The Stages of Alcoholism & Jellinek Curve Explained

Today, most authoritative medical organizations consider addiction to alcohol and other substances a disease. The curve, tweaked over time, begins with the start of problem drinking and advances through physical problems like neglecting food and blackouts, and mental problems like guilt, resentment, and a change in moral compass that often accompany AUD. What might seem harmless at first can get worse if it’s not treated. And the worst of alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be deadly. One of the dilemmas on labeling alcoholism is that there is no medical test to determine whether a person is an alcoholic or predisposed to alcoholism.

If you have a disability that developed because of AUD, you may qualify for SSDI. However, a person with AUD must meet specific criteria before being approved for Social Security benefits. Ahead, we discuss when AUD is a disability, including when you might qualify for assistance for AUD and how to apply.

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In more severe cases, people may also have seizures or hallucinations. Alcohol use disorder (sometimes called alcoholism) is a medical condition. It involves heavy or frequent alcohol drinking even when it causes problems, emotional distress or physical harm. A combination of medications, behavioral therapy and support can help you or a loved one recover. Recognizing alcohol use disorder as a mental health condition facilitates more empathetic and effective treatment, including therapy and group support.

  • In addition, drinkers should not feel they have to leave their diagnosis to a physician.
  • Though at-risk and binge drinking can result in a range of adverse consequences, not all people who engage in these kinds of unhealthy alcohol use have alcohol use disorder.
  • Alcoholism, referred to as alcohol use disorder, occurs when someone drinks so much that their body eventually becomes dependent on or addicted to alcohol.
  • Theories suggest that for certain people drinking has a different and stronger impact that can lead to alcohol use disorder.

The proposition has also been disproved by a nation-wide survey of alcoholics conducted by the US government. It found that 17.7% of Step 1 of AA: Admitting You’re Powerless Over Alcohol alcoholics are now drinking in moderation. The debate is whether alcoholism is a disease or simply a serious behavioral problem.

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm

We may try to explain why people drink too much by saying that they are alcoholic. It’s useless as saying that a person is alcoholic because the person drinks too much. Those who attend alcohol disease or 12-step programs soon learn what they must accept belief in the disease theory. Attending AA or other disease theory programs may be worse than doing nothing. That’s  because members (or patients) are taught that they cannot succeed on their own.

In addition to getting professional treatment and support, there are things that you can do to help feel better and improve your chances of recovery. Several other drugs are also used and many are under investigation. The WHO calls alcoholism “a term of long-standing use and variable meaning”, and use of the term was disfavored by a 1979 WHO expert committee.

Cessation of alcohol intake

Alcohol use can progress to a point where the only thing that can relieve the withdrawal symptoms is more alcohol. When the drinking “song” starts playing in the mind of an alcoholic, they are powerless. The alcoholic didn’t put or want the thought there, the only way to get it to stop is to have another drink. Because denial is common, you may feel like you don’t have a problem with drinking. You might not recognize how much you drink or how many problems in your life are related to alcohol use. Listen to relatives, friends or co-workers when they ask you to examine your drinking habits or to seek help.

is alcoholism a disease