The Five Different Types of Alcohol Abuse Profiles

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. As shown in table 2, similar alcoholic subtypes can be categorized within two broad groups, called the Apollonian and Dionysian types, based on recurrent characteristics of the drinkers. Until the 1960’s, typology theory—including Jellinek’s work—was guided primarily by armchair intuition and clinical observation.

  • These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual.
  • The majority have full-time jobs, yet their income is lower than those in the functional subtype.
  • Less than 30% of all intermediate familial alcoholics seek treatment for their disease.
  • According to study data, about 47% of them will have both a first and second-degree family member with an alcohol use disorder.
  • As shown in table 2, similar alcoholic subtypes can be categorized within two broad groups, called the Apollonian and Dionysian types, based on recurrent characteristics of the drinkers.
  • You might dismiss the drinking as part of the normal process of growing up, hanging out with friends and going to college.

Their preferred treatments include self-help, rehab and detox programs. They’re more likely than any other subtype to be employed full-time but have less income than the functional subtype. However, when they do, they usually opt for self-help groups, private health care providers or detoxification programs. Group members are more likely to be unmarried college students without full-time jobs and drink less frequently than the other groups but are more prone to binge drinking.

What Should I Know About Recovering Alcoholics?

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. Similar to the other alcoholism subtypes we’ve looked at so far, most Intermediate Familial Alcoholics won’t end up seeking out help on their own. According to the figures from the study, only about 27% end up trying to get treatment, which puts it right in the middle as far as likeliness to get help compared to the other types. One of the main differentiators of this type of alcoholism is the fact that people who fall into this subtype are more prone to having antisocial behaviors.

  • However, generally speaking, medically assisted detox and withdrawal, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or a combination of these modalities, remain the most effective treatment for alcohol use disorder.
  • About 75% have never been married, 36.5% are still in school, and 54% work full time.
  • This group has moderate depression rate but low rate of co-occurring disorders.
  • Since a chronic severe alcoholic will typically embody what most people imagine when they think of a drunk, they won’t be as likely to deny their alcoholism as other subtypes.

The following checklists for each type can help you determine which subtype you might fall into. The Garden State Treatment Center in northern New Jersey assists all types of alcoholics. Our attentive and caring specialists offer personalized and effective treatment plans. And we address the root causes of our patients’ addictions, allowing them to slowly put their lives back together.

Do You Have Questions About Addiction? Call Our Recovery Experts Now.

Considering that alcohol impacts mental health, many of these subtypes also have disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. More than 75% of young antisocial alcoholics smoke cigarettes and marijuana, and many also have co-occurring cocaine and opioid addictions.2 This group has the lowest levels of education, employment, and income of any group. They too started drinking in during teen age and became dependent in their 30s. Most of them have a family history of alcoholism and high rates of co-occurring disorders. They also have other addictions, to cigarettes, cocaine, or marijuana. This revelation was by all accounts, a bombshell that sent shock waves across the recovery community.

Most of them are in their 40s, started drinking when turning of age, and only developed dependence in their 30s. Essentially, this sub-type paints a picture of what many people might believe to be the typical “party” period of their lifetime. You might dismiss the drinking as part of the normal process of growing up, hanging out with friends and going to college. There’s now scientific evidence that overwhelmingly supports that stance. Researchers found that they have the highest rates of employment among alcoholics, with 68% working full-time and an average family income of nearly $50,000 a year.

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Understanding these categories provides more insight into alcohol addiction and the effective treatment options for people suffering from alcohol use disorder (AUD). Of this type, about 76% are male and only 7.6% have received a college degree, although another 13.4% are still in school. Family incomes average around $32,000, the lowest among the subtypes alongside the chronic severe subtype. A functional alcoholic has only a moderate degree of alcoholism in their family according to the study.

How many drinks is alcohol abuse?

NIAAA defines heavy drinking as follows: For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week.

Alcoholism is a serious substance abuse issue facing more than 15 million Americans, and treating all alcoholics the same has provided unsatisfactory results. Healthcare specialists know that alcoholism can affect people differently for a range of reasons. Studies like this one help expand the ways we can approach alcoholism to help those in need the most effectively.

These are people that may seem to have their lives together; they may be the ones that others look up to. However, while they are “functional” in a sense, they are still suffering from addiction. Less than 20% of this subgroup has sought help, and most do so from a 12-Step program or a private health care professional. The chronic severe subtype of alcoholism aligns with the stereotype of alcohol use disorder in the U.S. These individuals tend to have difficulty holding a job, cannot conceal their alcohol abuse, and suffer from the more serious consequences of alcoholism. While they are less likely to have co-occurring mental health conditions than other subtypes of alcoholics, the young adult alcoholic is likely to smoke cigarettes and marijuana.

5 types of alcoholics

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