Experts have identified five different categories of teen and adult alcoholics. Here we describe these types of alcohol abusers to help heavy drinkers and those close to those suffering understand the differences among demographics and level of functionality.
The Teenage or Young Adult Alcohol Abuser
Alcohol misuse is common among teens and young adults around college age. The average age among this group is 25, and alcoholic behavior tends to develop around age 20. Abusers in this category frequently engage in binge drinking and may experience health problems as a result. This is also the most common type of alcoholic at nearly one-third (31.5%.)
This category of users comprises more than 1 in 5 alcoholics – indeed, around 54% have antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) that is characterized by the following:
- Chronic criminal activity
- Regular fights/assaults
- Lack of regard for the safety and well-being of others
- Lack of remorse
- Lack of attendance to responsibilities
The Functional Alcohol Abuser
Functional alcoholics typically fall into the 30-50-year-old range and use alcohol nearly every day. However, they sustain enough normal functioning to continue working and keep up with family and daily life responsibilities. Among alcoholics, this group represents about 2 in 5. Some may be able to continue this level of functioning for years or indefinitely, but they often eventually succumb to their disorder and their level of functionality begins to suffer.
The Intermediate Familial Alcohol Abuser
Also, nearly 2 in 5 of persons with an alcohol use disorder fall into the category of intermediate familial alcoholic. The average age is nearing 40, and the onset of use often coincides with adolescence. People in this group frequently come from a family that has relatives with a history of alcoholism.
The Chronic/Severe Alcohol Abuser
Less than 1 in 10 heavy alcohol users fall into the severe or chronic type of alcoholic. While affecting the least amount of people, this group is also the most likely to suffer from a co-occurring mental illness such as depression or anxiety.