foundation of successful productive therapy.

Stage Two of Alcoholism: What Are the Symptoms and Treatment?

Symptoms of Alcoholism

Patients react violently to outside criticism and comments, expressing them aggressively and bluntly.

The level of alcoholism and its treatment varies from situation to situation. One needs more psychological help, the other needs difficult conditions and constraints that he will not be able to overcome. However, one thing became obvious: it can't be done without outside help. The second stage of alcohol dependence is treated through an integrated approach:

  1. Medicines cleanse the body. An important step that allows you to get rid of accumulated toxins. In this case, the degree of poisoning of the body is high, and the drug can not only deal with the side effects of heavy drinking, but also accelerate the decomposition process of ethanol in the plasma;
  2. Aversion therapy - intravenous drugs to produce alcohol rejection. Usually such drugs do not cause discomfort in non-drinkers. But simultaneous consumption of alcohol and such drugs can cause vomiting, nausea, severe headaches and subconscious rejection;
  3. Psychologist's help. After all manipulations have been done on the patient's body, and the brain is freed from the effects of ethanol, it is time to move on to the main phase of treatment - psychological assistance and adjustment to normal life.

How long this treatment can last is an individual patient characteristic. At this stage, it is important to identify the main cause of alcohol cravings.

After all, the effects of drugs do not reduce the psycho-emotional dependence on relaxation, which can be obtained through alcohol consumption.

This stage and its effects are entirely dependent on the professionalism of the doctor and the willingness to accept the results of all relatives. Only in this case is it possible to avoid the recurrence of the disease.

Stage Three of Alcoholism: Social Issues, Not Just

Stage Three Alcoholism

Alcoholism in the third stage is no longer a problem for the patient's family and loved ones. This is a problem for the whole society: a person has low self-esteem, violates all existing norms and rules of communication, does not respond to the comments and requests of loved ones, and is a "burden" factor for the family. In fact, the third stage of alcoholism often forces a person to refuse work and ignore the wishes of relatives and friends. This means that such patients cannot afford to purchase expensive alcoholic beverages. As a result, funds, expensive equipment and food were stolen from the home. In addition, the third stage of alcoholism is accompanied by the following additional characteristics:

  • Deformed appearance: thin limbs, large trunk and abdomen, burgundy or gray skin, obvious venous obstruction, swelling of limbs and under eyes in any case, tooth loss, blackening;
  • Psychological disorders: Insufficient response to simple things, reluctance to touch, unprovoked aggression, reluctance to change anything;
  • Alcohol is the foundation of the diet and replaces all healthy human nutrition. How much a person can drink depends in part on his size;
  • voice distortion;
  • Paralysis of certain parts of the body, more commonly the face, arms, and legs;
  • Health problems: hepatitis, chronic pancreatitis, cancer, food indigestion, incontinence;
  • Alcohol resistance (less doses, but more frequent).

Drinking alcohol before and during pregnancy

Treating alcoholism at this stage is a difficult task and not always effective. This is first due to a complete metamorphosis of the human psyche, a reassessment of his values and priorities in life.

Usually, such addicts do not set any goals for themselves other than to extract the next part of the alcohol.

However, the first three stages of alcoholism can only be treated if this problem is properly addressed.

Which stages are difficult to treat

Which stages of alcoholism are difficult to treat

An important sign of the third stage of alcoholism is the danger to human life: 80% of people die, even with treatment, due to years of intoxication of the body and irreversible processes of change in the internal organs. Depletion of cardiac tissue, vascular malformations, chronic diseases of the liver, kidneys, and pancreas (in women, the reproductive system) create dangerous conditions for a high-quality future life for the healer. Support of the most affected organs after treatment is the main task.

The Final Stage of Alcoholism: No Choice

The final stages of alcoholism lead to death

Alcoholism is a latent disease. She sneaks up when the whole world seems to be against you. Often the first stage of alcohol disease is skipped and not considered a real problem. Then the rate of progression and progression of complications is inevitable. The transition from Phase 1 to Phase 4 could be years away.

