Types of Alcoholics – Are They the ‘Periodic’ Alcoholic?
Someone with alcohol use disorder can no longer control their drinking habits and has a difficult time abstaining from alcohol use, despite the negative consequences that arise while or after they are drinking. Typically, someone with an addiction problem will display other problems in their life, indicating that their drinking is affecting their daily life in a negative way. A periodic alcoholic, does not drink all the time or even everyday, but they will display harmful effects whenever they do drink.
“According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA), women who have no more than 3 drinks on a given day and no more than 7 per week are at low-risk for developing AUD. For men, this low-risk range is defined as no more than 4 drinks on a given day and no more than 14 per week.”
There are different categories of alcoholics based on the severity in which they drink and how it is affecting their life. ‘Functioning’ alcoholics, typically the people who drink to drink their stresses away but are able to fulfill work or other obligations. The ‘Falling Down’ alcoholics will drink so much every day until they are no longer able to function most of the time or carry on a normal conversation with other people. The ‘Periodic’ alcohol is one of the most troubling alcoholics of all.
Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Signs that you may not think are a big deal, can lead to a drinking problem without you even realizing it. It helps to know what those signs and symptoms are so that you can get help right away, if you believe that you have a problem.
Symptoms of alcoholism can include:
- Tried to cut back on drinking but was not successful
- Needing to drink much more to feel the same effects as previous times
- A lot of time is spent drinking or getting over the effects of drinking
- Engaging in risky behaviors more than once due to the drinking habit (driving, swimming, or unsafe sex)
- Times where you end up drinking more or longer than you originally intended to do
- Continuing to drink despite the negative effects it has on your social life, work life and family
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure
The Periodic Alcoholic and Other Alcoholics
‘Periodic’ alcoholics often resort to binge drinking or drinking to excess and can be referred to as ‘bingers.’ This type of person will show alcoholic behaviors for a particular period of time but then will quit drinking and clean up their act in order to convince others that they don’t have alcohol use disorder. Despite remaining abstinent from drinking, they still exhibit alcoholic behavior that is just waiting to happen again and wreak havoc on their life and their body.
A ‘regular’ alcoholic can look very well put together, can go months without drinking a drop of alcohol and can easily trick someone into thinking they do not have a problem and are fine. They may seem completely in control, but often will begin drinking again, later causing problems. Because they avoid alcohol for a long period of time, they may begin to lose control over their life and behavior once they begin drinking again. This can result in some of the worst episodes and incidents caused by their drinking habit.
The ‘occasional’ alcoholic is someone who has not completely quit drinking alcohol and become sober, but also relapses. An occasional alcoholic often does not believe that they have a problem and are an alcoholic. It’s not uncommon for someone who is a ‘periodic’ alcoholic to go months without drinking at all and then they have one night where they decide to take a drink. The one drink they have can cause the person to spiral back into alcoholism. A ‘regular’ alcoholic continues to be an alcoholic until they are treated successfully and can accomplish sobriety and remain clean from alcohol.
Signs of the ‘Periodic’ Alcoholic
The ‘periodic’ alcoholic is frequently extremely dangerous to people around them and themselves because once they begin drinking again, they do so in large amounts that effect their ability to function and make rational decisions, sometimes resulting in poor judgement and risky behaviors. As opposed to an ‘operating’ alcoholic who gets drunk but then sobers up to maintain their normal lifestyle and responsibilities. A ‘regular’ alcoholic will drink themselves to the point of not being able to function, losing consciousness, and often resulting in death. ‘Periodic’ alcoholics usually drink such large amounts that they:
- Develop severe habits that are risky to their life
- Make dangerous decisions
- Cause injuries to themselves or others
- Suffer alcohol poisoning
- Have liver problems or failure
- Asphyxiate themselves by vomiting
The ‘Periodic’ alcoholic can pose a risk to themselves and people that are around them, although they may seem perfectly healthy to other people. A ‘regular’ alcoholic is at risk for developing a problem with extreme drinking at any moment in time.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
There are many treatment options available to treat alcohol addiction in an inpatient residential treatment center or outpatient treatment facility. The most common forms of treatment include behavioral therapies and support groups.
Types of Treatment
- Behavioral Treatment
- Support Groups
Alcoholics Anonymous or ‘AA’ was created as a support group for people to gather on a consistent basis and help those who are suffering from alcohol use disorder. Meetings are held frequently for members to attend and they have the choice to participate and share or listen to others. This is helpful for the individual because they can relate to others who are going through a similar situation.
“We are gathered here because we are faced with the fact that we are powerless over alcohol and unable to do anything about it without the help of a Power greater than ourselves. ~1940 AA Preamble”
The goal of AA is to help people who are participating remain alcohol free and maintain a sober lifestyle. The meetings are available to offer support to the individual and allow them to gain sponsorship from a member if they choose to do so.
“It has never been by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently cured. The only relief we have to offer is absolute abstinence, the second meaning of A.A. ~1940 AA Preamble”
If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol use disorder, it’s important to get help right away. Reach out to a friend, family member or nearby treatment center to ensure you get the help you need to remain sober and clean from alcohol and drugs.