One of the tragedies in dealing with substance abuse is our stereotypical view of alcoholics. We tend to see alcoholics as skid-row drunks begging for the money to get a large-size can of beer. While this view is one tragic view of alcoholics, it’s hardly the whole picture. According to a study by Howard Moss at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, there are five, distinct subtypes of alcoholics.
The first is the young adult alcoholic subtype. You could call them the Partier. It is estimated that about 32% of alcoholics in the US fall under this category. They usually became alcoholics around the age of 20, and average 24 years in age. They rarely seek help, nor do they drink every day, but they’re more likely to binge drink than any other type of alcoholic. The second type of alcoholic is the young antisocial subtype. Call them the Loner. 21% of US alcoholics are loners. They average about 26 years old, but started drinking a lot younger – often by the age of 15. Over half of this subtype has antisocial personality disorder, are more likely to smoke tobacco and top. This is not an overlap with the Partier type.
Alcoholics Are All Around You
19% of US alcoholics fall under the functional subtype. This type is middle-aged, and the people in this subclass usually work, have stable relationships and often more education than other alcoholics. You could call them the Slow Steady Drinkers. They usually drink every day, consuming five or more drinks on each day they drink. The intermediate family subtype could be called the Family Drinker. This type of alcoholic comprises 19% of US alcoholics. Half of them have close relatives who are alcoholics, tend to start drinking in their late teens and are alcoholic by the time they’re in their early thirties. The Classic Drunk, also called the chronic severe subtype, is actually the rarest subtype. Only 9% of US alcoholics could be classified as such. This group is mostly male, has the highest divorce rate and is the most frequent user of illicit drugs.