And because they don’t look or act like the stereotypical alcoholic, they’re often in denial about their drinking problem. Experts in the field of addiction say these categories are more than just labels — they can also be useful tools in treating alcoholism. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to treating an alcohol addiction, understanding a person’s alcoholic subtype can help patients and physicians identify the most effective form of treatment. But identification also helps by letting people with alcohol use disorder AUD know that they are not alone, and that they have a serious health problem that requires a medical treatment plan. There is help and support (including support groups) available to help them successfully recover from their illness. The NESARC is a nationally-representative survey that looks at alcohol, drug, and mental disorders in America.
Treatment providers are available 24/7 to answer your questions about rehab, whether it’s for you or a loved one. Submit your number and receive a free call today from a treatment provider. A causal relationship has been established between harmful drinking and incidence or outcomes of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV. The harmful use of alcohol can also result in harm to other people, such as family members, friends, co-workers and strangers.
Five Types of Alcoholics
Because their homes and jobs are generally stable, functional alcoholics often choose not to pursue help with their alcoholism. 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.
- More than 14 million American adults struggle with the disease of alcoholism.
- They also have high rates of depression, bipolar disorder, social phobia, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
- The researchers therefore reviewed the alcoholism typology literature since the mid-19th century to identify defining typological characteristics that combined could accurately describe alcoholic subtypes.
- Often, substance abuse can lead to problematic behavior that puts a person with an addiction in defense mode.
- In contrast, the god Dionysius was known for his drunken revelry, sexual abandonment, and physical aggression.
- Making up just 9% of alcoholics in this country, the Chronic Severe subtype highlights the profound negative impact of both genetics and early initiation of use.
Moreover, they did not lead to the development of theories explaining the etiology, manifestations, and consequences of alcoholism, because they did not propose verification procedures to test assumptions and predict behavior. Alcohol impacts brain chemistry, and regular exposure to the mind-altering substance may actually change the way the brain’s circuitry works. An individual may then suffer from cravings and withdrawal symptoms when alcohol isn’t active in the bloodstream, encouraging the person to drink more to feel better. Medicines are usually used with talk therapy and support groups to treat alcohol use disorder. The medicines are usually taken once people have stopped drinking to help keep them from starting to drink again. If someone has an issue with alcohol, the sooner they seek help, the better.
Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
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. 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. Despite the variety of determining factors and manifestations of alcoholism and despite the inconsistencies in nomenclature, however, both clinical observation and empirical research indicate that the heterogeneity among alcoholics is not random.
Alcoholism is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death with around 88,000 deaths reported each year. 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 5 types of alcoholics 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.
Most are smokers, and they’re more likely than other subtypes to use other drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opioids and amphetamines. More than three-quarters of young antisocial alcoholics are male, and about 15 percent are married. They drink approximately 201 days out of each year and usually consume five or more drinks per sitting. But they started drinking much earlier than young adult alcoholics — usually by the age of 15 or 16. Researchers found that 21.1 percent of alcoholics fall into this category.
- Confirmation of the hypothesis that only two broad categories of alcoholics exist would represent an important breakthrough for theory development and treatment matching.
- If you or someone you love falls into othese categories, do not hesitate.
- This is the rarest and most dangerous type of alcoholism, making up 9.2% of alcoholics.
- Alcoholics who fit into the young adult subtype are most likely to be male, as men are 2.5 times more likely to experience this type of alcoholism than women.
Their alcoholism usually manifests by the time they are 18 or 19, and more than half come from families with alcoholism. This subtype has the highest rates of divorce, separation, and visits to the emergency room due to drinking. With one of the lowest education levels of any subtype and the lowest employment rate, this group drinks more frequently than any other, although their total alcohol intake is less than that of the young antisocial subtype. Sixty-six percent have sought help at some point, making them the group most likely to have done so.
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). This summary was prepared by the John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Science at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. It was written by Amelia Williamson Smith, M.S., Thomas Kosten, M.D., and Michael Fordis, M.D. People with alcohol use disorder reviewed this summary.
NIH reports that most smoke cigarettes, and as many as one out of every five also struggles with issues related to marijuana and cocaine abuse. Most intermediate familial alcoholics are gainfully employed, and many are married with families. Around one-quarter of this subtype of people struggling with alcohol addiction will seek out a professional treatment program. The largest subtype of alcoholics, the young adult alcoholic subtype is made up of people around the age of 24 who typically have been battling alcohol addiction since the age of 20.