There is a stereotype in America about what a typical alcoholic looks like. However, studies from the  National Institute of Health (NIH), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) put that belief to rest. These organizations conducted a national, clinical study originating from numerous studies on alcoholics. The study found that there are five subtypes of alcoholics:

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

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

Young Adult Subtype

This group tends to begin drinking at an early age (around 19) and also develops an alcohol dependence early (around 24). The young adult subtype is less likely to have a full-time job but is more likely to be in college than other groups. This subtype drinks less frequently than others but is very likely to engage in binge drinking when they do. Members of this group are 2.5 times more likely to be male than female. 

Young Antisocial Subtype

This group of drinkers tends to start drinking at the youngest age (around 15) and also develop alcohol dependence at the earliest age (around 18). They also have high rates of depression, bipolar disorder, social phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This group also has the highest rates of other substance abuse disorders, including addiction to cigarettes, marijuana, meth, cocaine, and opioids. 

This group has the lowest levels of education, employment, and income of any group. This group also drinks more at one time and more overall than another group, although they drink slightly less frequently than the. On the other hand, this group is more likely to seek help than almost any other, with 35% having sought out some form of assistance in overcoming alcoholism. 

Functional Subtype

Making up 19.5% of alcoholics, this is the group that is holding down jobs and relationships. This group suffers from moderate rates of depression, but lower rates of most other co-occurring disorders. They have the highest education levels and income of all types of 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.

Intermediate Familial Subtype

This group tends to start drinking younger (around 17) and also develops an alcohol dependence earlier (around 32). This subgroup is very likely to have had immediate family members with alcoholism. They also have a high chance of suffering from an antisocial personality disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder. This group also suffers from high rates of marijuana, cigarette, and cocaine addiction.

Chronic Severe Subtype

This group normally begins drinking at a young age (around 15) but typically develops an alcohol dependence at an intermediate age (around 29). 77% of this group have close family members with alcoholism, the highest percentage of any subtype. 47% of the members of this group exhibit antisocial personality disorder, the second-highest rate of any subtype. This group also is very likely to experience addiction to cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, and opioids.

At Asana Recovery, we understand how difficult recovering from these addictions through our daily work to help those struggling most from this disease. Counseling and aftercare processes can assist you by addressing the psychological facets that led you to addiction and help you build a structure from which to better cope with life without succumbing to addiction.

We’re deeply committed to ensuring your long-term recovery and guiding you on your path to a healthier and happier future. There is no better time than now, and we’re always available to speak with you. Call us at (949) 438-4504 to learn more about our comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment program today.


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