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Many young adult alcoholics are likely college students who are away from home for the first time, and who are surrounded by a culture that promotes and encourages excessive social drinking. Nearly 50 percent of intermediate familial alcoholics 5 types of alcoholics have a family history of alcoholism. Nearly 19 percent of alcoholics in the U.S. fall into the intermediate familial category. Most are middle-aged, began drinking at about 17 and were addicted to alcohol by their early 30s.

  • Similar to the young adult subtype, they are also unlikely to seek help for their drinking.
  • They also suffer from high rates of cigarette, cocaine, and marijuana addiction.
  • The intermediate familial alcoholic is a complex and challenging condition that requires specialized treatment.
  • The physical feature of these alcohols primarily depends on their structure.
  • Most functional alcoholics are middle-aged (around 41) who started drinking around age 18.
  • About 66 percent of chronic severe alcoholics seek treatment for their alcohol dependence.

Nearly one-third of all alcoholics fit into the young adult alcoholic subtype. If you’re dealing with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and need help to stay sober, reach out to an addiction specialist to help get the treatment you need. There’s no one way to describe a ‘typical alcoholic’ since alcoholism develops differently from person to person. However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) performed a study to categorize different alcoholics to note their similarities.

The Typology of Alcoholism

Beta alcoholics usually suffer from liver damage and nutritional deficiency, and may frequently experience blackouts due to severe intoxication. Unlike alpha alcoholism, beta alcoholism does not involve psychological or physical dependence. This group has the lowest levels of education, employment, and income of any group. This group also drinks more at once and more overall than other groups, although they drink slightly less frequently. On the other hand, this group is more likely to seek help than almost any other; 35% sought out some form of assistance in overcoming alcoholism. This group has the highest rate of seeking treatment from a private health care provider but also often choose self-help groups, specialty treatment programs, and detox programs.

  • Until the 1960’s, typology theory—including Jellinek’s work—was guided primarily by armchair intuition and clinical observation.
  • Don’t let the facade of “functionality” fool you – alcoholism is a disease that requires professional attention and care.
  • In discussing the general causes and conditions favoring inebriety, Crothers (1911) also classified alcoholism as either acquired or hereditary.
  • Generally, these individuals started drinking at a young age, though they are now middle-aged or older and often struggle with antisocial personality disorder and/or trouble with the law.

Jellinek considers both the gamma and delta types of alcoholism as diseases as they both involve alcohol tolerance, physiological dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Delta alcoholics are easily influenced by sociocultural and economic factors like peer pressure and low alcohol prices. This makes it the most common type of alcoholism in wine-drinking countries, where people are somewhat “expected” to drink as part of their culture.

The Importance of Identifying Different Types of Alcoholics

It’s not a one-size-fits-all journey but a human experience marked by diverse struggles and triumphs. Several factors contribute to the development and progression of alcoholism within the Intermediate Familial Subtype. Several factors contribute to the development and maintenance of functional alcoholism. These factors can include genetic predisposition, environmental influences, and psychological factors.

This pattern of alcohol use is more likely to be hazardous than non-binging patterns. NIAAA reports on a national survey that found that 60 percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 drank alcohol in the past month, and nearly two out of every three of these students binge drank during that month. Binge drinking is a pattern of excessive alcohol use that increases the risk for developing tolerance and then physical dependence on alcohol that can then lead to addiction. According to NIAAA, around 20 percent of college students struggle with alcohol addiction. But they started drinking much earlier than young adult alcoholics — usually by the age of 15 or 16.

Factors that Contribute to Functional Alcoholism

They may also have a family history of alcoholism and exhibit severe withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit drinking. Researchers have defined five types of alcoholics based on their age, drinking habits, reasons for this, presence of other mental health disorders, and their family’s history with alcoholism (4). Identifying different types of alcoholics is crucial for tailoring effective treatment approaches and interventions. Not all individuals struggling with alcoholism experience the same patterns of behavior or respond to treatment in the same way. By recognizing the distinct subtypes of alcoholics, healthcare professionals and caregivers can provide targeted support that addresses the unique needs of each individual.

They drink more heavily than any other type of alcoholic, consuming alcohol 248 days of the year on average and drinking five or more drinks 69 percent of the time. When they do seek treatment, they’re more likely to attend a 12-step group or seek treatment from private health care professionals. The good news is they’re more likely to seek treatment than those in other groups at 66%. They are also the most likely to participate in detox programs at inpatient treatment centers with private health care providers. In the U.S., the intermediate familial alcoholic subtype comprises 19% of all alcoholics.

This research helped scientists identify several different types of alcoholics. Understanding these categories provides more insight into alcohol addiction and the effective treatment options for people suffering from alcohol use disorder (AUD). Jellinek’s new typology still closely resembled the earlier Bowman-Jellinek synthesis. For example, prevention programs can target young people exposed to genetic or environmental influences that may lead to alcoholism.

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