According to a 2015 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or NIAAA report, 6 out of every 100 Americans have alcohol use disorder (AUD). A person with AUD has problems controlling their consumption of alcohol. They use alcohol whenever they feel that something is bothering them. Interestingly, the NIAAA report also says that families and friends don’t see alcohol use disorder as a problem when a person continues to function as normal. The following is a list of the different alcoholics’ types so that you can understand the condition well.
The majority of people with drinking disorders fall into this group. Young adult alcoholics start drinking at around 18 or 19 and become dependent on alcohol by the time they are 21 or 22 years old. A vast majority of young adult alcoholics start drinking when they go to college. Freedom and peer pressure are what drive them to adopt such risky behaviors.
Young adult alcoholics also engage in a lot of binge drinking where they drink more than 4 or 5 standard drinks in less than 2 hours. This habit exposes them to a lot of potential problems such as memory loss and high risk of injuries. Young adults are also less likely to get counseling for their addiction because they don’t believe they have a drinking problem.
Young antisocials make up the second majority of alcoholics. At least 50% of people in this category have an antisocial disorder, which means that they have no empathy and can quickly get into fights with others. According to NIAAA, young antisocial alcoholics start drinking when they are in their early teens and achieve a high alcohol tolerance and dependence by the time they are in their final year of high school. Most of them drop out of school and get addicted to other drugs. Their reliance on substances limits their earning potential. Luckily, most people who fall into this group accept that they have a problem and are willing to get help.
This is the third majority of alcoholics. They are also the most accomplished and educated of the bunch. Many of them are men in their 40s. Like the young alcoholics, members of this group start drinking in college. However, they don’t develop a dependence on alcohol until later in life. The reason for this is that they are so focused on their careers during those early years. You will never know that a person is a functional alcoholic when you first meet them. That’s because they are good at hiding that side of their life. Not surprisingly, most of them will never admit that they have an alcoholic problem. Interestingly, a large percentage of functional drinkers have a history of alcoholism in their families.
This is the fourth majority of alcoholics and the one with the most history. According to NIAAA, out of every ten intermediate familial alcoholics, 5 have a family member that struggled with alcoholism or is an alcoholic. Most people in this group are employed and have a stable income. The majority are in their early 30s and are starting a family. One interesting similarity between functional and intermediate familial alcoholics is that their family members are always in denial and don’t think that the breadwinner has an alcohol problem. However, unlike functional drinkers, intermediate familial are more open to getting help and changing their ways.
9 out of every 100 alcoholics fall in this category. As the name suggests, chronic severe alcoholics are very dependent on alcohol. Most of them suffer from mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. They also get into trouble with the law more often than other groups on this list. A chronic severe alcoholic usually starts drinking when they are 16 and become dependent by the time they are around 28. The overdependence on alcohol is hereditary most of the time. Also, these people have the toughest time quitting alcohol. That’s because they experience severe withdrawal symptoms. As a result, they take longer to recover.
To conclude, not everyone with an alcoholic disorder is going to accept that they have a problem. If a friend or member of your family falls on any of the above groups, help them get help by being honest with them.