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San Diego Sober Living - Recovery

The 4 Distinct Types of People with Alcohol Use Disorder

The complex disease most people refer to as alcoholism is classified as alcohol use disorder (AUD) by the medical community. In the 21st century, addiction recovery specialists and neuroscientists have been forming a consensus to treat AUD on a spectrum. Instead of generally mild and severe AUD, physicians and counselors are leaning toward a modern classification that reflects behavioral patterns in Western societies. In 2019, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania published a landmark study with categorized conclusions identifying five AUD groups. Since then, two of the groups have merged, thus leaving us with four major types of alcoholics.

Before we describe the four AUD groups, it’s important to note that each of them can fall on the mild to severe spectrum. This is what guides recovery specialists to formulate adequate treatment plans. The study behind the methodology featured 5,064 Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 who acknowledged they “drank more than they should,” but not all of them were in recovery.

1. AUD Patients Impacted by Manageable Adverse Effects

This is the largest group at 54 percent, and it includes people who drink until they’re intoxicated despite knowing unpleasant hangovers and withdrawal episodes are forthcoming. These individuals make it a point to avoid allowing AUD to throw a wrench into the engines of their lives. This is how they manage the adverse effects. The most severe underlying pathology in this group is the risk of liver function deterioration through chronic abuse.

2. AUD Patients at Risk for Injury

The ethanol effect that makes AUD patients lose their inhibitions while clouding their judgment is common, but it substantially affects 25 percent of drinkers who engage in dangerous activities when they’re impaired. We’re talking about behaviors such as drinking and driving, having unprotected sex with strangers, swimming, and fighting. A surprising revelation of the aforementioned study is that the median age of this AUD group is 58, and a possible correlation is the widespread popularity of Uber and other personal transportation services among young Americans.

3. Problematic AUD Patients

This group represents 21 percent, and it’s formed by patients whose AUD conditions are negatively impacting their lives. “Problem drinking” seems to be more common among college students, and this has been explained as a distorted perception among young adults who brush off issues such as poor academic performance, DUIs, arrests, getting thrown out of households, fistfights, or even cutting back on their intake. Within this group, older adults are the ones who struggle the most with recovery because the aging process reduces brain plasticity.

4. Highly Problematic AUD Patients

The most severe group on the AUD spectrum represents 7 percent of all patients. In essence, problematic drinkers have experienced symptoms the other three types typically report, but their hangovers have gotten so bad they may suffer delirium tremens episodes complete with seizures and a high risk of shock. These patients may have lost their family and household structures, and they’ll likely require holistic treatment strategies such as staying at an Encinitas sober living center after detoxification.

A sober living home can provide the support you need to achieve and maintain sobriety. Encinitas men who need assistance with staying sober can get the help they need at Casa Pacifica. Our men’s sober living mentorship program works with individual residents to develop customized plans that integrate treatment, aftercare, and recovery support resources, which results in meaningful experiences and positive outcomes in their new lives. Our services include coaching, sober companionship, and mentorship for those who are recovering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. To learn more about our sober living facilities, call us today.

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