Most of us have the experience of drinking alcohol and getting tipsy. But many people don’t just consume it recreationally. They consume it as a necessity because they are addicted to it. But not every alcoholic is the same. So it is important to understand the types of alcoholics.
What are the different types of Alcoholics?
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating alcoholism, understanding the different types of alcoholics can help in developing effective treatment plans.
Number 1 – Young Adult Alcoholics
Young adult alcoholics typically start drinking in their late teens or early twenties. They tend to have less severe alcohol use disorders and are less likely to experience the withdrawal symptoms associated with heavy drinking. These individuals are often able to maintain a relatively normal life, with work and social relationships being impacted to a lesser extent.
Number 2 – Functional Alcoholics
Functional alcoholics are individuals who are able to maintain successful careers and relationships while drinking heavily. They may have a high tolerance for alcohol and can appear to function normally while under the influence. However, they are at risk of developing severe alcohol-related health problems and may experience negative consequences from their drinking.
Number 3 – Intermediate Familial Alcoholics
Intermediate familial alcoholics have a strong family history of alcoholism and may have a genetic predisposition to the disorder. They often start drinking at an early age and may experience negative consequences from their drinking. However, they are more likely to seek treatment and are often able to maintain abstinence once they have received help.
Number 4 – Chronic Severe Alcoholics
Chronic severe alcoholics are individuals who have been drinking heavily for many years and are often unable to stop drinking without medical intervention. They may experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to quit drinking, and are at risk of developing serious health problems. Chronic severe alcoholics often require long-term treatment and support to achieve sobriety.
Number 5 – Late Onset Alcoholics
Late-onset alcoholics are individuals who start drinking heavily later in life, typically after the age of 40. They may have experienced a major life event, such as a divorce or the loss of a loved one, which triggered their drinking. Late-onset alcoholics are often able to maintain a normal life for many years before experiencing negative consequences from their drinking.
It is important to note that these types of alcoholics are not mutually exclusive and that individuals can exhibit characteristics of more than one type. Additionally, alcoholism is a complex disorder that can present differently in different individuals. Therefore, treatment plans should be tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual.
Alcoholism is a complex disorder that is influenced by a variety of factors, including genetic, environmental, and behavioural factors. While there is no single cause of alcoholism, several factors can contribute to the development of the disorder.
One of the most significant factors in the development of alcoholism is genetics. Research has shown that certain genes may increase a person’s risk of developing alcoholism. For example, individuals who have a family history of alcoholism are more likely to develop the disorder than those who do not.
Environmental factors can also play a role in the development of alcoholism. Exposure to alcohol at an early age, a history of childhood trauma, and living in an environment where heavy drinking is normalized can all contribute to the development of the disorder.
Behavioural factors, such as patterns of drinking, can also contribute to the development of alcoholism. For example, binge drinking or drinking to cope with stress can increase a person’s risk of developing the disorder.
Additionally, social and cultural factors can also play a role in the development of alcoholism. For example, cultural norms that promote heavy drinking, peer pressure to drink, and easy access to alcohol can all contribute to the development of the disorder.
Why Do Alcoholics Enjoy Drinking?
Alcohol is a substance that is enjoyed by many people around the world. However, for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction, the reasons for enjoying drinking can be more complicated. Let’s explore some of the reasons why alcoholics enjoy drinking and the effects of alcohol on the brain and body.
One of the primary reasons why alcoholics enjoy drinking is the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure and reward. When individuals consume alcohol, dopamine is released in the brain, creating feelings of pleasure and euphoria. This reinforces the behaviour of drinking, leading to a cycle of continued alcohol consumption.
Alcohol can also act as a stress reliever for some individuals. When consumed, alcohol can produce a sedative effect that can help individuals feel more relaxed and calm. For individuals struggling with anxiety or stress, alcohol can provide temporary relief from these symptoms.
Alcohol is often consumed in social situations, such as parties or gatherings with friends. For individuals struggling with alcohol addiction, socialization can become a trigger for drinking. Alcohol can help individuals feel more sociable and outgoing, leading to increased enjoyment of social situations.
Alcohol can provide a temporary escape from reality for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. Drinking can create a sense of detachment from problems or stressors, allowing individuals to momentarily forget about their troubles. This escapism can become addictive for some individuals, leading to increased alcohol consumption.
Alcohol can also have physical effects on the body that some individuals find enjoyable. For example, alcohol can cause feelings of warmth and relaxation in the body, as well as a decreased sensation of pain. These physical effects can contribute to the enjoyment of drinking for some individuals.
However, while alcohol may provide temporary enjoyment and relief for individuals struggling with addiction, the long-term effects of alcohol use can be detrimental to physical and mental health. Chronic alcohol use can lead to a range of negative consequences, including liver damage, cognitive impairment, and an increased risk of mental health disorders.
Additionally, alcohol addiction can create a cycle of dependence and withdrawal, leading to a negative emotional state when not used. This can perpetuate the behaviour of drinking, leading to continued alcohol use and addiction.
What are the common Alcoholism Myths?
Many myths and misconceptions about alcoholism can prevent individuals from seeking treatment or understanding the true nature of the disorder. Here are some common alcoholism myths:
Myth 1: Alcoholism is a choice
One of the most persistent myths about alcoholism is that it is a choice and that individuals who struggle with alcohol addiction are simply lacking in willpower or moral character. However, alcoholism is a chronic disease that is influenced by a variety of factors, including genetic, environmental, and behavioural factors. While individuals may choose to drink alcohol, they do not choose to become addicted to it.
Myth 2: Only heavy drinkers can be alcoholics
Another common myth about alcoholism is that it only affects individuals who drink heavily or regularly. However, alcoholism can affect individuals who drink moderately but still struggle with dependence and addiction. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism define alcoholism as a “chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.”
Myth 3: Alcoholism only affects men
While men are more likely than women to develop alcoholism, the disorder can affect individuals of any gender or age. Women may be more susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol due to differences in body composition and metabolism. Additionally, women may be more likely to face stigma and barriers to treatment for alcoholism.
Myth 4: You can’t be an alcoholic if you can hold down a job or have a family
Functional alcoholism is a real phenomenon, in which individuals are able to maintain outward success while struggling with alcohol addiction. However, this does not mean that their addiction is any less serious or damaging. Functional alcoholism can create a false sense of security and prevent individuals from seeking help until the negative consequences of their addiction become too severe to ignore.
Myth 5: Quitting alcohol cold turkey is the best way to overcome alcoholism
Quitting alcohol suddenly without medical supervision can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Alcohol withdrawal can cause a range of symptoms, including seizures, hallucinations, and delirium tremens. It is important for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction to seek professional help and support, including medically supervised detoxification and ongoing treatment.
Myth 6: Alcoholism is a moral failing or a lack of willpower
Shame and stigma surrounding alcoholism can prevent individuals from seeking help, but it is important to recognize that alcoholism is not a reflection of personal morality or strength. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that requires treatment and ongoing management. Blaming individuals for their addiction only perpetuates harmful myths and can prevent individuals from accessing the support they need.
Myth 7: You have to hit rock bottom before seeking treatment for alcoholism
It is a common misconception that individuals with alcoholism must “hit rock bottom” before seeking treatment. However, this is not the case. Early intervention can improve outcomes and prevent further negative consequences of the disorder. Seeking help as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of successful treatment and long-term recovery.
It’s important to dispel these myths and increase awareness and understanding of alcoholism as a disease that requires treatment and ongoing support.