This subtype may not drink as often as the other subtypes of alcoholics; however, when they do drink, they consume alcohol in a binge pattern. People who fall into the young adult alcoholic subtype also rarely have a family history of alcoholism. Alcoholism is considered to be a heritable disease, as NIAAA reports that genetics can account for about half of the risk for developing the disease.
She has 10 years of experience in the field of addiction treatment and mental health and has written content for some of the country’s most prominent treatment centers and behavioral hospitals. Through her writing, Michelle is proud to continually raise awareness about the disease of addiction and share hope for the future. She lives next to the ocean in Massachusetts with her husband, two young children, and faithful dog. The largest percentage of alcoholics fall into this group, as NIAAA publishes that 31.5 percent of all alcoholics in the United States fit this subtype. This group is typically in their late teens or early 20s, and either just of legal drinking age or slightly younger.
Why Is Alcoholism Typology Important?
The presence of any two symptoms within a one-year period can result in a diagnosis of alcohol addiction. As previously mentioned, however, there are multiple types of alcoholic subtypes. The following checklists for each type can help you determine which subtype you might fall into. This subtype of alcoholics is typically middle-aged, well-educated, and may seem to have it all “together” on the outside. They are likely types of alcoholics have a steady job, a seemingly stable family life, and do not often fit into the traditional stereotype of an alcoholic. Over 6 percent of American adults battled an alcohol use disorder in 2015, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism publishes. Less than 10 percent of adults in the United States who struggled with alcoholism in 2015 received professional treatment for the disease, NIAAA further reports.
An example of a functional alcoholic is an individual who is able to maintain a certain level of personal and professional success, but likely has an underlying struggle with irresistible cravings brought by alcohol use disorder. In developmentally cumulative alcoholism, drinking initially is limited and induced by cultural influences.
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we’re here to help. Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They’ll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free. And maybe, just maybe, all of this has got you wondering, Am I an alcoholic? You’ve already gotten further along than many alcoholics simply by considering this possibility. But despite just how “normal” these individuals appear to be, the truth is that a high-functioning alcoholic, also known as an HFA, is in just as much danger of ruining their lives as any other kind of alcoholic. Northpoint Seattle’s outpatient treatment program is located in beautiful Seattle, Washington, and we work to help the surrounding communities.
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Subtypes of this category include schizoid, schizophrenic, and syphilitic alcoholics. Primary or “true” alcoholics are characterized by their immediate liking for alcohol’s effects, the rapid development of an uncontrollable need for alcohol, and their inability to abstain. In contrast, alcohol dependence in the remaining subtypes, which collectively are called secondary addicts, develops in the course of prolonged drinking. In 1893 Kerr, who also was an honorary member of the American association, published the influential textbook Inebriety and Narcomania, which divided inebriates into two groups, periodic and habitual . Periodic inebriety is characterized by intense drinking or craving for alcohol interspersed with periods of abstinence.
Treatments for a Functioning Alcoholic Subtype
Only 9% have a college degree, and they also have the lowest employment rate. Only 43% of chronic severe alcoholics are employed full-time and 7.6% are unemployed or permanently disabled. Researchers foundthat about 62% of functional alcoholics work full-time, 3.6% are in school full-time, and 5% are retired. Nearly 26% have a college degree or higher, and the average household income is almost $60,000, the highest among any of the subtypes. Lastly, chronic severe type is the rarest type and includes people who had their first drink at around age 16 but do not become dependent on alcohol until around age 29.
This group also has the highest rates of other substance abuse disorders, including addiction to cigarettes, Marijuana, Meth, Cocaine, and Opioids. Babor and colleagues based their typology on the assumption that the heterogeneity among alcoholics is attributable to a complex interaction among genetic, biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors.
Types of Alcoholics, I: Evidence for an Empirically Derived Typology Based on Indicators of Vulnerability and Severity
While suffering repercussions in work and personal life is certainly a sign that alcohol abuse may have become an issue, this is not always the case. Most people think of an alcoholic as someone whose life is falling apart because of their alcohol use. But in fact, many individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder are known as functional alcoholics or high-functioning alcoholics. Other than the Young Adult Alcoholic, functional alcoholics are actually the least likely to seek out treatment than any other subtype.
- This detrimental exposure can create or aggravate existing mental health disorders like major depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.
- An alcoholic is diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder based on a specific set of criteria.
- Substances may include cigarettes, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and opioids.
- The individual case needs to be assessed by a professional as to the best treatment.
- They’re mostly middle-aged and have had a long history of drinking uncontrollably, usually beginning their pattern of abuse early in their life before their twenties.