The Different Types of Alcoholics

Chronic severe alcoholics suffer from psychiatric disorders more often than other subtypes of alcoholics, including bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety disorders. Co-occurring disorders are optimally treated with an integrated program that can help to manage both disorders at the same time. Around one-quarter of intermediate familial alcoholics seek treatment for drinking-related problems. Nearly 90 percent of adults in the United States report drinking alcohol in their lifetime, as of the national survey in 2015, theNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism publishes. Alcohol is a common and socially acceptable mind-altering substance that many people consume on a regular basis with few issues. Women who drink fewer than seven drinks a week and men who drink less than 14 drinks a week are considered at low risk for developing an alcohol use disorder . While approximately 15 million American adults suffer from alcohol use disorder, fewer than 1 in 10 typically seek treatment for addiction.

types of alcoholics

Consequently, no single characteristic distinguishes alcoholics from non-alcoholics, and separate homogeneous subtypes differ by more than just one defining characteristic. 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. Using cluster analysis, the investigators identified two types of alcoholics who differ consistently across 17 defining characteristics, including age of onset, severity of dependence, and family history of alcoholism. The two types also differ with respect to treatment outcome, with type B alcoholics more likely to relapse to heavy drinking. This group tends to start drinking at the youngest age and also develops an alcohol dependence at the earliest age . More than 50% of this group have traits of antisocial personality disorder. They also have high rates of depression, bipolar disorder, social phobia, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Understanding the Five Types of Alcoholics

That’s why it’s so important to know that despite what popular culture says, there are actually many different types of alcoholics. And the more you know about each, the better able you’ll be to spot the signs early and get the treatment that you or your loved ones really need. Spotting the signs of addiction early can be the key to a successful recovery. A person struggling with alcohol addiction is much less likely to relapse by taking action and seeking treatment. Dependent drinking, or chronic alcoholism, is the final stage of drinking. People in this stage are genuinely reliant on alcohol and begin to feel withdrawal symptoms like body tremors within hours if they do not have a drink. They often binge drink, go on benders, and sell their possessions to maintain an alcohol supply.

  • Neither Alcohol Rehab Help nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.
  • Chronic Severe alcoholics have the highest rates co-occurring mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and antisocial personality disorder.
  • One of the biggest differences between this subtype and Young Adult Alcoholics is the fact that a Young Antisocial drinker tends to have a much higher rate of drinking in their family and of experiencing mental disorders.
  • Students at many colleges and universities encourage one another to drink, sometimes heavily.
  • Official medical diagnoses of alcohol use disorder categorize the disorder as mild, moderate, or severe.
  • The highest percentage of people struggling with co-occurring mental illness and other substance abuse issues.

According to the NIAAA “More than 10% of US children live with a parent with alcohol problems…” . Generational alcoholism describes a family environment that normalizes the presence of alcohol and its abuse. It can lead to an increased likelihood of alcoholism later in life. Another factor is whether or not someone is also addicted to other drugs. This additional substance abuse is noted as co-occurring substance dependence, which can be caused by alcoholism or go on to cause alcoholism. The type of alcoholic can also be determined by any additional mental health diagnoses.

Club History

Part of that might have to do with the fact that many functional alcoholics don’t really believe they have a problem in the first place. They often believe since their life hasn’t fallen apart around them that they have everything under control. This view is also reinforced by the fact that alcohol has become such an integral part of American life and that the only way you’re a drunk is if you lose your job, house, and family because of it. This type of alcoholic can end up being one of the most deceptive. That’s because when you run through the list of characteristics you imagine an alcoholic won’t have- a steady job, a solid education, a healthy family life- a functional alcoholic will often have all of them.

Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. For someone who is a chronic severe alcoholic, treatment would likely need to be much more intensive. For example, if you’re a functional alcoholic, outpatient treatment may work well for you.

What Are Some Reasons People Drink?

That’s why being able to recognize the signs of an alcohol addiction in yourself is the first step to preventing a serious problem from getting any worse. The tools below will help you spot these signs early on and learn to look past denial and accept the truth about your addiction. Despite how common this conception of an alcoholic is in modern society, the truth is that these types of alcohol addicts really only make up about 9% of all alcoholics according to the NIAAA findings. One of the most interesting things to come from the NIAAA study is the fact that functional alcoholism is actually quite common- more common than most people think.

What are the five psychological stages of recovery?

  • Stage One: Grief And Denial. Grief is an intensive emotional suffering caused by the loss of a relationship.
  • Stage Two: Anger. Anger usually follows the grief and denial stage.
  • Stage Three: Bargaining.
  • Stage Four: Depression.
  • Stage Five: Acceptance.

Many people have a stereotypical image of someone labeled as an alcoholic, but new alcoholism research from the NIAAA has laid that notion to rest by proving that not all alcoholics are the same. Many of those in the grips of alcoholism choose not to seek help, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you or a loved one fall into one of these types of alcoholism, know that there are options. A study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and National Institutes of Health establishes five different types of alcoholics.


Nearly 26% have a college degree or higher, and the average household income is almost $60,000, the highest types of alcoholics among any of the subtypes. Functional alcoholics make up19.4%of alcohol-dependent individuals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *