The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) conducted research in 2007 into individuals who suffer from alcoholism to determine if there are similarities between types of people who are alcoholics. What the research found was that there are 5 main alcoholic subtypes. Each of the alcoholic subtypes determined by the NIAA research has its own distinct characteristics, drinking behaviors and risk factors. The identified subgroups include the young adult subtype, the young antisocial subtype, the functional subtype, the intermediate familial subtype and the chronic severe subtype. The young antisocial subtype is the second largest group by population.
* Craving – strong need to have alcohol.
* Loss of control – an inability to cease drinking, no control of the situation.
* Physical dependence – withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not drunk which includes nausea and vomiting.
* Tolerance – more alcohol required to meet cravings and to get drunk.
Alcoholism can affect any person, and there is no set limit on how much alcohol use determines who is an alcoholic.
The young antisocial subtype is typically in their mid-twenties and have had an early introduction to drinking and alcohol problems. Over half have a family history of and a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. Many of those in this subtype may have addictions to cigarettes, opiates or cocaine as well.
Antisocial personality disorder refers to a person who has a consistent disregard for others and the rights of others. A person who is considered antisocial has an inability to consider others’ comfort or safety, and will engage in activities such as excessive drinking in public, fighting, harassment and general nuisance behaviors. They are often in trouble with law enforcement officials for their problem behaviors, which are considered aggressive and irresponsible. Individuals who have an antisocial personality disorder can often be considered the child that never grows up, as they do not seem to mature or grow out of these problem behaviors.
One third of individuals who fit into the young antisocial subtype seek treatment for their alcoholism. It is possible that this is due to the fact that they are the most significant group for police and law enforcement, or the most commonly hospitalized. Many of these individuals require treatment for both their alcoholism and their personality disorder at the same time so medication is often used.
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