Alcohol Doesn’t Discriminate
Anyone can be an alcoholic. It doesn’t matter what kind of personality you have or what kind of person you are. Anybody can be an alcoholic. Since drinking is widely acceptable in our culture, alcoholism isn’t very difficult to fall victim to.
It wasn’t until I went to a recovery program at The Discovery House that I not only met these types of Alcoholics, but I realized which one I was.
According to studies done by multiple health institutes, there are five main types of alcoholics. There are young adult alcoholics, young antisocial alcoholics, functional alcoholics, intermediate familial alcoholics, and chronic severe alcoholics.
Young Adult Alcoholics
Young adult alcoholics make up the highest percentage of all these types. This group makes up for over thirty one percent of all alcoholics. The young adult alcoholic tends to begin drinking at an early age, typically in high school or college.
Binge drinking refers to the excessive amount of alcohol intake at one time. While people in this group tend to drink less often than other types of alcoholics, they are more likely to engage in binge drinking.
Interestingly enough, young adult alcoholics are two and half times more likely to be male than female.
Young Antisocial Alcoholics
Like the previous group, young antisocial alcoholics begin drinking at a young age and are likely to develop alcohol dependence much earlier. They make up around twenty-one percent of all the alcoholic types.
In this group, drinking usually begins around or before the age of sixteen. Because our brains are not fully developed at this age, our brain chemistry can be greatly affected by drinking.
This group is typically afflicted with mental and emotional disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. More than half of the people in this group have a family history of alcoholism.
Functional alcoholics are normally middle aged and make up for nineteen percent of alcohol types. We call them functional alcoholics because they are more likely to hold down a job and maintain relationships.
There is usually a significant amount of enabling by the family, who will make excuses when faced with the issues associated with the person’s drinking. The term ‘weekend warrior’ is often used in reference to functional alcoholics.
This refers to those who engage in excessive alcohol abuse during the weekend, and then flip a switch and return to the office the next week. The intermediate familial alcohol also makes up nineteen percent of the alcohol subtypes.
In this group, people are likely to have a family history of alcoholism. Almost half of the people in this group have struggled with clinical depression and/or bipolar disorder. These are often co-occurring disorders that go hand in hand with alcoholism.
Chronic Severe Alcoholic
The chronic severe alcoholic group makes up for the lowest percentage of these subtypes at around nine percent.
These are people who have become physically addicted and need alcohol in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms, which can be extremely dangerous.
They develop alcoholism at an intermediate age, usually around the age of thirty. Chronic alcoholism is more likely to suffer extreme consequences of their drinking, such as homelessness, legal issues, health problems and broken relationships.
Although this group has the lowest percentage of all the subtypes, this group is more likely to seek treatment than all of the others.
Am I An Alcoholic?
If you are at a point where you are asking this question, the chances are you may fall into one of these subtypes.
This can be a difficult point to get to, as a lot of individuals suffering from alcoholism typically do not want to admit they have a problem. We all think that “we got this” and we don’t need help.
It’s a realization that’s usually obvious to everyone else in your life except for you. If you are able to see the signs and recognize you have an issue, you are actually at an advantage. As mentioned above, there aren’t a lot of people who will actually admit they are alcoholics.
So how do you know? One of the most obvious signs is figuring out why you drink. Drinking to avoid negative thoughts or to cover up past trauma is a tell-tale sign. It is easy to bury the pain from your past with alcohol.
What is difficult is facing these issues head on and dealing with them clear headed. If you are unable to prevent yourself from drinking to excess, that is also a clear sign of alcoholism. Some people can drink one or two beers and cut themselves off.
A lot of us do not have that ability.
When you’re in the thick of it, doing any everyday activity becomes difficult without alcohol. If you can’t perform simple tasks or the usual daily activities without drinking, there is definitely an issue.
If you’ve noticed that you continue drinking despite the negative effect that it has on your life, this is also a tell-tale sign. Drinking eventually affects every aspect of your life. Your health, job, relationships, it doesn’t take long for it to become all-consuming.
There is also the issue of tolerance. As your drinking becomes more regular, your tolerance goes up. It takes more and more to attain the feeling you are after. If it takes you ten beers to feel anything, you are playing a very dangerous game with your mind and body.
Determining The Type Of Alcoholic You Are
Once you do a little bit of research, it’s not that difficult to figure out which alcohol subtype you fall into. Realizing that you have a problem can be a painful reality, but it can also be the boost that you need to get your head straight.
We all live by labels, so once you are able to determine the alcoholic subtype you fall into, it can be easier to figure out the best course of action.
Figuring out which subtype you fall into is the first step toward dealing with your issues. We often lump all alcoholics into the same category. Because alcohol is the most often abused drug in the United States, the stigma surrounding it is still very prevalent.
Even though there are slight differences among the subtypes, we are all in the same boat when we become powerless to alcohol.
Narrowing it down to the specifics can give you the tools to tackle your addiction in the best way possible. There are many different philosophies and approaches that exist when it comes to treatment. A lot of programs are geared specifically towards these five different alcoholic subtypes.
If you are willing to seek treatment and get to the bottom of it, you are better off than a lot of people who never have that moment of clarity.