The 5 Types of Alcoholics

There is no such thing as a typical alcoholic. Every individual has their own unique circumstance. There are, however, 5 identified subtypes of alcoholics as identified by the NIH.

Start the road to recovery

(877) 746-0480

    Call Now

    Treatment Center Locator

    The 5 Types of Alcoholics

    There is stereotype in America of a “typical alcoholic.” However, a study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism put that notion to rest. Every person is different and, while there are definitely similarities among different groups of people, there is no one kind of alcoholic. The study actually broke people down into one of five subtypes:

    • Young Adult
    • Young Antisocial
    • Functional
    • Intermediate Familial
    • Chronic Severe

    These subtypes are categories based off the age of the individual and the severity of their alcoholism. They are not meant as a diagnostic to determine if someone is suffering from alcoholism. Rather, they are meant show the frequency of alcoholism in different groups of people.

    Different types of alcoholics will suffer for different reasons. Some groups may not even realize that their drinking is a problem. Rather, it is just a part of who they are. However, no matter your age, status, or family, alcoholism can create long-term problems that damage your health and relationships, no matter the subtype.

    Questions about treatment?

    Get confidential help 24/7. Call now for:

    • Access to top treatment centers
    • Caring, supportive guidance
    • Financial assistance options
    (855) 826-4464

    Young Adult Subtype

    Despite The Stereotype, The Majority Of Those Who Fit Into One Of The Five Types Of Alcoholics Are YoungIt is determined that roughly 31.5% of alcoholics fall into the category of young adults. These are not necessarily young people who suffer from previous or co-occurring disorders. These are high school and college students who are going to parties and spending time with friends. Some of these individuals may have just started drinking recently. Others could have been doing it for a couple years. What they have in common, however, is that they rarely seek help for their alcohol consumption.

    Binge drinking has become somewhat ingrained into college culture. This makes students entering into their new school more likely to seek it out and accept it. Being part of what they expect out of college, it doesn’t make sense to think that they could actually develop a drinking problem.

    Young Antisocial Subtype

    About 21% of alcoholics, not including the previous Young Adult subtype, are Young Antisocial. This subtype, on average, is 26 years old. Over 50% of them have a diagnosed antisocial personality disorder, thus their name. This subtype is more likely to become alcoholics by the age of 18, younger than the others, and also more likely to smoke tobacco or marijuana.

    Drinking in this subtype is not a social event. It isn’t about being part of the “college experience.” It is more often a way to cope with some other issues they are facing.

    See how Jerry
    overcame his
    Jerry Lawson sitting in a chair

    Functional Subtype

    The Functional subtype is what you might think of when you hear “functional alcoholics.” Making up 19.5% of alcoholics, this is the group that are holding down jobs and relationships. They tend to have higher education and income than other alcoholics. These are people that may seem to have their lives together, the ones that others look up to. However, while they are “functional” in a sense, they are still suffering from addiction.

    In cases like these, it is often a matter of time for someone to lose something. Whether it is their job or significant other, something will eventually give. This can also make it hard for someone who falls into the subtype to seek help. Since they haven’t lost anything yet, they have no reason to believe that they will or even can.

    Intermediate Familial Subtype

    The Intermediate Familial subtype are those who have close relatives that are also alcoholics. They may have become an alcoholic in their early 30s, if not earlier. These are people who, despite suffering from alcoholism, still maintain a relationship with their relatives. This subtype consists of 19% of alcoholics.

    The positive note of someone falling into this subtype is that they have someone who loves them. If you think someone you love might fall into this subtype, then it is important to reach out immediately.

    Get started on the road to recovery.

    Chronic Severe Subtype

    While there is no “Typical Alcoholic” subtype, the Chronic Severe subtype is closest to what people imagine of an alcoholic. This is a group of people with the highest rate of divorce and illicit drug abuse. This group, however, is by far the smallest and only makes up 9% of alcoholics. This goes to show that how we think of alcoholism, as a society, should really be reevaluated. Alcoholism is not a stereotype. It can effect any number of people at any age.

    Background image

    Ready to get help?

    Our phone number is available 24/7 to help you or your loved one find a treatment center that suits your needs. It only takes one call to start your new life in recovery.
    Don’t waste another second. Call now to speak with a compassionate treatment expert.

    Speak with an expert (855) 826-4464

    - OR -

    Let us call you
    (877) 746-0480

      Interpreting the Types of Alcoholics

      Many people think that alcoholism is an issue for the middle-aged, for people who are unhappy and unable to get their life together. However, what this data shows is that alcoholism is a greater danger for the young than any other age-group. College-aged individuals (and even younger) are at a greater risk of alcoholism than people in their 30s and older. Over 50% of alcoholics fall into a young subtype.

      If you or someone you love fall into one of these categories, do not hesitate. The longer an addiction goes on for, the harder it is break. Instead, reach out to a dedicated treatment specialist. They are available around the clock to help you identify if there is a problem, and what treatment program will be best for you or your loved one.

      Get help today

      Don't go through the process of recovery alone. Get in touch with someone who can help.

      (877) 746-0480

        What does it mean that this site is brought to you by Delphi Behavioral Health Group?

        We strive to be fully transparent in all of our relationships. To that end, we want you to be aware that AddictionCenter is compensated by Delphi Behavioral Health Group for the work AddictionCenter does in the development and operation of this site. Delphi Behavioral Health Group was carefully vetted and selected to be a trusted provider and partner with AddictionCenter, based on the quality of treatment that Delphi provides and their rigorous commitment to ethical practices. Learn more about why Delphi Behavioral Health Group is a trusted provider with AddictionCenter.

        All calls to numbers on individual facility listings will always go to the facility listed. All calls to general contact numbers and contact us forms on this site are routed to Delphi Behavioral Health Group. If Delphi Behavioral Health Group is unable to assist with a particular need they are committed to providing direction and assistance in finding appropriate care.

        Get 24/7 help now. All calls free and confidential.

        (855) 826-4464

        Take control of your life

        Our treatment specialists offer 24/7 assistance.

        • Access to top treatment centers
        • Caring, supportive guidance
        • Financial assistance options

        Call now:

        (855) 826-4464


        Have us call you:

        (877) 746-0480

          Where do calls go?

          Calls to numbers dedicated to a specific treatment center profile will be routed to that treatment center. All other calls will be routed to Delphi Behavioral Health Group and Amethyst Recovery.

          Rehab experts are available 24/7/365 to answer and return calls routed to our partners:

          All calls are private and confidential.

          Find out more about AddictionCenter.

          A treatment facility paid to have their center promoted here. Learn more about how to be featured in a paid listing.