Types of Alcoholics, I: Evidence for an Empirically Derived Typology Based on Indicators of Vulnerability and Severity JAMA Psychiatry

People in this stage typically wake up with severe physical withdrawal symptoms after a night of drinking, and may immediately begin looking for more alcohol when they wake up. At this point, people who are in the gamma stage need medical help to safely get alcohol out of their systems. Walden prepares you to become a multifaceted professional who can make a difference in many settings throughout your career. While earning an online master’s in health education and promotion, you’ll learn about historic milestones and study future trends. You’ll analyze the factors that impact both individual and population health. And you’ll learn how to develop culturally tailored health education programs and measure their efficacy.

The intermediate familial subtype, on average, begins drinking around age 17 and starts struggling with dependence by their 30’s. Less than 30% of all intermediate familial alcoholics seek treatment for their disease. Of those functional alcoholics that seek treatment, the majority of them utilize a 12-Step program as their primary form of care.

types of alcoholics

Confirmation of the hypothesis that only two broad categories of alcoholics exist would represent an important breakthrough for theory development and treatment matching. Treatment matching and patient placement also might profit from this knowledge, provided that different therapeutic approaches and treatment settings prove to be differentially effective with different types of alcoholics. Despite one-and-a-half centuries of progress and a remarkable acceleration of interest in alcohol research in the past two decades, these critical issues continue to define the challenge as well as the promise of typology theory. Jellinek’s new typology still closely resembled the earlier Bowman-Jellinek synthesis.

Intermediate familial subtype

And, especially alarming, young adults rarely seek treatment for their alcoholism. Instead, they often believe that their heavy drinking is something they’ll grow out of. In addition, these patients have the second-highest incomes and educational levels of the five groups; only functional alcoholics are ahead of them in these areas. One bright spot is that members of this group are the most likely to get help for their addiction.

Why does vodka give the least hangover?

It packs a powerful punch – most brands are 40% alcohol mixed with water. Despite this, research has found vodka to be the least likely drink to give you a hangover. It is so pure it contains no 'congeners', or by-products made during fermentation, which are difficult for the body to break down [7].

The highest percentage of people struggling with co-occurring mental illness and other substance abuse issues. When heavy drinking is the norm in a family, people tend to fall into drinking as normal behavior. Prescription Drug Addiction Prescription drugs are used to treat physical and mental health conditions for people of all ages. If you or a loved one identify with any of the types of alcoholics mentioned above, professional treatment is necessary. Moving Mountains Recovery Center understands that alcoholism is different for everyone. Because of this, we offer individualized treatment planning to address all of our patient’s unique needs.

The Classification of Alcoholics

People who drink for enhancement often engage in adolescent binge drinking and other risky behaviors. Among the various models that define should i try to quit drinking and smoking at the same time, one focuses on the motives behind drinking to gain a deeper insight into alcohol addiction and understanding an alcoholic. Because of their frequency of drinking and long-term history of alcohol abuse, these individuals suffer from the most dangerouseffects of alcohol addiction. About 19 percent of alcoholics could be classified as intermediate familial. As a group, they often experience alcohol addiction for the first time in their early 30s.

Why doesn’t vodka give you a hangover?

Why is vodka the best drink for avoiding hangovers? Vodka is 40% alcohol mixed with water. A study by the British Medical Journal noted that vodka is the least likely spirit to result in a hangover because it is pure and contains no congeners.

People in the functional subtype manage to prevent the disease from interfering in their professional and personal lives, but often with dire consequences. Their disease can continue for years until a severe, alcohol-related problem in their health or relationships arises. With the highest education and income levels of all alcoholic types, they are predominately middle-aged , male (60%), and married (about 50%). They usually develop an alcohol dependency in their late 30s, later than other subtypes, and experience moderate rates of depression. While they tend to smoke, few have any other forms of substance abuse. While the debate of genetics vs. environment continues, studies do show that a history of alcoholism in the family is a contributing condition to those in this category of alcoholism.

What Are the Different Types of Alcoholics?

