man sitting with drink in hand

Alcohol Treatment Center | The 5 Subtypes of Alcoholics

Until recently many people believed that “all alcoholics are alike and need the same treatment”, this myth has recently been dispelled by data produced by the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). The study set out to better understand alcohol dependency and included questions on family history of alcoholism, personality, and other substance abuse. The data produced by the NESARC (the largest alcohol and drug study done in the USA) suggests that there are many different types of alcohol dependencies and that there should be different types of treatment to suit each type of dependency. Chen, Moss, and Yi using the data from the NESARC Wave One published a paper in 2007 in which they analyzed the data and found that there were 5 distinct types of alcohol dependence. They also found that young adults account for more than half of people suffering from alcohol addiction in the USA.


1. Young Adult

The young adult sub-type accounts for more than 32% of all alcoholics in the US and is the largest sub-type. People who fall into this category are young adults who seldom seek help for their alcohol addiction. Usually people who fall into this category begin their addiction at the age of 20 and become fully addicted by the age of 24 years of age. Although young adults are known to consume less alcohol than people who fall into other sub-types they do tend to binge drink more frequently.

2. Young Antisocial

The young antisocial makes up about 2% of alcoholics living in the USA. People who fall into this category are around 26 years of age and more than half are known to suffer from some form of antisocial personality disorder. They are known to start drinking alcohol at 5 and become alcoholics by 18. They are most likely to smoke pot and/or tobacco. It is important to note that the young antisocial sub-type does not overlap with the young adult sub-type.

3. Functional Sub-type

People who fall into this sub-type account for about 19% of alcoholics in the USA. They are mostly middle-aged, working adults who more often than not have stable relationships. Data shows that people who fall into this category usually have a higher education and income than any other alcoholics in the study. Yet they are also found to consume alcohol on a daily basis, consuming more than five drinks on a given day.

4. Intermediate Familial Sub-type

People who fall into this sub-type make up 19% of alcoholics in the USA. Data shows that more than half have close relatives who suffer from an alcohol addiction. People in this category usually begin abusing alcohol at 17 and become alcoholics in their early 30’s.

5. Chronic Sever Sub-type

This is the rarest sub-type, accounting for only 9% of all US alcoholics. Studies show that this subtype is predominantly made up of men, includes the use of drugs, and has the highest divorce rate out of all the sub-types.

Moss notes that while some alcoholic sub-types may operate better than others, “in all cases, alcohol dependence must be viewed as a severe disease with a significant adverse impact on health and well-being.”

Seek Out an Alcohol Treatment Center:

Perhaps you suspect that you or a loved one might be suffering from an alcohol addiction, the question is what can you do to help yourself and your loved ones? Firstly, it is important to note that alcohol addiction is not something you can overcome in a month. Do not try beating your addiction by yourself as this can be dangerous for everyone involved. Rather seek out a reputable rehab center that can cater to all your needs.

Here at Beachside rehab we are a private drug and alcohol abuse treatment facility located in Florida. We go the extra mile for our patients by taking on a holistic approach to all our treatments, while still supporting the tested and proven 2-step program. Through utilizing the body, mind, and spiritual elements we provide a recovery program that suits the needs of each individual at our center. We recognize that each person is faced with a unique set of circumstances and that one program will not fit the needs of all. For this reason, in particular, we ensure that we provide specialized treatment for all our patients needs. We understand that no one addiction is the same and that each person requires a specialized treatment to best suits their needs.