When the first signs go unrecognized and skipped, the complexity of treatment increases every day. Alcoholism in the fourth stage of development is a sentence. months and weeks of life.

The body is completely exhausted and the organs are unable to cope with the basic functions of metabolism. But not a word specifically for patients.

It's a diagnosis for those who can't help in time, lend a helping hand, and don't see illness as a problem.

Unfortunately, by the fourth stage, there was no way to help. Patients were not persuaded or hospitalized. Worst of all, the stage 4 people in front of you have nothing to do with people you know.

His brain was so distorted by alcohol that you couldn't recognize someone you knew. Complete regression of the subconscious, basic instincts are replaced by new ones (drinks). Even professional psychologists and hypnotists can't help get rid of the problem.

Alcoholism is a disease. It's important to remember this. Remember and know what can be done to avoid the unfortunate fate of an alcoholic who keeps all relatives and friends away from the living world in advance.


Alcoholism is a disorder that occurs with the systemic abuse of alcohol and is characterized by mental dependence, physical and neurological disorders, and degeneration of personality upon intoxication. The disorder can also develop with alcohol withdrawal.

In the Commonwealth of Independent States, 14% of adults drink heavily, and another 80% drink in moderation due to certain drinking traditions that have been established in society.

Factors such as conflict with loved ones, suboptimal living standards, and inability to realize oneself in life often lead to abuse. At a young age, alcohol was used as a way to feel inner comfort, courage, and overcome shyness. In middle age, it is used as a way to relieve fatigue, stress and social problems.

Constantly resorting to this relaxation method can lead to persistent addiction and an inability to feel inner comfort without alcoholism. Depending on the degree of dependence and symptoms, several stages of alcoholism can be distinguished.

Stages of Alcoholism

first stage of alcoholism

The first stage of the disease is characterized by increased doses and increased frequency of drinking. There is a syndrome of altered reactivity in which alcohol tolerance changes. The body's protective response to overdose disappears, especially without vomiting when drinking large doses of alcohol.

In severe poisoning, palimpsest - memory loss is observed. Psychological dependence manifests as dissatisfaction in a sober state, constant thinking about alcohol, and high mood before drinking.

The first stage lasts from 1 to 5 years, and the attraction is manageable because there is no physical dependence syndrome. A person does not degenerate nor lose the ability to work.

Complications of the first stage of alcoholism are mainly liver and alcoholic steatosis.

It is rarely manifested clinically, and in some cases there may be a feeling of bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Complications can be diagnosed by the increase and dense consistency of the liver.

On palpation, the liver borders are rounded and somewhat sensitive. With abstinence, these symptoms disappeared.

Complications of the pancreas are acute and chronic pancreatitis. Meanwhile, abdominal pain appeared on the left side and radiated to the back, and was accompanied by decreased appetite, nausea, gas, and unsteady stools.

Often, alcoholism leads to alcoholic gastritis, in which there is also no appetite and nausea, pain in the upper abdomen.

second stage

Stage II alcoholism progresses from 5 to 15 years and is characterized by an increase in the syndrome of altered responsiveness.

Tolerance to alcohol is at its greatest, and so-called pseudo-alcoholism occurs, the frequency of which is not related to the patient's attempts to break free from alcohol addiction, but to external circumstances, such as lack of money and inability to obtain alcohol.


The sedative effects of alcohol are replaced by activating effects, and memory loss at the time of heavy drinking is replaced by complete forgetfulness at the end of the intoxication. At the same time, daily alcoholism is interpreted as a mental dependence syndrome; in the sober state, the patient loses the ability to work mentally and his mental activity is disorganized. There is a physical alcohol dependence syndrome that suppresses all sensations except the craving for alcohol, which becomes uncontrollable. Patients are depressed, irritable, and unable to work. After drinking, these functions return to their original state, but they lose control over the amount of alcohol they drink, resulting in excessive poisoning.

