Types of Alcoholics

Are you concerned that you or someone you love is an alcoholic? While you may be tempted to lump everyone who drinks too much into one category known as the typical alcoholic, there are actually five types of alcoholics, and they’re categorized by their age, family history and if they have a mental health disorder.

Alcoholics

What is the typical alcoholic?

There is no one answer to this question, as alcoholics can come from all walks of life. However, there are some common characteristics that many alcoholics share. For example, many alcoholics begin drinking at an early age, sometimes in response to peer pressure or trauma. They may also have a family history of alcoholism, which can increase their risk. Additionally, alcoholics often struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, which can lead them to self-medicate with alcohol. Finally, alcoholics may exhibit signs of impulsivity and recklessness, making it more likely that they will engage in risky behaviors. While not all alcoholics will fit this description, these factors can increase someone’s risk of developing alcoholism.

What is considered having too much to drink?

The definition of too much to drink is dependent on your gender. According to the CDC, drinking too much is put into four categories, binge drinking, heavy drinking, underage drinking and drinking by pregnant women.

  • Binge Drinking Men – 5+ drinks consumed within two to three hours
  • Binge Drinking Women – 4+ drinks consumed within two to three hours
  • Heavy Drinking Men – 15+ drinks consumed in a week or 2+ per day
  • Heavy Drinking Women – 8+ drinks consumed in a week or 1+ per day
  • Drinking While Pregnant – All amounts are considered too much
  • Underage Drinking – All amounts are considered too much and illegal

Are binge drinking and heavy drinking two of the categories for being an alcoholic?

Binge drinking and heavy drinking are not two of the five categories used to classify alcoholics. Although, they may be the beginning stages of alcohol abuse disorder. If you’re concerned that someone’s binge drinking or heavy drinking is turning into a problem, you can always call Long Island Interventions and speak with one of our representatives to get yourself or your loved one evaluated. It’s never too early or too late to get help if you think you are in crisis or headed for a crisis.

What is a standard drink?

According to the CDC, a standard alcoholic drink or adult beverage is:

  • 1 12oz beer with an alcohol content of 5 percent
  • 1 8oz glass or bottle of malt liquor, which is typically a high-quality malted beer with an alcohol volume of 7 percent.
  • 1 5oz glass of wine with an alcohol content of 12 percent
  • 1.5oz of liquor with an alcohol volume of 80 percent

What are the five types of alcoholics?

There are five types of alcoholics, according to studies by NCBI and NIH.

Young Adult

The young adult subtype accounts for roughly 31 percent of individuals with alcohol abuse disorder. They tend to start drinking around the age of 19. By the age of 24, they are typically dependent on alcohol. These individuals are usually in college and not employed full-time. They are not typically married, and they have low instances of alcoholic family members or members of their family with mental health histories. Individuals classified as the young adult subtype rarely seek intervention and treatment.

Young Antisocial

The young adult antisocial subtype accounts for 21 percent of the alcoholics in the United States. These individuals tend to be slightly older than the young adult subtype with the average age being in the mid-twenties. It’s estimated that slightly more than half of these individuals come from families with alcohol problems, and they usually have a mental health diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Functional

The functional subtype tends to be individuals who are middle-aged. This subtype accounts for about 19 percent of all alcoholics. They are well-educated and typically have college degrees. They tend to be married with kids and are able to hold a well-paying job. Their family histories usually have alcoholism present, and more than 50 percent of these individuals are smokers. They also usually have at least one episode of major depressive disorder in their lives.

Intermediate Familial

The intermediate familial subtype accounts for 19 percent of alcoholics in the United States. These individuals are also middle-aged, and 50 percent come from families with a history of alcohol abuse. Fifty percent of the intermediate familial subtype have been diagnosed with clinical depression and about 20 percent are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. They also tend to have chemical dependencies on cocaine, marijuana and cigarettes. These individuals aren’t likely to enter treatment with an average of 25 percent eventually seeking professional help.

Chronic Severe

The chronic severe subtype accounts for about 9 percent of the individuals with alcohol dependency. Like functional and intermediate, these individuals tend to be middle-aged. They started drinking early in their lives, and they have a family history of alcoholism. These individuals also have the highest rates of mental illness, and they tend to use other substances along with alcohol, including cocaine, marijuana and tobacco cigarettes. These individuals tend to recognize that they have a problem and do seek professional help.

How can someone tell if they are one of these categories and to seek help?

Individuals who think they may have a problem with their drinking are encouraged to seek help. In order to help them make a decision, they can evaluate their drinking and lifestyle by asking themselves a few questions.

  • How often do I drink?
  • Do I consume enough alcohol on a daily or weekly basis to be considered a heavy drinker or a binge drinker?
  • Do I consume more than 8 drinks if I am a female or 15 drinks a week if I am a male? When’s the last day I didn’t drink?
  • Is my drinking affecting my job or home life?
  • Did I start drinking at a young age or before I was legally allowed to consume alcoholic beverages?
  • Has anyone in my family or my close friends asked me about my drinking?
  • Do I continuously think about where I can get my next drink?
  • Do I continuously think about where I can get my next drink?
  • Do I experience any symptoms when I try to stop drinking?

The answers to these questions can help determine if you or someone you loves needs to get help for their drinking problem. If you are unsure as to whether you need help, alcohol and drug treatment centers, like Long Island Interventions, can evaluate you to determine if you need professional treatment.

What are the risks of alcohol abuse?

Drinking alcohol causes both short and long-term health consequences.

In the short term, you could injure yourself or another person while drunk. You could drink so much that you get alcohol poisoning and need to be treated at a hospital, and you may engage in risky behaviors, like unprotected sex. In the long-term, you could develop chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, develop cancer of the mouth, throat, liver and colon. You could experience a weakened immune system, and you may develop memory problems.

If I’m ready for treatment, what can I do?

If you are ready for treatment or wondering if you need treatment for your alcohol abuse, you can call Long Island Interventions today. Our dedicated, caring and compassionate staff is ready to help you get the treatment you need to start living a clean, sober and healthy lifestyle.

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