Types Of Alcoholics


This subtype of alcoholics is typically middle-aged, well-educated, and may seem to have it all “together” on the outside. They are likely have a steady job, a seemingly stable family life, and do not often fit into the traditional stereotype of an alcoholic. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol use disorder , it’s important that you seek addiction treatment. They have the highest attendance in self-help groups, specialty treatment programs, detox programs, and inpatient programs. Most had their first drink at 16, though didn’t become dependent until around 29.

chronic severe alcoholics

  • Researchers found that 21.1 percent of alcoholics fall into this category.
  • This subtype of alcoholics is the most likely to seek treatment and the most heavily represented type of alcoholic in a treatment program.
  • For instance, when co-occurring mental health issues are also present, an integrated treatment plan is ideal.
  • Shockingly, at least 50% of the drinkers in this group suffer from severe clinical depression, and bipolar disorder is an issue with another 20%.
  • Substances may include cigarettes, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and opioids.

However, this group is the most severe, with heavy drinking occurring almost daily. While most high-functioning alcoholics begin drinking at about 18, they don’t develop an addiction to alcohol until their late 30s. Approximately one-third have a family history of alcoholism, and about one-quarter have been diagnosed with major depression. This subtype is marked by a moderate probability of alcohol use disorders in family members (around 22%) and an especially low risk of comorbid psychiatric disorders.

Individuals who fall into the chronic severe alcoholic subtype are generally middle-aged men who started drinking young. This subtype has many problems with alcohol beginning at a young age, and criminal behavior is common. More than half of young antisocial alcoholics have a family history of alcoholism, and around half also struggle with antisocial personality disorder.

Walden prepares you to become a multifaceted professional who can make a difference in many settings throughout your career. While earning an online master’s in health education and promotion, you’ll learn about historic milestones and study future trends. You’ll analyze the factors that impact both individual and population health. And you’ll learn how to develop culturally tailored health education programs and measure their efficacy. And when a person fully understands that their drinking problem is an illness – and not a moral weakness – classification shows them that their disease did not come out of nowhere. Genetics, environment, personal habits, and mental health history all contributed to their choice the fact that they have continued to drink despite negative consequences.

Most smoke, and many also abuse marijuana, cocaine, and opioids such as heroin or prescription painkillers. However, certain food groups also have benefits when it comes to helping with the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and detoxification. Buydens-Branchey L, Branchey MH, Noumair D. Age of alcoholism onset. It is interesting to note that the subtypes summarized in table 2 have been identified through armchair intuition as well as by comparative research and empirical clustering techniques. To the extent that different methods have identified subtypes with similar features, this provides strong evidence for the cumulative wisdom of the past as well as the progress made in recent years. Negative-affect alcoholism, which is considered to occur primarily in women, is characterized by the use of alcohol for mood regulation and to enhance social relationships.

And while not everyone loses their lives to alcoholism, many suffer impacts of their drinking that threaten their wellbeing both short and long-term. The young adult subtype is not entirely made up of college students, as there are also many young adults who struggle with alcoholism who are already in the workforce and/or unemployed. Studies do show that those young adult subtype alcoholics who are not enrolled in college are more likely to have part-time jobs. One of the most concerning aspects about alcoholism in this age group is the damage alcohol can do to the brain, as the brain is still developing in important areas, such as in the prefrontal cortex. Chronic severe alcoholics have the highest rate of family members who also experience alcohol dependence at77%.

Understanding the Five Types of Alcoholics

While cirrhosis scars from excessive sober living houses for addiction recovery are irreversible, quitting alcohol and leading a healthier lifestyle can help your liver heal from alcohol-related liver disease. That is why alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal treatment is administered by medical professionals. Von Knorring L, Palm V, Anderson H. Relationship between treatment outcome and subtype of alcoholism in men. Habitual inebriety begins as a “voluntary indulgence” that eventually crosses the line between the physiological and the pathological, resulting in a deterioration of physical and mental abilities. Both habitual and periodic inebriety may manifest themselves in different ways, leading to a further classification of inebriates as social and unsocial. Social inebriates drink openly with other drinkers, whereas unsocial, or solitary, inebriates shun the company of others and tend to drink secretly, often because of “neurasthenia” (i.e., exhaustion of the nervous system).

functional alcoholic

The young adult alcoholic may not seek help for their problematic drinking, as drinking to excess at this age is often considered “normal” and part of a phase of life. Family members and adults may assume that the young adult will then “grow out of it” and do not see the drinking as a potential ongoing or long-lasting issue. Theresa Parisi is a Certified Addiction Professional , Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager , and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor with over 12 years of experience in the addiction treatment field. All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice. Contact a health professional or a local treatment center to review your rehabilitation options.

Thorough assessments can help treatment providers to determine what the right type and level of care might be for a person battling alcohol addiction. For instance, when co-occurring mental health issues are also present, an integrated treatment plan is ideal. Close to 80 percent of chronic severe alcoholics have a genetic and familial link to alcoholism, meaning that a close family member also suffered, or suffers, from alcoholism. Chronic severe alcoholics abuse other drugs at higher rates than the other subtypes of alcoholics as well. One such issue is that of a perceived need for professional help and recognition that a problem with alcohol exists.

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Alcoholism Treatment Options

Nowadays, however, the word “alcoholic” is increasingly seen as a negative label and people can make a lot of assumptions about the bearer of such a label. This is why healthcare and mental health organizations do not use the term anymore and instead refer to someone with drinking problems as an individual with an alcohol use disorder. Lastly, chronic severe type is the rarest type and includes people who had their first drink at around age 16 but do not become dependent on alcohol until around age 29. This group has the highest divorce and separation rates, and typically includes those who use illicit drugs. Among all alcoholic subtypes, the Chronic Severe alcoholic is the most likely to seek treatment – two-thirds will go to alcohol rehab. The young adult subtype is the most prevalent subtype, making up31.5% of people who are alcohol dependent.

If they do choose to seek help,they tend to prefer 12-step programsover specialty treatment clinics or private professional practices. Developmentally limited alcoholism is characterized by frequent heavy drinking in late adolescence that tends to remit to social drinking after the individual successfully assumes adult responsibilities, such as a career and a family. It would seem logical to begin a discussion of the history of typology with E.M.

Chronic Severe Subtype

Many also suffer from other mental illnesses, including major depression, bipolar disorder, social phobias and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. These types of drinkers often have much higher rates of family alcohol abuse than other alcoholics their age. According to study data, about 47% of them will have both a first and second-degree family member with an alcohol use disorder. The only category higher than that is the Young Antisocial Alcoholic by about 5%.

Nearly 19 percent of alcoholics in the U.S. fall into the intermediate familial category. Most are middle-aged, began drinking at about 17 and were addicted to alcohol by their early 30s. That’s exactly what happened to ABC news anchor Elizabeth Vargas, a functional alcoholic who sought treatment for an alcohol addiction in 2014 after years of trying to hide her drinking. Some of the most common signs of alcoholism include anti-social behavior, relationship issues, and even health issues.

tend to drink

TheDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) defines substance abuse disorders such as alcohol use disorder as mild, moderate, or severe based on the number of diagnostic criteria met by an individual. Without contest, Young Adult Alcoholics are undeniably the most common type of alcoholics out of any other subtype. After all, many of these drinkers aren’t having a hard time holding down a job, aren’t drinking their life away all hours of the day, and aren’t even older than 30 in most cases. Alcoholism is a serious substance abuse issue facing more than 15 million Americans, and treating all alcoholics the same has provided unsatisfactory results. Healthcare specialists know that alcoholism can affect people differently for a range of reasons.

Compared to the previous three types of drinkers, those who drink to cope are more likely to consume more alcohol and consequently suffer from more problems caused by alcohol. If you don’t usually drink but have a beer or a glass of wine in front of others because you want to fit in, you’re drinking to conform. These drinkers typically drink less than those who drink for other reasons.

EMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Northpoint Seattle’s outpatient treatment program is located in beautiful Seattle, Washington, and we work to help the surrounding communities. Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They’ll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free. And maybe, just maybe, all of this has got you wondering, Am I an alcoholic? You’ve already gotten further along than many alcoholics simply by considering this possibility.

As this review has outlined, throughout the past 150 years, researchers and clinicians have developed numerous typological classifications of alcoholism. These classifications have distinguished alcoholism subtypes based on a multitude of defining characteristics, including drinking patterns, consequences of drinking, personality characteristics, and coexisting psychiatric disorders. As shown in table 2, similar alcoholic subtypes can be categorized within two broad groups, called the Apollonian and Dionysian types, based on recurrent characteristics of the drinkers. Despite these shortcomings, the early attempts to differentiate and classify alcoholics had a positive influence on the development of alcohol studies.

When you know what type of alcoholic you are, you can also identify what treatment programs could be best. Then, someone who is a chronic severe alcoholic might start an inpatient program. Someone with a family history of alcoholism may have an intermediate family subtype. Understanding the types of alcoholics first relies on having an understanding of alcohol use disorder . While research has depicted seven types of alcoholics, we will discuss five types of alcoholics based on what we know about addiction at this time.

Yet, members of this group—35%—are more likely to seek help, and from multiple sources, including private healthcare providers, self-help groups, specialty treatment programs, and detox programs. While this article isn’t a diagnosis, if you or your loved one fits the criteria of one of the models above, they may need help. FHE Health offers addiction treatment programs for any type of alcoholic and is ready to stand by you every step of your recovery. This subtype has high rates of divorce, acute alcohol withdrawal (over 80%) and emergency room visits caused by drinking. They drink more frequently than any other group, have the lowest employment rate and are most likely to seek help for their alcoholism (67%). Their preferred treatments include self-help, rehab and detox programs.

Help in everyday life

Intermediate familial alcoholics had their first drink at 17 and developed dependence at the age of 32. People in this subtype begin drinking at roughly 15 years of age, developing a dependency at about 29. Seventy-seven percent have close family members with alcoholism, the highest percentage of any subtype. Nearly 50% experience antisocial personality disorder, the second-highest rate of any subtype. People in the chronic severe subtype are the most likely of any group to experience major depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and panic disorder. They also may have addictions to cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, and opioids.

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