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5 Types of Alcoholics

Howard Moss, MD, the associate director for clinical and translational research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) studied data from 1,484 U.S. adults who took part in a national survey conducted by the NIAAA from 2001 to 2002.The study focused on alcohol dependence and also included questions about personality, family history of alcoholism, and other substance use.

General Introduction
The researchers applied the survey's findings to the U.S. population. It is estimated that in the year before the study, nearly 8 million people in the U.S. met the standard for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence. They explain the five subtypes of alcoholics that they discovered as:

The Young Adult Subtype The Young Antisocial Subtype The Functional Subtype The Intermediate Familial Subtype The Chronic Severe Subtype

Percentage of U.S. Population


35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 The Young Adult Subtype The Young Antisocial Subtype The Functional Subtype The Intermediate Familial Subtype The Chronic Severe Subtype

Percentage of Population

32%

21%

19%

19%

9%

The Young Adult Subtype

They're young adults who rarely seek help for alcohol dependence. About 24 years old, they became alcoholics by age 20, on average. They drink less frequently than other alcoholics, but they tend to binge drink when they drink. This is the largest subtype.

The Young Antisocial Subtype

They are 26 years old, on average. More than half have antisocial personality disorder. They tended to start drinking at 15 and became alcoholics by 18. They are more likely to smoke tobacco and pot. The young antisocial subtype and the young adult subtype DO NOT overlap.

The Functional Subtype

They're generally middle-aged. They are working adults who tend to have stable relationships, more education, and higher incomes than other alcoholics. They tend to drink every other day, often consuming five or more drinks on drinking days.

The Intermediate Familial Subtype

Nearly half have close relatives who are alcoholics. Alcoholics in this subtype typically began drinking by 17 and became alcoholics in their early 30s.

The Chronic Severe Subtype

This subtype mainly includes men. This has the highest divorce rate. Also, frequently includes users of illicit drugs.

Conclusion
"When most people think of alcoholics, they think of middle-aged men with a profile similar to our chronic severe subtype," Moss said. "Our data shows that alcoholism is more a disorder of youth than previously suspected," he adds.

Moss warns that while some alcoholic subtypes may function better than others, "in all cases, alcohol dependence must be viewed as a severe disease with a significant adverse impact on health and well-being."

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