Alcoholism comes in all shapes and sizes; there is no age limit for addiction, and professionals have identified five different types of alcoholics. Some of these subtypes are simply a testimony to the evolution of the disease. Others depict a stagnant situation for a person struggling with alcoholism.
Regardless of a person’s habits, it’s important to recognize that alcoholism isn’t as straightforward as many people make it seem. It involves an entire system of behaviors that can change drastically from person-to-person. This is why it’s important to recognize so many different types of alcoholics, and the different ways the disease impacts them.
When a person first starts to drink, they may do so in ways that are socially acceptable. Because of this, it can be extremely difficult to diagnose or identify the symptoms of the actual disease. Knowing that there are so many different types of alcoholism can put the stereotype to rest – it helps us better understand the way the disease develops, and the ways it can impact people.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recognizes young adult alcoholics as the largest subgroup there is—nearly 31.5 percent of alcoholics fall into this category. Every time you’ve ever heard of the stereotypical college frat party that involved a huge amount of booze, then you’ve heard about this subcategory of alcoholism.
Young adult and adolescent alcoholics usually start drinking in their mid to late teens and carry the behavior over into their 20s. A lot of this behavior is carried over from their initial experiments with drinking in their teens.
It’s almost always extreme binge drinking and it can lead to instances of alcohol poisoning and problems with impulse control. Many of these adolescent drinkers will have to decide whether to stop drinking at a young age or to carry their behaviors over into their more mature years.
This is really the chameleon of alcoholism. A functional alcoholic has the general appearance of being a successful and capable adult. They may take care of all of their obligations, have a higher level of education, take care of their children, and live a fairly normal family life. Behind all of this, they may take lunch breaks where they have a few drinks, have dinner dates where they continue the same behavior, and a number of nightcaps…