Types of Alcoholics: The 5 Subtypes of Alcohol Addiction You Should Know

This group has the lowest levels of education, employment, and income of any group. This group also drinks more at once and more overall than other groups, although they drink slightly less frequently. On the other hand, this group is more likely to seek help than almost any other; 35% sought out some form of assistance in overcoming alcoholism. This group has the highest rate of seeking treatment from a private health care provider but also often choose self-help groups, specialty treatment programs, and detox programs. That said, the functional alcoholic subtype is the least likely to seek treatment and typically has a high risk for high blood pressure, liver damage, and other side effects of long-term drinking.

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On average, they drink alcohol every other day, and they consume five or more drinks on an average of 98 of those drinking days. About 31 percent of functional alcoholics have a family member with alcohol use disorder. Although they have low rates of anxiety disorders, they have about a 24 percent probability of having major depression. In initial studies, type I alcoholics frequently exhibited high harm avoidance, low novelty seeking, and high reward dependence (Cloninger 1987a), personality characteristics indicating high levels of anxiety. Type II alcoholics often exhibited a reverse personality profile, with low harm avoidance, high novelty seeking, and low reward dependence. This combination of traits also describes people with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) (Cloninger 1987b) and is consistent with findings that type II alcoholics frequently suffer from ASPD (Gilligan et al. 1988).

The Classification of Alcoholics

Behavioral therapies can help people develop skills to avoid and overcome triggers, such as stress, that might lead to drinking. Medications also can help deter drinking during times when individuals may be at greater risk of a return to drinking (e.g., divorce, 5 types of alcoholics death of a family member). Treatment for alcohol use disorder varies depending on the severity of your symptoms and how long the condition has persisted. The most common treatment options for people with the condition include the following listed below.

what types of people are alcoholics

When a person suffers from a co-occurring mental health disorder, the risk for also developing alcoholism or problems with substance abuse are elevated. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes that co-occurring mental health disorders and addiction are common, as about 8 million adults in America battled both in 2014. Within this group, 50% of people have an antisocial personality disorder and those who don’t tend to suffer from co-occurring disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues.

Take control of your life

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use disorder, you should seek help right away. The first step to creating a better life for yourself is getting professional help. This drinking type may not be a problem as long as it doesn’t cause disruptions in personal lives and careers. However, you can start as a social drinker and slowly become an alcoholic without being aware of your problem. Alcoholic characteristics of those in this category include struggles with other addictions, such as those to cigarettes, marijuana or even cocaine. Many have a higher level of education, but not as high as those in the functional subtype.

They have moderate rates of major depression (24%) and smoking cigarettes (43%), and low rates of anxiety disorders, other substance use disorders, and the lowest rates of having legal problems (fewer than 1%). Chronic severe alcoholics include the highest percentage of people struggling with co-occurring psychiatric disorders and other substance abuse issues. This group also experiences the highest alcohol-related emergency room visits, work and social problems, and withdrawal. Many young antisocial alcoholics also have other substance use disorders, including addiction to cigarettes, marijuana, and opiates. Nearly 50 percent have a family history of alcoholism, and co-occurring mental illness is prevalent.

There Is Help Available For All Types of Alcoholics

Young antisocial alcoholics have a high rate of psychiatric disorders and other substance abuse. Unlike young adult alcoholics, antisocial alcoholics don’t drink socially with peers. Instead, antisocial alcoholics drink alone and typically struggle with co-occurring mental health problems. In the U.S., the young adult alcoholic subtype comprises 31.5% of all alcoholics. This demographic’s average age is 24, with most being male, single, still in school, and with family histories of alcoholism. By having a better understanding of what type of alcoholic you may be, it can be easier to recognize that you would benefit from an alcohol addiction treatment program.

what types of people are alcoholics

Among the various models that define types of alcoholics, one focuses on the motives behind drinking to gain a deeper insight into alcohol addiction and understanding an alcoholic. The different types of alcoholics are not meant as a diagnostic tool to figure out if someone is suffering from an alcohol use disorder. Rather, by knowing which alcoholic personality type you or a loved are acts as a guide to finding the best treatment and prevention methods. Those in the chronic severe subtype have the highest rate of divorce and separation. Thankfully this subtype is the most likely to seek help for their alcoholism, often from rehab programs, self-help groups and detox clinics. Almost everyone in the chronic severe subtype has experienced acute withdrawal symptoms when attempting to cut down.

Why Create These Types?

In addition, 17% seek substance addiction treatment at private facilities. A study by scientists at the NIAAA, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), analyzed 1,484 survey respondents who met specific diagnostic criteria https://ecosoberhouse.com/ for alcohol addiction. The study included people both in treatment and not seeking treatment. This subtype of alcoholics is typically middle-aged, well-educated, and may seem to have it all “together” on the outside.