Alcoholism Typology Criteria: Five Different Types of Alcoholics

This means that seeking suitable addiction treatment as soon as possible is of maximum priority for those struggling with alcohol addiction. Individuals in this category are not fully developed, meaning that the brain can undergo significant developmental damage as a result of high alcohol consumption. This can lead to an ongoing addiction, severely impacting the individual’s quality of life as they get older and seriously impacting their physical and mental development. In England alone, it is estimated that there are around 600,000 individuals currently struggling with alcohol dependence, though only a small percentage of these individuals are seeking help for their condition (1). An alcohol use disorder (AUD) is characterized by the chronic, compulsive use of alcohol despite the negative consequences on a person’s life.

Most are smokers, and 20 to 25 percent have also used cocaine and marijuana. But they started drinking much earlier than young adult alcoholics — usually by the age of 15 or 16. Their alcoholism usually manifests by the time they are 18 or 19, and more than half come five types of alcoholics from families with alcoholism. On average, they drink about 143 days each year, and they typically consume five or more drinks at a time. Few seek help for their drinking, but when they do, they gravitate toward 12-step groups as opposed to private treatment.

Who Qualifies for Free Rehab Centers?

They tend to be middle-aged, and about half have a family history of alcoholism in multiple generations. You have probably heard someone at some point referred to as a “functional alcoholic.” This means they have a problem with alcohol abuse but can still function at work and participate in family life. This is a third category identified by the NIAAA study, and 19.5%3 of those with alcoholism fall into this category.

Although they have low rates of anxiety disorders, they have about a 24 percent probability of having major depression. One of the ways that alcoholism affects mental health is by disrupting sleep patterns. Many chronic severe alcoholics experience insomnia and other sleep-related problems, which can worsen depression and anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, heavy drinking can interfere with the body’s natural ability to regulate stress hormones, leading to heightened feelings of anxiety and irritability.

Ways to Treat Risk Factors of Alcoholism

While treatment for all alcoholics remains generally similar, some may respond better to different addiction support types than others. It’s a chronic disease marked by an inability to control alcohol consumption. Some people may transition between different alcoholic types based on changing life circumstances, but this probability depends on various factors, including their response to treatment. Of the alcoholism subtypes, functional individuals are less likely to relapse.

  • Nearly two thirds of chronic severe alcoholics seek out rehabilitation for their dependence.
  • They also have high probability of suffering from antisocial personality disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder.
  • We surveyed 2,136 American adults who either wanted to stop drinking alcohol or had already tried to (successfully or not).
  • Seventy-seven percent of this group have close family members with alcoholism, the highest percentage of any subtype.
  • The term “Zeta alcoholic” is not recognized in standard classifications of alcohol use disorders or subtypes.

They are also likely to be regular smokers and use other substances, including marijuana, cocaine, and opioids. About 27 percent of intermediate familial alcoholics have ever sought help for their drinking. When they do seek help, most go to self-help groups, specialty treatment programs, detox programs, and private healthcare providers. This research helped scientists identify several different types of alcoholics.

Tailoring Treatment f0r Different Types of Alcoholism

Individuals with the Intermediate Familial Subtype often have stable relationships and hold steady jobs, but they still struggle with AUD. They may drink to cope with stress or anxiety and have difficulty controlling their alcohol intake. The Intermediate Familial Subtype of AUD is characterized by a family history of alcoholism and a later onset of the disorder, typically in the early 30s. The functional subtype of alcoholism represents approximately 19 percent of individuals with AUD. The condition can be challenging to recognize and diagnose due to the absence of obvious symptoms. To better understand the complex nature of alcoholism, it is important to explore the different types of alcoholics and drinkers.

five types of alcoholics

They tend to go to self-help groups, alcohol detox programs, specialty treatment programs, and private health care providers. Most intermediate familial alcoholics begin drinking around age 17 and develop alcoholism later in life, around age 32. About half of this group comes from families with alcohol problems and are likely to suffer from mental disorders. Young brains do not have a fully developed prefrontal cortex, meaning that young people may have more difficulties controlling emotions and impulses, and are therefore more likely to take bigger risks without fear of consequences. Identifying the Young Antisocial Subtype is crucial for tailoring effective interventions and treatment approaches for individuals struggling with alcoholism. If you suspect that you or someone you know falls into this subtype, seeking professional help from addiction specialists and exploring treatment options is essential.

Why Is Alcoholism Typology Important?

Psychological factors, including mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or trauma, can contribute to the development of functional alcoholism. Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism to manage emotional pain or stress. However, in the long run, it can exacerbate these issues and lead to a cycle of dependence.

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