When the Alcoholic Stereotype Doesn’t Fit

The Alcoholic Stereotype

When you hear the term alcoholic, many will envision the negative stereotypes often portrayed within Hollywood. An alcoholic is often depicted as violent or aggressive and causes scenes at the local bar needing to be carried out by bouncers or the police. In other cases, alcoholics are portrayed as sloppy or uncoordinated as they fall from being so intoxicated that they cannot function throughout life. Often paired with this is the notion that alcoholics have reached the ultimate rock bottom within their life by losing what is essential to them, such as their homes, employment, families, and deteriorating physical health. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.

What Is the Actual Definition of an Alcoholic?

An alcoholic is defined as someone who drinks alcohol to a level beyond your ability to control or stop drinking. While your intentions of cutting back or ending your alcohol abuse may be genuine, when you are an alcoholic, your use of drugs or alcohol becomes unmanageable. Your mental obsession and the need to continue to drink only worsen as the length of time you have been drinking and alcohol increases. Often, alcoholics will engage in heavy drinking behaviors, including daily drinking, habitual drinking patterns, or binge drinking episodes. 

In addition to alcohol, there are some easily available poisons in the home:


Deadly Easily Available Poison in Home

Why the Alcoholic Stereotype Is So Unhelpful

The problem with negative stereotypes is that they often set a precedent for what people expect. When you are concerned about your alcohol consumption, these unrealistic depictions can lead to many not seeking help for their alcohol abuse as they do not perceive that they are living with addiction. However, alcoholism presents itself in multiple ways within people. Some may be experiencing high functioning alcoholism and can maintain their work and home life without disruption or challenges due to their heavy drinking habits. At the same time, others may be able to hide their alcohol consumption and maintain a specific image to those around them that would not set off any alarm bells that they were experiencing an alcohol use disorder. The fact is that alcoholism is an individual disease and affects people from all walks of life. The negative impact of these negative stereotypes prevents individuals from seeking alcohol addiction treatment through addiction treatment programs. 

5 Different Types of Alcoholics

There are five different types of alcoholics that can depict all different walks of life and the demographics of individuals. 

Young adult subtype

This category of alcoholics makes up 31% of alcoholics within America. These individuals drink the least out of all of the subtypes, but when they engage in alcohol abuse, it is typically done in large quantities and binge drinking episodes. 

Young antisocial subtype

This subtype has a higher percentage of individuals living with a dual diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder that is often characterized by having three or more of these symptoms:

  • Recurring criminal activity 
  • Engaging in regular fights 
  • Lack of concern or regard for other’s safety and well-being 
  • Irresponsibility 
  • Deceitfulness 
  • Impulsiveness 
  • Lack of or inability to show remorse 

Many of these individuals will live with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar paired with their substance use disorder. 

Functional subtype

This subtype is characterized by the high functioning alcoholic who can maintain and uphold their work, school, and family commitments while engaging in alcohol abuse. Functional subtypes make up 19.5% of alcoholics in the US. 

Intermediate familial subtype

These individuals are often still employed but have faced multigenerational alcoholism along with a co-occurring disorder of clinical depression. 

Chronic severe subtype

This is the rarest subtype of alcoholics, with only 9% of American alcoholics falling under this category. Individuals in this subtype are middle-aged and often began engaging in alcohol abuse at a young age which has continued progressively throughout their life. Nearly 80% of these individuals have experienced multigenerational alcoholism or drug addiction within their families.

Signs of Alcoholism 

Common signs and indicators for addiction and the effects of alcoholism are:

  • Thinking about or planning to cut down on your drinking but unable to follow through 
  • Having loved ones express concern for your alcohol addiction
  • Having feelings of shame, guilt, or remorse after a night or binge episode of drinking alcohol
  • Having to consume a drink of alcohol first thing in the morning to reduce your anxiety or nerves or as a method to treat a hangover. 

Treatment For Alcohol Addiction

WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab provides patients with an opportunity to address their alcohol addiction within a safe, supportive environment free of negative stereotypes and allows space for patients to remove the feelings of guilt that people with addiction often feel. Through evidence-based therapy methods, including behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, dual diagnosis treatment, life skills for relapse prevention, and motivational interviewing. Our team is dedicated to helping you overcome the shame condition associated with addiction stereotypes. Our compassionate team is dedicated to assisting you in reaching your goals for alcohol addiction recovery through individualized treatment plans centered around your emotional and physical needs. 

Contact WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today to get started on removing the negative impact of addiction through our comprehensive, supportive addiction recovery program. 

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.