What Are The 5 Stages of Alcoholism: The Jellinek Curve

Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. These were known as the crucial and chronic stages, names that are still seen in the Jellinek Curve used today. The stages were not charted out in the same fashion as they are today, but Jellinek’s theory itself had greatly evolved since 1946. Still pursuing the belief of addiction as a trajectory, Jellinek wrote an article called “Phases of Alcohol Addiction” in 1952.

jellinek curve

And this is integral, as it is this understanding which will allow us to make full use of the Jellinek Curve in our recovery. As we learn to care for our hygiene and cast off our previous rationalizations for our old way of life, we will start to find contentment in sobriety. We may continue group therapy, or may simply developa strong and sober support networkto benefit from the mutual help of those we care about. On the flipside, we will also feel greater remorse for our actions. We may try to control our substance abuse, but we will often fail. We will make promises to others and to ourselves, and we may even trya geographical cure, but these efforts will be futile.

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The model, simple definitions, and behavioral examples on color categorized cards are central to each activity. The crucial phase is when a person begins to lose control over their drinking.4At this point, a person’s drinking problem is more noticeable, both to themselves and others. The person may experience negative consequences as a result of their drinking in the crucial phase, such as money or work troubles. Looking at the Jellinek curve, this could be considered middle alcohol addiction. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Peace Valley Recovery seeks to heal individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction through building a bridge to a peaceful and purposeful life. There is no such thing as not being “alcoholic enough.” There is no reason to wait until you feel like your drinking is bad enough to warrant treatment. You can ask for help at any point, whenever you realize your drinking has gone too far.

What is the Jellinek Curve?

The chart also shows how alcohol addiction becomes a vicious cycle that continually repeats unless the person attempts to break the cycle by seeking help. If you find yourself or a loved one past the first stage of the Jellinek Curve, it’s never too early to seek help. The Recovery Village at Baptist Health offers personalized addiction treatment options so people at every stage can journey towards recovery.

Seeking treatment during the pre-alcoholic stage is possible but is highly unlikely. People in the pre-alcoholic stage may enjoy drinking more frequently than those around them but it isn’t overtly noticeable in most people. These physical symptoms are a result of him poisoning himself with alcohol and drugs. The addict feels that he has done all he can possibly can to fix his problems but people are still upset at him. He now starts to resent those around him and blame them for his drinking and drugging. They can become co-dependant and will protect and enable the addict to continue their lifestyle.

  • The real power of the chart, however, is that it shows what is possible with the right recovery support.
  • Learn more about your options.Addiction Resources If you have more questions about addiction, we’ve gathered resources to help you and your loved ones.
  • Nonetheless, he was quite interested in the science behind alcoholism and addiction.
  • His vision is to lead with courage, grit, truth, justice, humility, and integrity while emphasizing relational influence rather than focusing on the sheens of titles, positions, or things.

This is often the point many people consider to be rock bottom. If drinking or drug use continues in this way, a person’s health and life could be in real jeopardy. Fortunately, if a person’s sense of hopelessness pushes them to seek help, opportunities for recovery arise. While it has been very important in helping health care professionals, addicts and the friends and family of those struggling better understand the phases of alcohol addiction, it’s not a perfect model. Once a person’s drinking accelerates from what Jellinek termed “occasional relief drinking,” their alcohol use will likely begin to cause physical, psychological, and social problems. As drinking or drug use becomes more frequent, a person may become dependent.

As they continue drinking, though, they move from a point where their reasons for drinking are no longer social but psychological. Whether they realize it or not, they’re beginning to lose control of their drinking. If they do not stop drinking, they continue progressing to the point of alcohol dependence and then finally to the point of chronic alcohol use.

What Is Alcoholism?

With that being said, the Jellinek Curve, despite its age, offers wonderful insights into the progression of alcohol use. Recovery starts with an honest desire for help and rehabilitation. Since the path out of rock bottom is steep, people may backslide towards stage four before fully moving to recovery.

This always resonates with me and many members of our group who had reached the more dangerous phases of this disease. Jellinek might be unfamiliar, the changes he brought to the field of addiction studies are. From the 1930s until his death in 1963, Dr. Jellinek worked laboriously to learn more about alcoholism, addiction and mental health. Although the progression of drinking alcohol to full alcohol addiction and dependence is a highly individualized experience, aspects and stages of the journey are common and predictable. Jellinek, a founder of modern addiction science in the early and mid-1900s, worked to formalize stages of addiction that could apply to large groups of people. Based on collected data, he introduced the Jellinek Curve, which is a graphic representation of a person’s journey through addiction.

If the Jellinek Curve represents a valley, stages one, two and three are downhill, and stage four is the deepest rock bottom. At this point, the person begins an endless cycle of drinking, resentment, anger, sadness and anxiety unless they find a way to eject from the cycle. For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the Addiction Group helpline is a private and convenient solution. Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers .

However, the information provided by Addiction Group is not a substitute for professional treatment advice. The Jellinek Curve is a U-shaped chart that describes a person’s addiction progression. Eventually, their desire to escape through drugs and alcohol will diminish and they’ll findcontentment in sobriety. The Jellinek Curve as we know it today is largely based on the work and findings ofElvin Morton Jellinek, a Yale University physiologist and one of the founders of the field of addiction science. His body cannot process the alcohol as well as it could before.

jellinek curve

A consumer that does not have a family member available to attend would still benefit from the educational information provided. Client awareness of the Curve is just as important as the health care provider’s awareness. J-Curve provides a big picture, personal visualization of their addiction. In his 1960 book, The Disease Concept of Alcoholism, Hillhouse, , he identified five different types of alcoholism, and defined them in terms of their abnormal physiological processes.

