The Different Types of Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse, or alcoholism, is a rampant disease in the U.S. What many people may consider heavy social drinking or a drinking problem may be an addiction that requires treatment. Recognizing the signs and types of alcoholism can be tricky since drinking is an acceptable part of our culture.

If you or a loved one struggles with alcoholism, an alcohol addiction treatment program could help start the recovery journey toward a healthy life. Call us at 888.483.6031 to get started today.

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Risk Factors for Alcoholism

Addiction is a complicated disease with many genetic and social factors that influence someone's likelihood to become addicted to a substance. Some common risk factors for alcoholism include:

  • Family history of alcoholism
  • Drinking as a child or teen
  • Periods of early binge drinking
  • Addiction to other substances

Even though a family history of alcoholism is a risk factor, it is not a guarantee that a person will follow the chain of addiction. Additionally, someone with no family history of addiction may still become addicted to alcohol.

Types of Alcoholism

With decades of research spent on just alcohol addiction, there have been multiple theories and systems put around classifying different types of drinkers. While all of them vary in some ways, they all conclude the same thing: various types of drinking result in alcohol addiction.

  • Social drinking is often the first stage of drinking for most people. This stage can lead to heavy binge drinking before using alcohol as a source of stress relief.
  • Emotional drinking occurs when someone uses alcohol to cope with their emotions or physical pain. This can happen in heavy binges or steady consumption.
  • Constant drinking is usually the last phase of alcoholism before severe withdrawal symptoms would start upon quitting. Some experts refer to this as the "crucial stage." This usually involves drinking heavily all the time, including in the morning and throughout the rest of the day.
  • Dependent drinking, or chronic alcoholism, is the final stage of drinking. People in this stage are genuinely reliant on alcohol and begin to feel withdrawal symptoms like body tremors within hours if they do not have a drink. They often binge drink, go on benders, and sell their possessions to maintain an alcohol supply.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Each person who becomes addicted to alcohol will react uniquely and display different signs of addiction. Some common signs of alcoholism include:

  • Physically craving alcohol
  • Being unable to stop drinking
  • Neglecting work or school to drink
  • Disregarding bills and finances to spend money on alcohol
  • Drinking to the point of blacking out
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal

Spotting the signs of addiction early can be the key to a successful recovery. A person struggling with alcohol addiction is much less likely to relapse by taking action and seeking treatment.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Detoxing from alcohol can take a severe mental and physical toll. The symptoms of withdrawal are uncomfortable and scary, but they can also be life-threatening. It is essential to seek medical treatment to safely detox from alcohol before beginning the rehab process. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Sweating
  • Seizures

After detox, the recovery journey continues with a rehab program. Through individual and group therapies, people recovering from an alcohol addiction gain the essential skills to conquer their triggers and maintain their sobriety.

Some intensive outpatient rehab programs allow people to continue living at home while attending therapy a few times a week, allowing minimal disruption to their daily lives while still receiving the help they need to break the cycle of alcoholism.

Outpatient Alcohol Recovery at Northpoint Seattle

We know that alcoholism can be isolating, and seeking help can be embarrassing or intimidating. Our outpatient alcohol rehab programs help you set and reach your recovery goals while causing minimal disruption to your daily life.

When you enroll in our alcohol recovery program, you sign up to receive dedicated care from our recovery professionals to build the skills you need to live a sober life. Contact us today at 888.483.6031 to get started.