What Are The Subtypes of Alcoholics?

When this happens, alcohol becomes the most important thing in your life. Excessive alcohol use can make it harder for your body to resist disease, increasing your risk of various illnesses, especially pneumonia. Excessive drinking can affect eco sober house cost your nervous system, causing numbness and pain in your hands and feet, disordered thinking, dementia, and short-term memory loss. Alcohol interferes with the release of glucose from your liver and can increase the risk of low blood sugar .

Many people who consume unhealthy amounts of alcohol deny that alcohol poses a problem for them. Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin is a blood test that helps detect heavy alcohol consumption. If a blood test reveals that the red blood cells have increased in size, it could be an indication of long-term alcohol misuse. Dopamine levels may make the drinking experience more gratifying. A person who drinks excessive amounts of alcohol will often not be the first person to realize that this is so. This subtype of alcoholics is typically middle-aged, well-educated, and may seem to have it all “together” on the outside.


If you areready to discuss treatment, our admissions navigators are available 24/7 to speak with you today. Moderate alcohol consumption is drinking one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Drinking more than this on a daily basis indicates a potential alcohol use disorder. While many people may use the term “alcoholic” to describe someone who has an alcohol addiction, the term is offensive and outdated. It’s more appropriate to say “a person with alcohol use disorder” or “substance use disorder.” Following a description of the term “alcoholic,” this article will use the more appropriate terminology. Co-occurring disorders are optimally treated with an integrated program that can help to manage both disorders at the same time.

Before it becomes problematic, why do people turn to alcohol in the first place? One is simply its rewarding consequences, such as having fun or escaping social anxiety. Having an impulsive personality plays into the decision to seek rewards despite negative repercussions. Another factor is stress, because alcohol can alleviate distressing emotions. Social norms, such as drinking during a happy hour or on a college campus, and positive experiences with alcohol in the past play a role as well. Learn about what alcohol withdrawal syndrome is, the symptoms, treatments, and who’s most likely to experience it.

Mental Health

Addiction has many complications that work together to impact a person with the disease and the people around them. Alcoholism, now known as alcohol use disorder, is a condition in which a person has a desire or physical need to consume alcohol, even though it has a negative impact on their life. The presence of any two symptoms within a one-year period can result in a diagnosis of alcohol addiction. As previously mentioned, however, there are multiple types of alcoholic subtypes. The following checklists for each type can help you determine which subtype you might fall into.

  • As of 2015 in the United States, about 17 million (7%) of adults and 0.7 million (2.8%) of those age 12 to 17 years of age are affected.
  • It helps distinguish a diagnosis of alcohol dependence from one of heavy alcohol use.
  • Treatment for addiction takes many forms and depends on the needs of the individual.
  • Binge drinking is the most common form of excessive drinking.

About two-thirds of chronic severe alcoholics get help for their drinking. People who fall into the young adult alcoholic subtype also rarely have a family history of alcoholism. Alcoholism is considered to be a heritable disease, as NIAAA reports that genetics can account for about half of the risk for developing the disease. The flip side of this coin, however, is that environmental and other factors make up the other half of the risks for the onset of addiction. 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.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that 17 million American adults have alcohol use disorders. Another 855,000 Americans ages 12 to 17 years old have alcohol use disorders. It’s important to remember that alcoholism isn’t created overnight. As the disease progresses to the middle stage, drinking continues to increase and dependency develops. Strong cravings for alcohol are typical at this stage, and drinking isn’t just for enjoyment anymore. Because the body has adapted to deal with an alcohol-rich environment, the alcoholic physically needs it to avoid the painful symptoms of withdrawal.

What’s the outlook for a person with alcohol use disorder?

In addition to ongoing mental health support, enhancing an individual’s “recovery resources” is also important. Providing education, job training and employment connections, supportive housing, physical activity, and social integration in families and the community can all help individuals stay in remission. Research in animals shows that having more self-determination and control over one’s environment can help facilitate adaptive brain changes after ending substance use. A few empirically validated practices can help identify strong treatment programs. Treatment centers should ideally have rigorous and reliable screening for substance use disorders and related conditions. They should have an integrated treatment approach that addresses other mental and physical health conditions.

If someone is showing these signs, letting them sleep off the alcohol, or giving them a cup of coffee is not a guaranteed solution, and can actually be dangerous. Alcohol is a progressive disease, and often a person with AUD may not realize that the disease needs to be treated and managed, but that sobriety is an option. More than 400,000 children from ages twelve to seventeen reported that they consumed enough alcohol to meet the diagnostic symptoms of an AUD. About 5.8 percent of adults met the criteria for an AUD diagnosis, which is roughly more than 14 million people. In 2018, over eighty-five percent of adult Americans admitted to drinking at some point, with over half stating they had drank within the last 30 days.

Alcohol dependence also means that you have developed a tolerance to drinking. As a result, you may have to drink larger quantities to get “buzzed” or drunk. Knowing the signs and symptoms of each stage can aid you in seeking help before your problem turns into dependence and addiction. But when alcohol consumption gets out of control, you may find yourself on a dangerous path toward addiction. Cirrhosis can cause a host of other health problems, including high blood pressure, which can lead to the development of enlarged veins in the esophagus called esophageal varices.

