Alcoholism is viewed by most experts as a chronic condition, which must be addressed as such. Just as an individual with diabetes must manage their condition throughout life, so must the alcoholic.
Certain people are able to abuse alcohol for many years before slipping into the grasp of addiction. Others notice the beginning stages of alcoholism after only a few experiences. An array of factors come into consideration when determining who is at risk for alcoholism. Heredity is one.
The drinker begins using to self-medicate. The alcohol serves to reduce anxiety and release inhibition in the individual, resulting in a minor dependence. In some cases, alcoholics will only take part in events that revolve around alcohol use; withdrawing from those where it is prohibited.
The pattern of addiction is now more apparent. The alcoholic drinks more regularly and lacks the discipline to control their intake. Blackouts, hangovers and stomach issues are common occurrences by stage two, and the alcoholic is immersed in denial. Stage two is also the period where employment and relationships begin to take a back seat.
Addiction is king and holds priority over all else, including friends, family, employment and even morals. The alcoholic often finds themselves struggling with finances and health issues.