Making up more than 31% of all alcoholics, the young adult subtype is by far the most common type of alcoholic in the United States. The average age of the young adult subtype is 25, with many in the category developing a dependence to alcohol by the age of 20. A large portion of individuals in this category of alcoholics become alcoholics during their college years, where alcohol is deeply ingrained into the college experience. It can be extremely difficult to tell if someone is addicted to alcohol or not at this time, as it is normal to drink regularly and to excess.

Why does tequila make me happier?

Ethanol depresses the central nervous system, which means that it has a calming or sleep-inducing effect. However, the effects that you feel depend on the amount you consume as well as the situation you are in. When you drink in smaller amounts, alcohol can have a euphoric effect.

People who are in this stage may wake up with bruises or injuries and be unsure of how they got hurt. Developmentally limited alcoholism is characterized by frequent heavy drinking in late adolescence that tends to remit to social drinking after the individual successfully assumes adult responsibilities, such as a career and a family. Intermittent endogenous symptomatic drinkers are distinguished primarily by alcohol, headaches and hangovers their periodic drinking pattern but also develop alcoholism secondary to a psychiatric disorder. For example, epileptic and epileptoid drinkers are driven to wild drinking bouts by a seizure-like brain disorder. Similarly, manic-depressive disorder is thought to produce periodic excessive drinking. For so-called hypothetical true dipsomaniacs, periodic drinking is symptomatic of an underlying organic disease.


Oftentimes, they tend to partake in frequent binge drinking rather than engaging in constant consumption of alcohol. Most Chronic Severe alcoholics are middle-aged and have a personal history with an early onset of problem and binge drinking. 80% of individuals within this subtype have a family history of multi-generational alcoholism. This subtype comprises around one-fifth of all alcoholics in the United States – 21%. They are typically in their middle-twenties and possess a history including an early initiation of alcohol abuse. Over 50% have a family history of AUD and half have also been diagnosed with an Antisocial Personality Disorder.

types of alcoholics

The intermediate familial subtype includes individuals with high rates of familial history of alcoholism. In other words, many of these individuals have parents or other close relatives who also suffer from alcoholism. Because of this, they tend to start drinking at an early age and develop a dependency on alcohol by the age of 32. The young adult type is the largest group in the list and is composed of individuals who started drinking at around age 19 and subsequently developed alcohol dependence at an average age of around 24 years old. On the other hand, the young antisocial type is made up of alcoholics who have antisocial personality disorder . Young antisocial alcoholics often begin drinking at age 15 and tend to become alcoholics at around age 18.

Our team can verify your insurance coverage to help determine the costs of addiction treatment. For example, if you’re a functional alcoholic, outpatient treatment may work well for you. This would allow you to medications for treating alcohol dependence continue living and working as normal but receive treatment at the same time. If you recognize the signs or symptoms of alcoholism either in yourself or someone you care about, treatment options are available.

  • Continuing to drink will only put you at greater risk for destroying your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
  • 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.
  • Because of this, the signs of functional alcoholism can be difficult to spot.
  • The young adult subtype is one category of alcoholics that includes young adults who are in their mid-twenties.
  • As this review has outlined, throughout the past 150 years, researchers and clinicians have developed numerous typological classifications of alcoholism.

That is because this alcoholic is functional in most every way, if not more. For example, functional subtypes are successful in maintaining employment, having good relationships with others, and keeping up with activities and hobbies that they enjoy. About 19% of all alcoholics are functional, with the majority of them being in their late 30’s to early 40’s. The functional subtype begins drinking later in their teenage years and does not start to struggle with dependence until their late 30’s. Similar to the young antisocial subtype, 60% of all functional alcoholics are male. A history of alcoholism in first-degree relatives also has been used frequently as a typological criterion in the post-Jellinek period.

As this review has outlined, throughout the past 150 years, researchers and clinicians have developed numerous typological classifications of alcoholism. 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. This subtype starts to drink earlier than other groups—around the age of 17—and becomes dependent earlier, usually by age 32.

types of alcoholics

Cope-motivated drinkers use alcohol to escape their problems, such as depression and anxiety. They’re more likely to be female and have low agreeableness, low self-esteem and high neuroticism. Drinking to cope is more commonly found in adolescents and young adults than in other age groups.

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