Alcohol Treatment Options Can Vary Depending Upon the Severity of an Individual’s Alcohol Problem

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An estimated 88,129 people died from excess use of alcohol between 2006 and 2010.

Alcohol abuse has become a prevalent issue in the United States over the years. Many times, it begins with a first drink and all too frequently ends in death.

While this is grave news, all is not lost. One can get treated for alcohol addiction and make a full recovery. These alcohol treatment options can vary depending upon the severity of an individual’s alcohol problem.

Are you worried that you or a loved one might be headed towards becoming an alcoholic? Here are several treatment options for different stages of addiction to alcohol.

1. The Pre-Alcoholic Stage

The pre-alcoholic stage is the very first outpost on the journey to alcoholism.

At this stage, there is very little evidence of a drinking problem. It all starts with social drinking.

During this stage, users do not feel a compulsion to consume alcohol. However, as this stage progresses, a user may find themselves consuming alcohol more frequently than before.

Physiologically speaking, their body starts to tolerate higher amounts of alcohol with every bottle.

Since they are taking care of their responsibilities no one thinks of raising any alarm. On the outside, users don’t look like they have a problem with alcohol. Eventually, it takes larger amounts of alcohol to get them drunk.

If you are wondering whether you are at the pre-alcoholic stage there are signs you can look out for. Do you drink to reduce your stress? Do you drink alcohol to dull any physical pain or calm feelings of anxiety?

Should you notice any of these patterns of behavior then you need to seek some help.

Talk to your doctor about any physical pain you might have. They will carry out the necessary tests and help you find out healthy ways to reduce or eliminate the pain altogether.

If you are dealing with anxiety or stress, you should talk to a counselor to help you identify what is causing it. Once you identify the trigger it will be easy for you to manage or even eliminate it.

2. Early Stage Alcoholism

The early alcoholism stage is marked by your first alcohol-induced blackout.

At this stage, you begin to become uncomfortable with your relationship to alcohol. Many abusers acknowledge that their drinking has gone ‘a little out of hand.’

Despite realizing that there might be a problem, an abuser will still be unable to resist it. Instead, they will find ways to hide their habit such as mixing alcohol with normal beverages.

Thoughts of alcohol begin to fill the abuser’s mind at this stage. Will there be alcohol wherever they are going? When can they get their next drink? And so on.

Since the abuser’s tolerance rises even further at this stage, they drink more. While they may not be experiencing riotous effects of alcohol, it does impair their motor skills and judgment.

The best intervention at this stage is group therapy and professional counseling that can be provided by drug abuse centers.

It can be facilitated through residential or out-patient services and may also combine group therapy and counseling.

Catching alcoholism early is a plus as the patient will be able to recover quicker.

3. Middle Stage Alcoholism

When an abuser gets to the middle stage of alcoholism the signs and symptoms begin to become visible to relatives, friends, and colleagues.

The abuser starts to miss school, work, or other engagements due to drinking alcohol or the resulting hangovers.

Not only do they take excessive alcohol, but they also lose sight of when not to take it. For example, the abuser will have no qualms drinking while driving or taking care of children.

The headless pursuit of the next buzz begins to cause conflict in their relationships. The abuser might also begin to notice physical body changes like weight gain, weight loss, and sluggishness.

Due to the physical toll alcoholism will have taken on their body, abusers will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. These include clammy skin, headaches, nausea and loss of appetite.

The most appropriate treatment at this point is admission into a residential drug treatment center. Here professionals will begin with detoxification to get rid of the alcohol in the body.

As the level of alcohol reduces and withdrawal symptoms set in, they will be able to help the patient manage the effects.

Group therapy and counseling will also play a critical role in treatment during this stage.

4. Late Stage Alcoholism

By this point, the long-term effects of abusing alcohol are not only clear but they also begin to cause serious health problems.

The damage to the abuser’s liver can lead to cirrhosis. Due to constant drinking, the brain cells become damaged and this might lead to dementia.

Psychologically, the abuser begins to become paranoid for reasons they can’t explain.

If they have been a functioning alcoholic they will probably lose their job at this stage. Any other responsibilities they may have will completely breakdown as they become obsessed with alcohol.

In such a case residential treatment is a must. Detoxification will be the first step to remove alcohol from their system.

The accompanying hallucinations and other withdrawal symptoms, although severe, can be managed by progressional care.

Once the abuser recovers from the withdrawal symptoms they will need extensive behavioral therapies to help them cope with triggers. These can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, and motivational interviewing.

Professional counseling will also be critical in helping them develop a different worldview and avoid triggers.

Meeting with other patients in self-help groups will also be an essential pillar in aiding the recovery from late-stage alcoholism.

Patients should also seek medical care for the health problems that result due to heavy drinking.

Alcohol Treatment Options Can Vary Depending upon the Severity of an Individual’s Alcohol Problem

There is no single way of treating an alcohol problem or an addiction. Treatment varies from counseling and outpatient treatment to more intensive options.

These alcohol treatment options can vary depending upon the severity of an individual’s alcohol problem.

Are you or your loved one looking for treatment options? DreamLife Recovery is ready to provide lasting recovery solutions suited to your personal needs.

Talk to us today to begin your journey towards sobriety, happiness, and productivity.


  1. “Alcohol Use Disorder” – Mayo Clinic