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
- 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
Young Adult Subtype
It 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
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.
Ready to get help?
Speak with an expert (855) 826-4464
- OR -
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.
Browse drug rehab centers
No matter where you live, there is a drug rehab center that can help you overcome your addiction. We'll help you find it.