The term “alcoholic” brings an image of a person who can’t function without alcohol. Alcoholics are different in their drinking and also personal characteristics. Many researchers have grouped them into different categories based on the differences. Such groups can make us understand more about alcoholism and addiction and improve the treatment and rehabilitation of the disease. It is essential to know that there is always no typical alcoholic person. Everyone has different circumstances. Some people even may not realize that they have a drinking problem.
Categories of Alcoholics
Although alcoholism is treated sometimes as a disorder, evidence shows that alcoholism differs in various ways, such as drinking patterns, genetic predisposition, dependence, and personality traits. All these differences have led to the development of the different alcoholic categories.
The Grouping System
The groups are mainly based on:
- The age of an individual
- When they started drinking
- When they became dependent on alcohol
- The family history of alcoholism
- The presence of co-occurring mental health
- A history of other abusive disorders
Here are the categories of alcoholics:
1. Young adult category
The young adult category is the biggest group. Young adults tend to start drinking alcohol at 18 years old or younger. Previous exposure to a close family member who drinks alcohol is the main precipitating factor that encourages high alcohol consumption at a young age. This will lead to their bodies developing alcohol dependence by the time they reach 24 years old. The groups have higher rates of history of family members with alcoholism, co-occurring mental conditions, and other substance abuse. Most of the members of this group do not have jobs and are in collages. The group will drink less frequently, but they will consume a lot of alcohol when they do. Most of them are men, and they will unlikely seek any treatment.
2. Functional category
The group is more functional, as its name suggests. This is the group in relationships and jobs. The group consists of middle-aged people around 41 years of age. Most of them will start drinking at a later age of about 28 and will develop a dependence on alcohol at around 37 years. Most members suffer from depression and low rates of other disorders. A small percentage of functional alcoholics start drinking at social gatherings but slowly slip into alcoholism. Some of the members are addicted to cigarettes and other substances. Of the total population, nearly 60% are men. They are, however, less likely to seek the help of their drinking problems. They are well educated and married.
3. Intermediate familial category
This group starts to drink from a younger age, as early as 17 years and develops dependence at around 32 years. This group is more likely to have a family member with a history of alcoholism. Also, there is a higher probability of suffering from depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. The group may also suffer from other substances addiction like marijuana or cocaine. Most of the members are male. They have full-time jobs and earn income. Most will not seek treatment, but those who seek will be rehabilitated.
4. Young antisocial category
The members tend to start drinking at an early age of 15 and develop dependency at 18 years. Most have personality disorders. They have high levels of bipolar disorder and depression. They also tend to be substance abusers, including marijuana, cigarettes, cocaine, and meth. This group attain the lowest scores in terms of education and employment. They drink less frequently but more at once. The group also will more likely seek help than the other groups.
5. Chronic severe category
The chronic severe category is the smallest group of all. The group begins to drink at the early age of 15 and develops dependence at around 29. Most of the group members have family members that have a history of alcoholism. Additionally, members have personality disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, and addiction to other substances. Such individuals are chronic alcohol users who can barely function without alcohol. Consequently, they experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms even after brief periods of being sober.
Chronic users will spend most of their time drunk or trying to get high. They often engage in harmful behaviour to get finance to get high. Most chronic users have negative impacts on their other aspects of life, and more often, their family members will seek help. If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, feel free to contact us at 302-842-2390. We are located in Wilmington, Delaware.