Alcoholism can be defined as progressive degenerative disease that develops as a consequence of habitual intoxication and prolonged and excessive intake of alcoholic drinks. This intoxication eventually results in a breakdown in health and one develops physical and mental addiction to alcohol.
Deprivation of alcohol in people who are addicted leads to loss of control, craving for alcohol and physical signs of addiction. The addiction progresses gradually and has four stages.
Stage One of Alcoholism
There is a very thin line between the first stage of alcoholism and regular intake of alcohol. The onset of alcoholism may be connected with drinking in one purpose- getting rid of bad mood. So the first stage is actually connected to alcohol mood altering properties. This stage may be in a form of social drinking and solo drinking and a person drinks in order to avoid depression, stress and tension. The problem with this stage is gradual increase in alcohol tolerance so the person eventually needs to increase the amount of taken alcohol in order to achieve desirable effects. The person in first stage of alcoholism relies on alcohol as a psychological escape form stress, denies dependence on alcohol and starts to drink frequently.
Stage Two of Alcoholism
The craving for alcohol drastically increases in stage two of alcoholism. The dependence on drinking becomes more severe and clear. Since the body is used to intake of alcohol it may crave for it. The person becomes aware of the dependence on alcohol and starts to feel ashamed or guilty about excessive drinking. During this stage the person may start drinking before social events or even early in the morning. This stage features with chronic hangovers, frequent blackouts, denial, increased alcohol dependence, and sporadic loss of control. The person hides excessive drinking habit, there are unsuccessful attempts to quit drinking and obvious shame and guilt regarding drinking.
Stage Three of Alcoholism
In stage three of alcoholism there is an evident decrease in alcohol tolerance level, the person is prone to avoid family and friends, he/ she makes many excuses to justify drinking, there is a chance for aggressive behavior, there is an evident tremor (especially in the morning prior the first drink) and one has unnecessary resentment and cherishes negative feeling. In people who are in the third stage of alcoholism drinking starts to affect important things in their lives.
Stage Four of Alcoholism
In stage four of alcoholism physical and mental dependence is so intensive that a person will do anything to have only one drink. There is a chronic loss of control and people usually lose their jobs. The person simply needs to drink in order to function normally. Tremors forming the previous stage now turn into 'shakes' in case the body is deprived from alcohol. A person deprived from alcohol develops delirium tremens. People that are in fourth stage of alcoholism show moral deterioration, may experience indefinable fears, may develop alcoholic psychosis and have hallucinations.