The Different Types of Alcoholism

Legacy Healing Center Blog

It is no secret that addiction carries with it a large amount of stigma and misinformation. In the case of an alcohol use disorder, it is typically understood by the average person as an easily recognizable dependency that is the same for most who experience it. The reality is that there is not a single “typical alcoholic” but rather 5 specific types of alcoholism that will affect a wide range of people.¹ Legacy Healing Center is breaking down these subtypes and why each should be addressed by a clinical professional.

More About Alcoholism

When looking at the typology of this disease, it is crucial to factor in the facets that help us understand who is struggling and why. Before breaking down the 5 types of alcoholics, it is important to consider the differences between type 1 alcoholism and type 2 alcoholism. 

Regarding type 1, these individuals begin drinking later in life, typically after the age of 25. It is considered to be both genetic and environmental, and sufferers are often abusing alcohol to relieve anxiety. The abuse is often progressive over time, and most who suffer from this don’t drink for the novelty of being drunk. Type 1 can affect both men and women.²

In the case of type 2, drinkers are often younger, with the onset of their condition taking place before the age of 25. It affects men more than it does women, and these people often drink heavily to experience the euphoria of intoxication. It is mainly genetic and often results in more aggressive behaviors and subsequent arrests.

Types of Drinkers

Now that we have distinguished between type 1 and type 2 alcoholism, it is time to take a closer look at the different demographics of drinkers.

Young Adult Subtype

With 31.5% of all alcoholics in the US falling into this classification, it is the most common subset of those listed. As the name would suggest, the young adult subtype will begin abusing alcohol at an early age which progresses into a dependency. There is typically a low rate of familial alcoholism, as well as a lower likelihood of co-occurring disorders. These individuals are not likely to pursue addiction treatment and often only resort to a 12-step program if they do.²

Functional Subtype

Those who fall into the functional subtype are usually middle-aged, with stable jobs, families, and education under their belt. Approximately 19.5% of American alcoholics fall into this type, with 1/3 of them having experienced a family history of alcoholism These individuals are likely to suffer from some form of depression and may also take up smoking. They are also less likely to be in trouble with the law and may be good at hiding the fact that they struggle with drinking. Still, they’re suffering from an addiction. Just because they are good at hiding the harm that it causes them doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

Intermediate Familial Subtype

Typically middle-aged, the intermediate familial subtype makes up about 19% of US alcoholics. Nearly half are diagnosed with clinical depression, and 20% with bipolar disorder. Roughly one in five abuse marijuana or cocaine, and most are habitual smokers. Almost half of these individuals come from families with hereditary alcoholism.² They are not particularly akin to getting treatment, although they may attend withdrawal treatment, like that found at our alcohol detox in Fort Lauderdale

Young Antisocial Subtype

Making up 21% of problem drinkers in America, those in the young antisocial subtype will start consuming alcohol at a young age, and over half come from families with a history of alcoholism. Half are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, although they’re also likely to experience bipolar symptoms, anxiety, and severe depression. Luckily, 1/3 of people in this subtype seek out professional addiction treatment.²

Chronic Severe Subtype

Totaling out as the final 9% of American alcoholics, people who are classified in the chronic severe subtype suffer from the highest rates of psychiatric disorders, along with a high likelihood of polysubstance abuse. Sadly, 80% of them come from a genetic background of alcoholism and often begin drinking at an early age. That being said, 2/3 will seek out treatment, making them the most prevalent in rehab centers across the country. 

Our Alcohol Rehab in Fort Lauderdale Is Here for You

Coming to terms with alcoholism is not an easy feat, but living in denial is just as likely to cause more issues for those suffering. That is why our Fort Lauderdale alcohol rehab prides itself on providing extensive addiction care for those that need it most. With a variety of care levels at our disposal, we make sure that each person who enters our facility receives the most appropriate treatment for their personal needs.

To learn more about our other options for alcohol addiction treatment, call Legacy Healing Center Fort Lauderdale today at 754-203-4541.


  1. NIH – Researchers Identify Alcoholism Subtypes
  2. NCBI – Type I and Type II Alcoholism: An Update

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