man sitting and drinking alcohol by himself

Types of Alcoholics The Five Subtypes of Alcohol Addiction You Should Know

The disease of alcohol addiction affects millions of individuals across the globe. These people are affected by alcohol in various ways, and develop alcohol abuse problems for numerous reasons. Some people are chronic drinkers and have experienced negative effects in their life, relationships and careers. Others drinking habits lead to high-risk behaviours like binge drinking, whilst some are better at hiding it.

We often think of alcoholics as one and the same. However, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), there are five types of alcoholics. Understanding the behavioural characteristics of certain types of alcoholics provides key information concerning treatment options.

Young Adult Subtype

The young adult subtype is the most predominant subtype, which categorises people from the age of 18 to 25. The average age of an individual who develops alcohol addiction in this group is around 20 years old. These types of alcoholics tend to drink less regularly than other groups, but binge drink whenever they do drink. The average maximum amounts of drinks that they have on drinking days are 14.

Young adults are at the age where they start to become independent from their parents and are able to make their own decisions. Their peers are also going through the same thing and are looking to have fun, which often includes heavy drinking. Peer pressure is severe at this age and many people find it difficult to fight.

Perhaps the saddest thing about these types of alcoholics is that they are the least likely to get treatment. Many do not think that they have a problem or realise the gravity of their problem. Consequently, many stories of alcohol addiction start here.

Young Antisocial Subtype

Young adults with antisocial personality disorders vary from the previously mentioned subtype in several ways. This subtype is frequently paired with mental health issues outside of antisocial personality disorder. Yet, an interesting fact about this type is that one-third of them seek treatment, which could be due to the severe issues caused by their antisocial personality.

Individuals with antisocial personality disorder tend to develop alcohol problems because of the irresponsible way in which they go about their lives. It is more difficult to treat this type of co-occuring disorders because it cannot be cured. However, it can be managed through educational treatments and behavioural changes.

Functional Subtype

Alcohol addiction can appear to be less severe in some people than others, such as with functional alcoholics. Functional alcoholics seem to be able to manage their addiction, even though it is just as much of a problem. These types of alcoholics usually develop during middle age, which can be due to more spare time (after retiring or children moving away from home) or the subduing of their formerly wilder drinking habits.

Only 25 percent of functional alcoholics suffered from former drinking problems, with another 25 percent suffering from clinical depression. Alcohol addiction in the family is also often an issue with this subtype.

Functional alcoholics go about their daily life in a normal manner, and come across as successful in all aspects of their life. Nonetheless, when they drink at the end of the day, they drink to excess. They often have managed to tame their binge drinking and think that only drinking five or more drinks per night is a decent compromise to their former patterns.

People with functional alcoholism are seriously damaging their bodies and setting an example of problematic drinking that could impact their family. Some functional alcoholics use alcohol to self-medicate other issues. It is more difficult to recover from this form of alcohol addiction since most functional alcoholics do not realise that they have a problem.

Intermediate Familial Subtype

Individuals with alcohol addiction in their family history tend to suffer from an intermediate familial subtype. There are usually a handful of causes for this subtype. Firstly, when a person is raised in a heavy drinking culture, they tend to imitate it. It exhibits the behavioural patterns that they are familiar with, and they may follow in their family member’s footsteps regardless of the consequences.

For others, addiction may be genetically predisposed, such as if the body’s chemistry inherently leads to addiction. This can make it very difficult for these people to quit, particularly if they use their family history as an excuse for their behaviour and do not attempt to change it.

People in this category may also suffer from mental health problems, since over 50 percent of people in this subtype suffer from clinical depression, with bipolar disorder making up another 20 percent. In order to break free from this subtype, they must understand that they are not destined to become alcoholics simply because it exists in their family history.

While it can be difficult to escape this intricate interaction, such as by distancing themselves from alcoholic family members, it is achievable.

Chronic Severe Subtype

Chronic severe is the most problematic subtype. Individuals in this category usually drink daily, and to excess. Their dependency has probably caused numerous health and social issues that have ruined their lives, but they still keep drinking.

These people experience high levels of physical addiction, which causes them to experience withdrawal symptoms if they change their drinking patterns. Chronic severe alcoholism also tends to transpire in people with dual diagnosis symptoms more than any other subtype, which describes the presence of alcohol addiction with one or more mental health issues (like bipolar disorder or depression).

