Everyone is aware that alcoholism can have severe effects but are you also aware that there are categories of alcoholics who are at varying degrees of risks to their life, thanks to their dependency on a bottle of booze. In this article, we tell you how alcoholics are differentiated.
Not only is alcoholism an addiction that can cause many health problems for the person addicted to liquor, it can also be responsible for many problems for the family of the alcoholic. Alcohol addiction is not a health issue anymore. It has snowballed into a bigger issue that is social in nature. The best way to overcome this problem of alcohol dependence is to understand what factors are responsible for a person turning to booze. There are many personal, social, and psychological factors that set apart the different categories into which alcoholics are divided, and tell us what leads them down the path of alcoholism.
Different Categories of Alcoholism
The first ever classification of the consumers of alcohol was done in the year 1960, when E. M. Jellinek in his book defined 5 categories of alcoholics. Alpha drinkers were those that drank alcohol primarily so that they would feel less inhibited than they already did. Beta drinkers were occasional drinkers who mainly consumed alcohol at social functions. Gamma drinkers while generally in control of themselves and their drinking habits, would completely lose control once they consume alcohol. Delta drinkers are completely dependent on alcohol and any sort of withdrawal from their daily dose of alcohol can cause hospitalization. They have the lowest resistance to alcohol and cannot stay sober at all. Epilson drinkers show similar signs of alcohol dependence but have enough control over themselves to stay sober for a longer time.
Over a period of time there have been other classifications. One of the widely-accepted classifications is based on the personality of the alcoholic. This classification is given in the table below.
|This category of people find it the most difficult to go through any sort of alcohol detox because of their long standing addiction to alcohol. This classification generally includes people who are homeless and are vagabonds. They are no social delinquents. Their consumption of alcohol is more often than not the reason for their condition.
|This category of alcoholics drink constantly with the motive of getting drunk. The only time that they may stop drinking is because they don’t have the money to fund their drinking or because they have slipped into a state of unconsciousness. One of the addiction signs that they show is that their behavior keeps swinging between depression and aggression.
|The reason most emotional drinkers consume alcohol is to combat the depression they are undergoing. They use it as a defense mechanism against their own fears and frustration. They are conscious of their dependence on alcohol and use it to sedate themselves, despite being fully aware of the health problems it can cause. They will always push the date on which they stop drinking alcohol to a date in the future.
|This category of alcoholics are those who drink in keeping with social commitments. Despite drinking large amounts of alcohol, they are generally sober by the end of the day, never completely lose control. For them drinking alcohol is a way of strengthening friendships and social relationships.
|This category of alcohol dependent individuals usually turn to alcohol after having gone through some situation that caused them a huge emotional upheaval. They react with the help of alcohol not realizing that this could worsen the situation. Getting over the addiction is difficult as alcohol often serves as a surrogate to the pain they are experiencing.
|These people keep oscillating between drinking constantly and drinking socially. While they often display self-control, they often let go when confronted by large amounts of alcohol. They are completely aware of the effects of alcohol which is why if they feel guilty about their loss of self control, they can become aggressive.
|For solipsist drinkers, like emotional drinkers, alcohol can be a means of dealing with their fears like not being successful enough etc. Alcohol often functions as a consolation to what they do not have in life.
A recent research has classified alcoholics in a completely new manner. This study divides them as the young adult alcoholic which is a group made up of youngsters who drink less as compared to other categories but are prone to binge drinking. Young anti-social alcoholics are generally aged around 26 years and are likely to suffer from some sort of a personality disorder. The third type of alcoholic is the functional alcoholic who is an average middle-aged adult who drinks almost every day, and drinks as an after-work routine. The intermediate familial alcoholic starts drinking early in life and is a severe alcoholic by the time he reaches his late twenties or early thirties. The last subtype in this categorization is the chronic severe alcoholic. This category generally comprises men and includes people who are drug abusers as well.
There are other studies that define alcoholics but these are the most widely accepted classifications of alcohol-dependent individuals. To determine the treatment for alcohol abuse, understanding which category an alcohol consumer belongs to becomes very important.