the different types of alcoholics

The Types of Alcoholics

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States, more than 85 percent of people aged 18 and older drink alcohol. And more than 25 percent of these people report abusing alcohol or binge drinking. Alcoholism is a substance abuse disorder that can cause issues for a person throughout life. 

Alcoholism comes with a host of short-term and long-term effects on the person abusing alcohol’s health. While many picture the homeless person sitting on a corner drinking out of a paper bag, when they hear alcoholic, many types aren’t always easy to spot. 

There are several different subtypes of alcoholics that may exist under the umbrella of alcoholism. This guide looks at the most common types of alcoholics so a person can understand whether or not they or someone they love is struggling. 

Young Adult Alcoholics

The young adult alcoholic is generally between the age of 19 to 25. Therefore, not all of them in this group are of legal drinking age. This group is actually the largest group of alcoholics at a little over 30 percent. 

Most of these alcoholics don’t have full-time jobs, and many of them are college students. Many of these young adults won’t view their drinking as a problem since most of their peers also spend a significant amount of time abusing alcohol. In many cases, this is seen as normal behavior. 

While some young adults can drink and stop whenever they want to, an alcoholic can’t. Many alcoholics in these groups won’t seek help, and their parents and friends might not realize they’re struggling with an addiction. Only a small portion of this group will have a family history of alcoholism, and only a handful will have a co-occurring disorder. 

Functional Alcoholics

Functional alcoholics begin drinking in their late teens but don’t develop a dependency on alcohol until later. These alcoholics go to work each day and hold down relationships.

Their alcohol consumption and dependency don’t stop them from appearing like many others in their peer groups. Many alcoholics won’t find themselves in legal or financial straits due to their drinking. 

In many cases, their family members don’t realize that they have a problem with drinking. Some loved ones may also be enabling them in some way. Some functional alcoholics have a family history of alcoholism. And around 25 percent of them struggle with depression or have it at one time.

Many alcoholics of this type might never realize they have a problem and seek help. When people from this group seek help, they might do so with a private therapist or a program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. However, they will experience the long and short-term health effects of alcoholism. 

Intermediate Familial Alcoholics

In most cases, the intermediate familial alcoholic comes from a family with multiple generations of alcoholics. These alcoholics are typically in middle age and make up less than 20 percent of all alcoholics.

Many of these alcoholics will smoke cigarettes and abuse other drugs, such as marijuana or cocaine. If they’re regularly using alcohol and other drugs, they might be addicted to the drugs and the alcohol.

Many of the people within this group struggle with a co-occurring disorder. It might be depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or others. Many of them display frequent anti-social behaviors. Alcoholics in this group tend to be educated and have full-time jobs, although many aren’t high-paid positions. 

More than 60 percent of the people within this group are male. When people within the group seek support and help to recover, they’ll need to be treated for all their addictions and dual diagnosis mental health conditions. 

Young Antisocial Alcoholics

Characterized as having an antisocial personality disorder, the young antisocial alcoholic is the group that began drinking at the youngest age, around 15 years old, and developed a dependency around as young as 18. Many of these young alcoholics have a family history of alcoholism.

What starts as binge drinking develops into a full-blown addiction. This group of alcoholics is almost always struggling with a co-occurring disorder. These disorders may include depression, anxiety, or antisocial personality disorder.

Many of these young people struggle with addiction to other drugs. Cigarettes are almost always used, but many use marijuana, meth, opioids, or cocaine. 

Almost 75 percent of young antisocial alcoholics are males. Only around a third of this group will ever try to seek treatment for alcoholism or mental health issues. 

Chronic Severe Alcoholics

The chronic severe alcoholic is the smallest group among alcoholics at less than 10 percent. While many of these people begin drinking around the age of 15, most of them don’t develop a dependency on alcohol until around their mid-30s. 

More than three-quarters of this group have alcoholism within their family history. While a little less than half struggle with an antisocial personality disorder. This group has the highest percentage of members who struggle with a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety. 

Members of this group also tend to use and abuse other drugs, such as cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, and opioids. This group is more likely to be poorly educated and struggle to maintain employment. They’re also the group most likely to seek help with their addiction. 

Treatment for Alcoholism

Treatment options are available for people struggling with alcohol use disorder or alcoholism to help the recovery process. People dependent on alcohol may need a medical detox to manage withdrawal symptoms. Those interested in treatment may receive inpatient or outpatient treatment, depending on the severity of their condition. 

Someone who believes they may be struggling with a subtype of alcoholism should consult their medical provider. A professional can help guide the person to the appropriate treatment for their needs. 

Partner With New Method Wellness for Recovery

When a person recognizes themselves or a loved one as one of these types of alcoholics, it’s essential that they seek treatment. Help is available, and the person struggling with alcohol addiction can make a full recovery and live a sober lifestyle. To recover, the person must have a strong support system. 

At New Method Wellness, we can help any type of alcoholic sober up. We work with alcoholics to develop the tools to remain sober for a lifetime. We provide the care, compassion, and therapy that someone struggling with addiction needs to turn their life around. 

Contact us today to learn more.

It’s Time For A New Method


  • Contacting for:
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

+1 (866) 951-1824