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Rehabilitation for alcohol addicts - Nine types of heavy drinker identified - what type of drinker are you?

Published 09/12/2008

Are you a heavy drinker -- and if so, what kind of heavy drinker are you? Researchers from the Department of Health (DoH) recently identified nine personality types of heavy drinkers. Those who engage in this kind of problem drinking, they point out, are at grave risk of developing the kinds of alcohol-related illnesses that cost the NHS in England some £2.7 billion annually.

For the purposes of this research, the DoH defines heavy drinkers as those who regularly drink at least twice the recommended limits of alcohol in a week. So for women, heavy drinkers are those who drink 35 units a week, and for men, it's those consuming around 50 units. It's important to remember, however, that alcohol abuse comes in many disguises - heavy drinking is dangerous, certainly, but so are occasional (but regular) binges interspersed with periods of abstention.

The DoH study found that heavy drinkers fit a number of different stereotypes -- from depressives who abuse alcohol by drinking alone at home over extended periods to macho exhibitionists who spend almost every evening in the pub.

The nine alcohol-fuelled personality types are:


  • "De-stress drinkers", who use alcohol to regain control of life and calm down. They include high-achieving professionals.
  • "Conformist drinkers", who are driven by the need to belong and seek a structure to their lives. They are typically men aged 45 to 59 in clerical or manual jobs.
  • "Boredom drinkers", who consume alcohol to pass the time, seeking stimulation to relieve the monotony of life. Alcohol helps them to feel comforted and secure.
  • "Depressed drinkers", who may be of any age, gender or socioeconomic group. They crave comfort, safety and security.
  • "Re-bonding drinkers", who are driven by a need to keep in touch with people who are close to them.
  • "Community drinkers", who are motivated by the need to belong. They are usually lower middle class men and women who drink in large friendship groups.
  • "Hedonistic drinkers", who crave stimulation and want to abandon control through drink abuse. They are often divorced people with grown-up children, who want to stand out from the crowd.
  • "Macho drinkers", who spend most of their spare time in pubs. They are mostly men of all ages who want to stand out from the crowd.
  • "Border dependents", who regard the pub as a home from home. They visit it during the day and the evening, on weekdays and at weekends, drinking fast and often.


Whatever the motivation, drink abuse destroys lives. If any of these profiles sound familiar, it's time to get confidential, professional advice from somewhere that understands rehabilitation for alcohol addicts.

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