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Types of Alcoholism: Creating
Awareness Around the Different Forms

When considering various types of alcoholism you can look at it from a couple of angles. The first one looks at it from the perspective of alcoholism being progressive, in that there are distinct Alcoholism Stages through which a person progresses or moves.

These go from early stage alcoholism where your tolerance to alcohol begins to increase – and finishes with end or late stage alcoholism which is characterised by a chronic loss of control, and where your life literally begins to fall apart because your alcoholism has gotten so bad.

New research by the NIAAA (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) in the US have also identified five types of alcohol addiction according to studies they have done.

Young Adults

Usually around 24, they become alcoholics by age 20 typically. Don’t tend to seek help for their problem. Drink less than the other types usually, but tend to binge drink mostly. Accounts for about 32% of alcoholics in the US and is the largest type.

Young Anti-Social

A large proportion in this category have an anti-social personality disorder. Started drinking typically by 15 and become alcoholics by 18. Also more likely to smoke marijuana and tobacco. Comprises around 21% of alcoholics.


Functional alcoholics are usually well educated, earn good incomes, and have pretty stable relationships. Drink every other day rather than daily mostly, and make up around 19% of US alcoholics.

Intermediate Familial

Also about 19% fall into this category. Many have a family members who are alcoholics. Usually started drinking by 17 and became alcoholic in 30’s.

Chronic Severe

This group accounts for about 9% of alcoholics and would pretty much match those falling into end/late stage alcoholism described earlier. These are mostly men, is characterised by high divorce rates and often includes use of illegal drugs.

Interestingly, but possibly not surprisingly, is how large a proportion of alcoholics are still quite young – more than 50%. Because the most common image we in all likelihood have of an alcoholic would be someone older who fits into the chronic severe category.

These results shows that more needs to be done to educate youth not only on the dangers of alcohol, but that alcoholism is a dangerous disease, and that the sooner proper help or Alcohol Addiction Treatment is received, the better.

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