Treatment of second-stage alcoholism should be done in a specialist hospital, an anesthesiologist or a psychiatrist.

Strong refusal to drink alcohol can lead to the somatic neurological symptoms of alcoholism, such as proptosis, mydriasis, upper body congestion, finger tremors, nausea, vomiting, intestinal indulgence, heart, liver pain, and headache.

There are mental symptoms of degeneration of personality, weakened intelligence, and delusions. Often anxiety, nocturnal anxiety, seizures, these are the harbingers of acute psychosis - delirium tremens, commonly known as delirium tremens.

Complications of secondary alcoholism from one side of the liver are represented by alcoholic hepatitis, usually in a chronic form. The disease is more common in the persistent form than in the progressive form.

Like first-degree complications, hepatitis is rarely clinically manifested. Complications can be diagnosed by gastrointestinal pathology, a feeling of heaviness in the upper stomach and abdomen, right flank rib, mild nausea, flatulence.

On palpation, the liver is compacted, enlarged, and slightly painful.

Alcoholic gastritis in the second stage of alcoholism may have symptoms masquerading as withdrawal symptoms, with the exception of repeated vomiting in the morning, often with a blood mixture. On palpation, there is pain in the upper abdomen.

Acute alcoholic myopathy develops after prolonged overeating, with muscle weakness and swelling in the buttocks and shoulders. Alcohol abuse most often causes non-ischemic heart disease.

The third phase

The third stage of alcoholism is markedly different from the first two stages, which last for 5-10 years. This is the final stage of the disease, and as practice shows, it usually ends in death. Alcohol tolerance decreases, and intoxication occurs after a small amount of alcohol. Overeating ends in physical and psychological exhaustion.

people in the third stage of alcoholism

In a state of intoxication, emotional instability manifests, which manifests symptoms of alcoholism, joy, irritability, anger, unpredictably replacing each other.

Degraded personality, reduced intelligence, inability to work, resulting in an alcoholic who has no money to buy alcohol, uses agents, sells things, and steals. Using alternatives such as denatured alcohol, cologne, polish, etc. can lead to serious complications.

The complications of stage III alcoholism are most often represented by alcoholic cirrhosis. There are two forms of alcoholic cirrhosis - compensated and decompensated.

The first form of the disease is characterized by persistent anorexia nervosa, flatulence, fatigue, and low mood. Thinning of the skin, white patches and spider veins appear.

The liver is enlarged, dense, and has sharp edges.

The patient's appearance changed greatly, with dramatic weight loss and hair loss. Decompensated cirrhosis differs in three clinical symptoms.

These include portal hypertension, which causes hemorrhoids and bleeding in the esophagus, and ascites -- a buildup of fluid in the ascites. Often jaundice, liver swelling, severe liver failure, the development of coma.

Patients have increased levels of melanin, which gives the skin a tan or earthy color.

Diagnosis of Alcoholism

A diagnosis of alcoholism can be suspected by a person's appearance and behavior. Patients looked older than their age, had facial congestion over the years, and had swollen skin that disappeared. The face acquires a special kind of strong-willed promiscuity due to the relaxation of the circular muscles of the mouth. In many cases, the clothes are not clean and careless.

In most cases, the diagnosis of alcoholism is fairly accurate, even if not by analyzing the patient himself, but by analyzing his environment. Family members of alcoholics have many psychosomatic disorders, neuroticism or psychosis in non-drinking spouses, and childhood morbidities.

The most common pathology in children of parents with systemic alcoholism is congenital cerebral insufficiency. Often these children have limited mobility, poor concentration, and a craving for disruptive and aggressive behavior.

In addition to congenital pathologies, a child's development is also affected by traumatic situations in the family. Children have vitiligo, enuresis, night terrors, and behavioral disturbances.

Children are depressed and suicidal, and they often have difficulty learning and communicating with their peers.