Chronic (Late Alcoholism)

At this point, Jellinek’s experience as an alcohol researcher still left much to be desired. Nonetheless, he was quite interested in the science behind alcoholism and addiction. To make matters worse, our tolerance will begin to decrease and we will become more intoxicated for greater periods of time. This is when, according to the eco sober house boston, we will start moving toward the Chronic Phase.

  • These drinkers have a drink in their hand at most or all social gatherings.
  • And in doing so, we will strengthen our belief in the value of our sobriety so that our spiritual journey may continue unimpeded.
  • Everyone has their own answers, but the Jellinek Curve may be the closest thing we have to a singular representation for the arc of addiction in a person’s life.

Our liver filters out harmful substances, cleans our blood, stores energy and aids in digestion. Too much alcohol can be toxic to liver cells, causing dehydration and permanent scarring—which ultimately affects the blood flow. With excessive alcohol consumption, this important organ can’t metabolize Vitamin D, which could develop into a deficiency. Some common signs and symptoms of cirrhosis include fatigue, itchy skin, weight loss, nausea, yellow eyes and skin, abdominal pain and swelling or bruising. Jellinek was a very important person helping change the way we understand addiction and recovery, and his research eventually led him to his creation. Jellinek’s original model only covered the slope down from “normal” life to addiction, and it was Dr. Max M. Glatt who added the slope up through recovery and rehabilitation later on.

Jellinek and The Jellinek Curve might be unfamiliar but the changes he brought to the field of addiction studies are well-known. One of the best ways to learn about addiction is to listen with awareness to recovering people’s stories. Suboxone is a pharmaceutical drug used in medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders , especially for opioids like heroin and painkillers. It may be a bit more spatially compatible with one’s wallet size, and it will still serve the purpose of acting as a reminder that drinking again will put you through the ringer. We will learn to face life with newfound courage and emotional control, applying real values to our actions. We will also gain the confidence of employers and begin taking steps toward economic stability.

There is no obligation to enter treatment and you can opt out at any time. For those who need help right away, WebMD Connect to Care specialists are standing by to get you started on the road to recovery today. The DSM is the latest attempt by doctors to understand and diagnose this disorder. Close to 88,000 people in the U.S. die from alcohol-related causes every year. Only smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity kill more. About 31% of all driving-related deaths are linked to alcohol.

This behavior may be a sign of experimentation with alcohol gone too far, especially in the case of adolescents or young adults. If their drinking continues, though, and they keep drinking past a certain point, they’re showing signs of early-stage alcoholism. Additionally, no two individuals have identical reasons that lead them to develop alcohol use disorder.

Attempts to stop drinking can result in tremors or hallucinations, but therapy, detox, and rehabcan help you get your life back. At this point, it’s obvious to those close to you that you’re struggling. You might miss work, forget to pick up the kids, become irritable, and notice physical signs of alcohol abuse . Support groups can be a highly effective form of help at this stage. RecoveryGo virtual outpatient addiction and mental health treatment directly to you. No matter where you think you may fall on the curve, there is help available.

Find Out If Your Insurance Plan Covers Alcohol Addiction Rehab

While the occasional drink usually isn’t a cause for concern, many people lose control of their drinking over time and become addicted to or dependent on alcohol. When an individual reaches this stage of the cycle, alcohol becomes their sole focus. Everything in their life revolves around drinking at the expense of their health, relationships, and jobs.

Visit to learn moreabout R1, the Discovery Cards, and how we’re creating engaging learning experiences through self-discovery. We encourage you to take a moment and see what you’ve learned so far. Write down your answers to the questions below and share them with another person. Compulsion — an overwhelming, irresistible urge to use or continue using a substance. Your information is kept 100% confidential, and there is no obligation to enter treatment.

  • Morton Jellinek in the 1950s, the Jellinek Curve describes and details these, illustrating how alcoholism progresses for most of those with the disease.
  • It’s important to understand that the Jellinek Curve shouldn’t be used to diagnose addiction.
  • Beginning with an honest desire for help, the path begins to curve upward at a steady incline.
  • Each stage has notable symptoms, which are described in the following sections.

The left half curves downward and represents a person’s decline from substance use to addiction. The right half curves upward and stands for a person’s rise from addiction to sobriety. It’s important to understand that the Jellinek Curve shouldn’t be used to diagnose addiction. Instead, as an educational tool that can be used to motivate people towards positive and lasting changes.

These people will not judge him or get upset at him when he is drunk. He no longer feels comfortable around non-or social drinkers. Here an addict will blame his drinking problem on something he is not doing right. For example, he may feel that if he only sticks to beer or wine he will not have a problem. The addict gets angry, even violent, whenever his choice of lifestyle is questioned.

Moderate drinking means two drinks or fewer in a day for men or one drink or fewer in a day for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The person https://sober-home.org/ may also face divorce, homelessness, legal issues and financial ruin due to their drinking. Unfortunately, some people never progress past the bottom of stage four.

NickWhat Are The 5 Stages of Alcoholism: The Jellinek Curve