How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Alcohol?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2019 nearly 15 million people had an alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, only seven percent of these sought professional help specifically for their excessive drinking. We hope that you will allow us to help you recover and form positive habits that lead to a sober, healthy, and fulfilling life.

If you or a loved one needs a safe place to discuss and recover from alcohol addiction, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn about our residential alcohol rehab center outside Myrtle Beach, SC.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder, involves physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. A person addicted to alcohol typically drinks a lot or drinks frequently, despite the various harmful consequences. Although alcohol use disorder can vary from mild to severe, alcohol dependence can worsen and lead to more severe complications and make early treatment important.

How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Alcohol?

Alcohol use disorder affects the brain to cause dependence that develops slowly for some people but very quickly for others. Unfortunately, there are no standard guidelines regarding how much or often drinking alcohol is safe before causing an addiction.

Alcohol Addiction Risk Factors

Although some research shows that a person may inherit genes that cause alcoholism, most scientists identify several contributing factors. These risk factors include:

  • Drinking at an early age
  • Peer pressure
  • A traumatic event in the past
  • Excess stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • History of panic attacks
  • Abuse of other drugs
  • History of poverty or abuse

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol abuse can quickly cause a negative impact on your life. Recognizing the signs of alcohol addiction and seeking early help can make a significant difference in a successful recovery. These signs include:

  • Drinking to cope with stress.
  • Drinking even though it causes difficulties with family, friends, and coworkers.
  • Avoiding situations where you can’t drink.
  • Losing control of how much alcohol you drink.
  • Neglecting duties and commitments in order to drink.
  • Isolating from others in order to drink.
  • Drinking secretly.
  • Feeling irritable and demonstrating mood swings.
  • Temporarily blacking out.
  • Short-term memory loss.
  • Needing to drink more for the desired effect.
  • Staying preoccupied about alcohol.

Stages of Alcohol Addiction

As scientists studied alcohol use disorder, four main stages emerged as people developed physical and psychological dependence. These four stages are:

  1. Pre-Alcoholic Stage. It is difficult to spot this stage because no drinking problem appears. This stage begins with only social drinking but progresses to more frequent alcohol consumption.
  2. Early Alcoholic. More frequent alcohol use includes binge drinking and temporary blackouts. Friends and family begin seeing a drinking problem during this stage.
  3. Middle Alcoholic. Alcohol addiction symptoms are now apparent to others. This stage is marked by drinking at inappropriate times, increased irritability, and physical changes such as facial redness.
  4. Late Alcoholic. Long-term effects such as serious health issues appear during this final stage. Drinking consumes thoughts and all daily activities. 

The Harmful Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol abuse has immediate and long-term health consequences, such as:

  • Increased risk of injury from accidents such as automobile crashes, drowning, and falls.
  • Being involved in a violent incident.
  • Alcohol poisoning.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Stroke.
  • Liver disease.
  • Mental health problems.

Overcoming Alcohol Addiction

No matter how long it took or what stage of alcohol addiction you or a loved one are in, it is not too late to get help. However, attempting to overcome alcohol addiction alone can be dangerous, frustrating, and much less likely to be successful. 

Consider Myrtle Beach Recovery

Myrtle Beach Recovery can help with several recovery options that can help you live a happy and sober life free of alcohol. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you recover from alcohol addiction and live a fulfilling life once again.