Cessation of alcohol intake

You will also find information on spotting the signs and symptoms of substance use and hotlines for immediate assistance. Harmful pattern of use of alcohol – “A pattern of alcohol use that has caused damage to a person’s physical or mental health or has resulted in behaviour leading to harm to the health of others ….” The fourth stage can be detrimental, as Johnson cites it as a risk for premature death. As a person now drinks to feel normal, they block out the feelings of overwhelming guilt, remorse, anxiety, and shame they experience when sober. Outpatient treatment may be an option if there is no need for intensive medical detox and withdrawal management or otherwise for people with strong systems of support, less severe addictions, and fewer addiction-related issues.


Additionally, the person is likely to be unable to manage, stop or reduce alcohol consumption. Increased alcohol tolerance; however, a metabolic problem such as liver damage might prevent increased alcohol tolerance. Serious brain damage and disorders like Wernicke–Korsakoff Syndrome, which leads to confusion, impaired optic nerve function, profound movement deficits, and problems with memory recall and consolidation. Alcohol abuse disorder refers to a long-term addiction to alcohol. You are likely to also suffer from antisocial personality disorder.

Topiramate is a derivative of the naturally occurring sugar monosaccharide D-fructose. Review articles characterize topiramate as showing “encouraging”, “promising”, “efficacious”, and “insufficient” results in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. Alcohol dependence – alcohol abuse combined with tolerance, withdrawal, and an uncontrollable drive to drink. The term “alcoholism” was split into “alcohol abuse” and “alcohol dependence” in 1980’s DSM-III, and in 1987’s DSM-III-R behavioral symptoms were moved from “abuse” to “dependence”. Some scholars suggested that DSM-5 merges alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence into a single new entry, named “alcohol-use disorder”. The World Health Organization has estimated that as of 2016, there were 380 million people with alcoholism worldwide (5.1% of the population over 15 years of age).

Having help and support while starting this journey is very important. Contact our addiction specialists today and let them help navigate you through this process. There are a number of treatment options for AUD, and depending on the level of addiction and the desired intensity of the treatment.

Alcohol dependence can take from a few years to several decades to develop. For some people who are particularly vulnerable, it can happen within months. You are likely to seek help for your drinking and may have already been through a treatment program. You come from a home where a close family member probably struggled with alcoholism. You may also struggle with clinical depression and possibly with bipolar disorder. You are likely to have a close family member who struggles with alcoholism.

Impact on your health

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies. Signs You Have a Drinking Problem If you or someone close to you has a drinking… Drinking alcohol can have a negative impact on blood sugar… If you’re unsure whether you have a drinking problem or not, you’re not alone.

These physiological changes contribute to the increasing tolerance seen in early-stage https://sober-home.org/s. Despite heavy alcohol consumption, they may show few signs of intoxication or ill effects from drinking, such as a hangover. And as tolerance builds, they’ll begin to drink more and more to achieve the same buzz or high they’re used to. Heavy alcohol use means consuming large amounts of alcohol in one day. The NIAAA considers heavy alcohol use to be 4 drinks for men and 3 drinks for women a day.

  • Becoming dependent on alcohol can lead to challenges for both the mind and the body.
  • This results in reproductive dysfunction such as anovulation, decreased ovarian mass, problems or irregularity of the menstrual cycle, and early menopause.
  • Binge drinking and heavy alcohol use are the two most significant risk factors for developing AUD.
  • Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates.
  • Some signs and symptoms of alcohol misuse may be due to another condition.

Despite efforts to hide their addiction, their drinking problem is quite obvious to others. Work performance usually suffers at this stage, and impairment in the workplace is common. Middle-stage alcoholics may become irritable or angry if confronted about their drinking. Mood swings, depression and feelings of guilt and shame are common. The early or adaptive stage of alcoholism marks the beginning of an alcoholic’s struggle with addiction.

Research clearly shows that everyone’s personality traits shift over the years, often for the better. But who we end up becoming and how much we like that person are more in our control than we tend to think they are. Add alcoholic to one of your lists below, or create a new one.

Doing this in advance will allow time for both people to process the discussion and set clear expectations. Heavy drinking can fuel changes in the brain—about half of people who meet the criteria for alcoholism show problems with thinking or memory, research suggests. The ability to plan ahead, learn and hold information , withhold responses as needed, and work with spatial information can be affected. Brain structures can shift as well, particularly in the frontal lobes, which are key for planning, making decisions, and regulating emotions. But many people in recovery show improvements in memory and concentration, even within the first month of sobriety.

Risks Associated With Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol impacts brain chemistry, and regular exposure to the mind-altering substance may actually change the way the brain’s circuitry works. An individual may then suffer from cravings and withdrawal symptoms when alcohol isn’t active in the bloodstream, encouraging the person to drink more to feel better. Long-term, excessive alcohol use has been linked to a higher risk of many cancers, including mouth, throat, liver, esophagus, colon and breast cancers. Even moderate drinking can increase the risk of breast cancer.

But as the disease progresses, it follows a treacherous path of destruction and misery. By the time they reach the end stage of the disease, alcoholics are shadows of their former selves with potentially fatal health problems. Severe acute withdrawal symptoms such as delirium tremens and seizures rarely occur after 1-week post cessation of alcohol.

Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol. It is important to understand that the younger a person is when first exposed to alcohol, the more likely they are to develop an AUD. The criteria for an alcohol use disorder is outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The fixation on alcohol may appear strange to someone who isn’t dependent on alcohol.

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