The benefit of a person being in this category is that their addiction is evident and disturbing enough for them to seek help. Two-thirds of the people who come under this subtype end up seeking to treat for their alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at The Dawn Rehab Thailand

Private and group counselling You can start your treatment programme as soon as you finish detoxing – if detox was necessary in the first place. Private counselling plays a significant role in recovery at an alcohol and drug rehab centre. It is non-judgemental and helps you dig deep, dissect the reasons behind your behaviours, instil a sense of optimism and hope, achieve sobriety, and learn techniques to cope with temptations, triggers, and stressful situations after you return home. Substance abuse and recovery can be excruciating alone. Research shows that group counselling is equally as effective as individual counselling. Indeed, for many people, it’s one of the most useful aspects of their treatment, tapping into our natural desire to congregate, share common experiences, and bond with those around us. Group therapy sessions are an opportunity for self-expression, positive peer reinforcement, and healthy new relationships. They offer insights, ideas, accountability, and motivation that may not have been possible in private sessions alone. Individual and group counselling used together offers a well-rounded therapeutic tool for treating addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. What types of therapy are offered? Let’s look at a few of the many different kinds of therapy offered by an alcohol and drug rehab centre. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) CBT and MBCT are talking therapies. CBT and MBCT counselling help addicts realise connections between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. These therapies are used in the majority of rehab centres because they are highly effective at aiding recovery and preventing relapse. With CBT and MBCT, addicts can finally understand the reasons behind their substance abuse making it much easier to overcome addiction. With guidance from a trained counsellor, you will hone in on the negative thoughts and behaviours associated with your craving triggers such as pressure at work, time with particular friends, or simply feeling tired, hungry, or lonely. You will be able to recognise environments and circumstances that lead to substance abuse, learn how to avoid and remove yourself from triggers, and use specific techniques to cope without turning to drugs or alcohol. After identifying negative situations and behaviours, your therapist will help you list objective evidence to support or disprove your negative thoughts. Then, you will develop new responses to those triggers. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Stress increases the likeliness of substance abuse. MBSR soothes stress with meditation, body awareness, and yoga. It also helps you untangle the unconscious interactions between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Ultimately, MBSR drives a conscious wedge between cravings and actual drug or alcohol use. The 12 step of AA The 12 Step Philosophy was introduced in the 1930as and is still widely used today. Following the twelve steps means admitting you have a problem beyond your control, turning to God as you understand him, conducting a moral inventory of self and admitting to any wrongs, asking God for assistance and allowing his help, making amends with people you have wronged, praying, meditation, and finally, awakening spiritually. Research suggests that 12 Step Philosophy is especially effective for patients with a strong support network and this includes local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings back home. Family Therapy When your family or partner attend therapy they can learn more about their role in your life, how to help you gain awareness of your behaviours, and devise ways to bolster the entire family unit. They can improve their own mental wellbeing, open up new lines of communication, and understand and avoid enabling behaviours. They can even become part of your relapse prevention plan and help halt the spread of substance abuse in your family. Addiction can impact your family and friends. In many cases, dysfunctional relationships can contribute to and perpetuate addiction. It is unsurprising that addiction is often referred to as a family disease. Family Therapy considers a person’s drug problems in light of their family interactions. It explores dynamics that may affect behaviours and contribute to drug or alcohol abuse. Relapse Prevention: avoid addiction rehab Relapse Prevention is something all good alcohol and drug rehab centres incorporate into their treatment programmes. It redefines recovery into something transitional and positive, and provides individuals with the skills necessary to maintain new, healthy long-term behaviours. Relapse is a legitimate concern for anyone who checks in to rehab. Choosing alternative ways to handle stress is challenging when you used to rely on substances. There are ways to reduce the risk of falling victim to drug or alcohol abuse again, though. During your therapy sessions, you and your counsellor will identify potential relapse triggers and high-risk situations. Then, you will be equipped with a range of coping mechanisms and exit strategies, develop your self-confidence, and learn to handle any falls from grace as a learning experience instead of failure. Additionally, you will learn how to assess a situation, identify negative thoughts and behaviours, and confront those thoughts and behaviours with objective logic. This kind of reasoning can be a powerful tool when battling temptation to indulge in drugs or alcohol. Sober Living Houses: life after rehab Sober Houses are a key step after successful completion of a treatment programme. They are a safe bridge between structured life in rehab and the real world. You are free to make your own decisions, use the techniques you learned during your treatment programme, and gradually shift into normal life in a safe, supportive environment. Clients in Sober Houses live together, support each other, and attend private and group therapy sessions. Local support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can be especially beneficial to Sober House residents. Outpatient Rehab: a good option for you? As an outpatient, you will live at home, continue attending to your various responsibilities, and visit the rehab clinic for counselling sessions, medication management, and relapse prevention therapy. Outpatient treatment usually costs less than inpatient treatment because you don’t have to pay for accommodation. Unfortunately, outpatients are still surrounded by the same old triggers, affected by the same stressful situations, and around the same people that influence negative behaviours. Researchers in Psychiatric Quarterly found that outpatients were four times more likely to fail their treatment programmes compared to inpatients. Outpatient treatment requires a commute and weekly commitment of up to 20 hours for two to four months, whereas inpatient treatment is usually one month. Outpatient is an option worth considering for motivated, high-functioning addicts who want to save money, take more control over their recovery, and can dedicate up to four months to their treatment.

Understanding the different types of alcoholics can help you get a better idea of how you can get the help you need to recover from your alcohol addiction. Seeking treatment is the most important thing you can do to improve your life.

The Dawn Medical Rehab and Wellness Centre is a reputable alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre that offers highly-personalised and intensive treatment. Contact The Dawn today to receive a no-obligation assessment and find out what help is available.

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