What Are the Different Kinds of Alcoholism?

When analyzing how alcoholics develop and function, multiple studies have identified a range of types of alcoholics. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) produces the most common study. This study identifies five types of alcoholism.

alcoholic asian man with a lot of beer bottles
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That said, there are all sorts of ways to go beyond what the 'average alcoholic' is. This is to better understand why someone drinks and what sort of treatment from addiction treatment centers may be appropriate.

Not every patient has the same reason for drinking. To recover from alcoholism, underlying causes must be carefully analyzed and addressed. Here are a few common types of alcoholism.

Young Adult Alcoholic

A young adult alcoholic is someone who begins drinking at an early age, such as 19 or before. He has developed dependence early, such as at age 24 or earlier.

This type of alcoholic is less likely to have a full-time job, unlikely to have ever been married, and drinks less frequently than other types of alcoholics but is more likely to binge drink when they do. They are unlikely to seek treatment from an addiction treatment center.

Functional Alcoholic

A functional alcoholic is a person with alcohol addiction who can still carry on relationships and work. Functional alcoholics are middle-aged. This group suffers from mild depression.

Many smoke cigarettes but have few other substances use disorders. They are not likely to report drinking issues and often have high education levels. They also lead successful lives. While they are functional, this type of alcoholic still has an addiction.

Intermediate Familial Alcoholic

An intermediate familial alcoholic is someone with a high likelihood of immediate family members who have alcoholism. They have a high probability of experiencing depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.

An intermediate familial alcoholic is likely to have a full-time job and be educated but is not as functional as a functional type of alcoholic. Many of these groups also suffer from high levels of cigarette smoking, cannabis use, or cocaine addiction. They should consult with an addiction treatment centre for help.

Young Antisocial Alcoholic

A young, antisocial alcoholic has traits of anti-social personality disorder. They have high rates of depression, bipolar disorder, social phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

A young antisocial alcoholic is also highly likely to have another substance abuse disorder, typically cigarettes, marijuana, meth, cocaine, or opioids. They have low levels of education, employment, and income.

Young antisocial alcoholics drink more at once and over time than any other type of alcoholic. However, they are more likely to seek help overcoming alcoholism.

Chronic Severe Alcoholic

A chronic severe alcoholic has close family members with alcoholism. They likely began drinking at a young age. They may suffer from other mental health and substance abuse problems.

Many in the chronic severe category drink large amounts of alcohol and for longer periods. They experience problems with drinking, have the highest rate of emergency room visits due to drinking and have the highest rates of divorce and separation.

Chronic severe alcoholics have sought help in the past for their issues. Unfortunately, they fail in most cases.

Alpha Alcoholic

This type of alcoholic drinks emotional alcohol, soothing themselves when sad or distressed. They can control the amount of alcohol they drink. However, they rely on alcohol to cope with emotional or physical stress.

Beta Alcoholic

A beta alcoholic does not have a psychological or physical dependence. They typically drink when encouraged, such as with work colleagues or on fun weekends. They're known for excessive drinking, which can lead to medical complications, and are more likely to experience blackouts due to excessive intoxication.

Gamma Alcoholic

A gamma alcoholic has a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. They cannot stop drinking. When they do stop drinking, withdrawal symptoms set in. It's a total inability to control drinking, often damaging personal relationships and straining professional responsibilities.

Delta Alcoholic

Delta alcoholics are easily influenced by peer pressure. They cannot skip a day without drinking but can control how much they drink. Delta alcoholics do not often present themselves as drunk. Their health declines slower, and delta alcoholics can hide addiction effects more quickly.

Epsilon Alcoholic

An epsilon alcoholic alternates between periods of abstinence and binge drinking. Episodic binges may not follow a pattern and have a direct influence. The intervals can last as long as years of abstinence, followed by mild to severe binge drinking periods.