In many cases, pregnant women who abuse alcohol experience the birth of an alcoholic fetus. Fetal alcohol syndrome is characterized by severe morphological disturbances. In most cases, fetal pathology includes irregular head shape, body proportions, spherical, sunken eyes, hypoplastic jaw, and shortened tubular bones.

Alcoholism Treatment

We have briefly described the treatment of alcoholism according to its stages. In most cases, recurrence is possible after treatment.

This is because treatment is usually only aimed at eliminating the most severe manifestations of alcoholism. Without proper psychotherapy and support from loved ones, alcoholism can relapse.

But practice shows that psychotherapy is an important part of treatment.

Clinical Alcoholism Treatment

The first stage of alcoholism treatment is the elimination of acute and subacute conditions caused by the intoxication of the body. First, binge eating is interrupted and withdrawal barriers removed. In later stages, treatment is carried out only under the supervision of medical personnel, as the delirium syndrome that occurs when drinking is interrupted requires psychotherapy and some sedatives. Relief in acute alcoholic psychosis is to allow the patient to fall asleep quickly while dehydrating and supporting the cardiovascular system. In cases of severe alcoholism, alcoholism treatment is performed only in specialized hospitals or psychiatry. In the early stages, anti-alcohol treatment may be sufficient, but more often when alcohol is abstained, neuroendocrine regulation is insufficient, and the disease progresses and leads to complications and organ lesions.

The second phase of treatment is aimed at establishing remission. Comprehensively diagnose and treat patients with mental and physical disorders. The second phase of treatment can be very specific, with the main task of eliminating the somatic disease, which is the key to the development of a pathological craving for alcohol.

Non-standard treatments include the Rozhnov technique, which includes emotional stress therapy. Hypnotic effects and previous psychotherapeutic conversations gave a good therapeutic prognosis.

During hypnosis, patients are indoctrinated with aversion to alcohol, producing nausea and vomiting in response to the taste and smell of alcohol. Methods of verbal aversion therapy are often used.

It involves setting the mind through verbal cues, even in imagined situations, to vomit in response to drinking.

The third stage of treatment consists of prolonging the remission period and returning to a normal lifestyle. This stage can be considered the most important for successful treatment of alcoholism. After the first two stages, a person goes back to his former society, his problems, his friends, in most cases also addicted to alcohol, family conflicts.

This has a greater impact on the recurrence of the disease. Long-term psychotherapy is required in order for a person to independently eliminate the causes and external symptoms of alcoholism. Self-training has had positive effects and they are widely used in group therapy.

The training included normalization of autonomic disturbances and post-treatment relief of emotional stress.

Use behavioral therapy, known as lifestyle modification. A person learns to live in a state of sobriety, solve his problems, and acquire the skills of self-control. A very important step in returning to normal life is to achieve mutual understanding among families and an understanding of their problems.

For successful treatment, it is important to realize the desire to be free from alcohol dependence from the patient. Compulsory treatment does not produce the same results as voluntary treatment.

However, refusal of treatment still requires the local anesthesiologist to forcefully refer the patient to LTP treatment.

Treatment in the general medical network does not produce positive results because the patient is free to drink alcohol, drunk friends visit him, etc.

In cases where alcoholism begins in adulthood, a personal approach is required when choosing treatment. This is because the somatic neurological symptoms of alcoholism appear earlier than the onset of addiction and psychiatric disorders.

Mortality from alcoholism is often related to complications. Chronic alcohol consumption, withdrawal states, and concurrent diseases can lead to decompensation of vital organs.

Twenty percent of older alcoholics have epilepsy, and acute Gaye-Wernicke syndrome is less common. The onset of both diseases during poisoning can be fatal.

The presence of alcoholic cardiomyopathy significantly worsens prognosis. Continued systemic drinking can lead to death.

Fewer than 25% of patients with this complication live more than three years after diagnosis. A high percentage of deaths from alcoholism are due to suicide.

Chronic hallucinations, alcoholic delusional disorder, and the development of delusions of envy contribute to this.

The patient has no control over the delusions and engages in unusual behaviors while awake.