You may have thought that problem drinkers could all be grouped into one category. But now scientists say that there are five different types.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University, at the origin of this discovery, defined each of the profiles with a set of variable characteristics.
They range from those struggling to reduce their consumption of alcohol, to those who take more risks when they are drunk and to those who have a hangover.
Scientists have discovered that every profile exists in people of all ages – but is more common at different stages of life.
Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have discovered five types of drinking problems that appear at different ages by examining 5,402 people with alcohol-related disorders.
According to doctors, the diagnosis and treatment of alcohol-related disorders should no longer be considered a one-size-fits-all approach.
The findings, drawn from 5,402 people aged 18 to 34, were published in the scientific journal Alcohol & Alcoholism.
The sample was limited to participants who met the criteria for a disorder related to alcohol consumption during the previous year.
Ashley Linden-Carmichael, co-author of the study, said: "We need to think further if someone has an alcoholism disorder."
She added that doctors need to "look specifically at what patients are struggling with and if they are in a particularly risky class."
WHAT ARE THE FIVE PROFILES OF CONSUMER PROBLEMS?
Injury induced by alcohol
This group represented 25% of people, with a maximum prevalence at 58 years. In addition to drinking too much, people in this profile reported being exposed to risky situations during or after drinking that may have resulted in injury.
This group accounted for 13% of people, with a peak prevalence at 62 years. People in this group had difficulty reducing their problematic alcohol consumption but were unable to do so.
Highly problematic, low perceived life interference
This group represented 21% of people, with a maximum prevalence at 18 years. People in this group said they had many symptoms, but said that their use of alcohol did not hurt their family, friends, work or hobbies.
Adverse effects only
This group accounted for 34% of people, with a maximum prevalence at 21 years. People who fit this profile reported experiencing hangover or withdrawal symptoms and drinking too much.
This group accounted for 7% of people, with a maximum prevalence at the age of 48 years. The people in this group reported having all the symptoms of alcohol-related disorder.
Participants were asked to answer questions such as: "In the past year, have you been sick, have you had tremors, restlessness, a heart that is agitated when did the effects of alcohol fade or did they continue to drink while it caused problems with family or friends ?.
In addition to identifying the five groups, Dr. Linden-Carmichael said they could use the method to determine the prevalence of each profile at different ages.
Dr. Linden-Carmichael said the findings suggest that health care providers should consider a more personal approach to effectively treating patients.
"Therapists might consider, for example, that when someone is a young adult, they should look for that person who has withdrawal symptoms," she said.
"Conversely, if an older person may be struggling to reduce alcohol-related or alcohol-related injuries."
Dr. Linden-Carmichael said that in the future, she would like to use the same method to look at different categories of alcohol-related disorders over time.
She said, "It would interest me to see, for example, if a person has a certain younger profile, what will happen to him later?"
"If a person belongs to the adverse reaction class only at 21, what does it look like at 60 years of age?" Do they increase or slow down?
"If we could run a study of the same size, but follow it at any age, it would be the most intuitive and the most beneficial for the practice."
Alcohol-related disorders can include a variety of symptoms, ranging from excessive or longer-than-expected consumption to more severe symptoms, such as withdrawal symptoms when not drinking alcohol.
A person is considered to have an alcohol-related disorder if he has at least two of the symptoms indicated.
In the UK, about 31% of men and 16% of women usually drink at a level indicating an increased or increased risk of injury (more than 14 units of alcohol per week), according to NHS figures. The figure is around 40% in the United States, according to estimates.
Dr. Linden-Carmichael said, "Although young adults are the most at risk for alcohol-related disorder, it's clear that it's also a problem for people who are dying." middle or advanced age.
"But it may sound different and they may be struggling with different aspects of alcohol consumption."
Alcohol harms society at £ 21 billion a year, according to Drink Aware. Of this amount, £ 3.5 billion represents costs for the NHS, £ 11 billion of alcohol-related crime and £ 7.3 billion of lost productivity.
In the United States, the cost of excessive consumption of alcohol reached $ 249 billion in 2010, the bulk (77%) being due to excessive alcohol consumption, according to the Control Center and Prevention of Disease (CDC).
While teens were once the biggest drinkers in the UK, experts worry more about middle-aged people.
It has been revealed this month that the number of people over 65 treated for alcohol abuse has almost tripled in a little over a decade.
As a result of Public Health England data, experts warned that the "baby boomer" generation was giving up alcohol, leading to an increase in the number of dementias, cancers and liver disease.
Do you drink too much alcohol? THE 10 QUESTIONS THAT REVEAL YOUR RISKS
AUDIT (Identification Tests for Alcohol-Related Disorders) is a screening tool widely used by health professionals. Developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the 10-question test is considered the gold standard for determining if a person has problems with alcohol abuse.
The test has been reproduced here with the permission of the WHO.
To complete it, answer each question and note the corresponding score.
0-7: You are in the reasonable range of consumption and the risk of alcohol-related problems is low.
More than 8: Indicate harmful or dangerous consumption.
8-15: Average level of risk. By drinking at your current level, you risk developing health and life problems in general, such as work and relationships. Consider cutting (see below for tips).
16-19: Higher risk of alcohol-related complications. Reducing for yourself can be difficult at this level because you may be addicted, so you may need the help of a professional from your doctor and / or counselor.
20 years and over: Dependency possible. Your alcohol consumption is already causing you problems and you could very well be addicted. You should definitely consider stopping gradually or at least reducing your consumption of alcohol. You should call a professional to determine the degree of dependence and the surest way to get rid of alcohol.
Severe addiction may require medically assisted withdrawal or detoxification in a hospital or specialized clinic. This is due to the likelihood of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the first 48 hours requiring specialist treatment.