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Types of Alcoholics

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What are the Different Types of Alcoholics?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or NIAAA has identified five distinct types of alcoholics and alcohol dependence:

  • Young adult subtype
  • Young antisocial subtype
  • Functional subtype
  • Intermediate familial subtype
  • Chronic severe subtype

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we understand the seriousness of alcoholism, the impact it can have on those struggling with alcohol, and on those around them. We offer personalized treatments and therapies that are tailored to each client’s individualized needs.

Understanding Young Adult Subtype Alcoholics

Young adult subtype alcoholics is the most prevalent of all subtypes. It is estimated that a third of alcohol-dependent individuals fall within this category. The average age of individuals within this subtype is around 25, with most of them forming their dependency on alcohol at or around 20 years of age.

Young Adults Tend to Binge Drink

One factor that can set these types of alcoholics apart from others is that they tend to binge drink. Others struggling with alcohol may drink more frequently, more days of the year. The binge drinker will typically consume more than five drinks on the days that they do drink.

Binge drinking is considered to be far more hazardous than patterns of alcoholism with non-bingeing patterns. It’s thought that those struggling with alcohol in this category are at least twice as more likely to be male than they are to be female. Most have never been married, and at least half hold down a full-time job.

Compared to other types of people with alcohol issues, the young adults in this subtype are much less likely to have a comorbid psychiatric disorder. Binge drinking can become a serious concern for those in college, which is often how alcohol abuse extends further into their adult lives.

Understanding Young Antisocial Subtype Alcoholics

More than half of antisocial subtype alcoholics have an antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). This disorder is characterized by several behaviors, which can prove to be incredibly destructive.

Some of these behaviors include:

  • Routinely getting into physical conflicts
  • History of assault
  • A history of criminal activities
  • Lacking remorse for actions
  • Lacking any regard for the safety of family and friends
  • Impulsive and reckless behavior
  • Deceitfulness

These individuals also tend to be under the age of 26 and have experienced early onset alcohol dependency. The average age tends to be 16 and younger. Binge drinking tends to be the direction that these alcoholics go in. Almost 80% of these types of alcoholics tend to be male.

There is quite often a family history of alcohol dependency and higher than average occurrences of psychiatric disorders.

These could include depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, social anxiety, and more. Those who have ASPD are much more likely to display aggressive behaviors when they have been drinking.

Understanding Functional Subtype Alcoholics

The functional alcoholic tends to be somewhat older than the other types of alcoholics. The average age is 40, and they are more likely to drink alcohol each and every day.

More alcoholics in this subtype hold down a full-time job and have the highest income levels. The unfortunate part is that fewer than 20% of functional alcoholics tend to seek help for their alcohol dependence. Those who pursue help are more likely than other alcoholic subtypes to get help from mental healthcare professionals. They are also more likely to pursue 12-step programs.

Signs of a functional alcoholic may include the following:

  • Oddly high tolerance for alcohol
  • Personality changes when drinking
  • Denial of alcoholism being a concern
  • Reaching for a drink after a long day at work, frequently

Those struggling with alcohol in this category live in steep denial of their alcohol dependence. Those around them may also enable them by failing to recognize the dependence.

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Understanding Intermediate Familial Subtype Alcoholics

The alcoholics classified in this subtype make up approximately 18% of all alcoholics. It is estimated that almost half of these individuals have one or more close family members who are also alcoholics. Many started drinking and abusing alcohol in their late teens and become dependents on alcohol in their early 30s.

Alcoholics in this subtype boast the highest employment rates amongst all alcoholics. Almost 70% of them hold down a steady job. Elevated levels of depression are seen amongst the alcoholics in this category. Nearly half of them face major depression. This is troublesome, as it can lead to some dark periods of binge drinking.

Almost 27% of alcoholics in the intermediate familial subtype seek out help with their drinking dependence. They tend to have a focus on detox programs, self-help groups, and specialty treatment programs.

These alcoholics tend to embrace recovery with more success if other family members also do.

Understanding Chronic Severe Subtype Alcoholics

This is the rarest type of alcoholism. Just 9% of alcoholics fall into this subtype. It is also one of the most dangerous. The age of chronic severe alcoholic tends to be 38 years old. Their drinking started in their teens, with alcoholic dependence becoming a reality in their late 30s.

Those in this subtype have the highest drinking rates. They are said to drink, on average, 248 days a year. Almost 70% of those days are binge drinking. There is a higher occurrence of vehicular accidents, along with higher risks of alcohol poisoning.

The alcoholics in this subtype are more likely to be male. They have the highest rates of divorce and the lowest rates of employment.

Chronic severe subtype alcoholics are more likely than other alcoholic types to struggle with mental illness. 55% may have severe depression, while a worrying 47% have an antisocial personality disorder. There are also higher instances of substance abuse, including nicotine and cannabis.

Around 66% of chronic severe alcoholics have spent time looking for help with the alcoholism that consumes them. They tend to have the highest attendance rates in detox programs, specialized rehab programs, and self-help groups.

Why Choose Resurgence Behavioral Health for Alcoholism Treatment and Rehab

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we recognize that there is no such thing as a one-size solution. The treatment of alcoholism is highly individualized. We have an understanding of the different types of alcoholics. This allows us to treat each person walking through our doors with a program that meets their individual needs.

We offer certified alcoholic counselors. Additionally, our treatments are devised to help those struggling with alcohol find the recovery path best for them. Some of the programs offered will share some commonalities. Individual and family counseling, medication management, to name just a few.

Alcoholism is a treatable and manageable disease. Those with alcohol issues must get the right kind of treatment to manage it correctly. Comprehensive detox and treatment programs can make a significant positive difference.

Are you or a loved one ready to embrace sobriety? Do not hesitate to reach out to our team of compassionate professionals. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we are committed to your sobriety.

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