Razi Berry

An incredibly interesting research study has categorized alcohol abuse into 5 distinct categories. The study, led by researchers at Penn State University, points out that these categories may be more common at different stages of life. The categories are meant to serve physicians and others to better understand and screen for alcoholism/abuse in different populations.

The researchers discovered 5 unique types of “profiles” of individuals diagnosed with alcohol use disorders, each with a specific set of symptoms. It was also noted that these symptom profiles also corresponded in some cases with different life stages – such as young adults being more likely to drink too much and experience hangovers and withdrawal symptoms, versus older adults in their fifties and sixties being more likely to struggle with discontinuing or curbing the amount of alcohol use.

Research emphasizes that treatment of alcoholism is not a “one-size-fits-all” situation

This research underlines even further that the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism is not a “one-size-fits-all” situation, and that a person’s specific case presentation should be taken into account while developing treatment strategies.

“We need to think beyond whether someone has an alcohol use disorder, yes or no, and take a look specifically at what they’re struggling with and whether they’re in a particularly risky class,” said Ashley Linden-Carmichael, assistant research professor of biobehavioral health and faculty affiliate of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. “Additionally, while young adults are most at risk for an alcohol use disorder, it’s clear that it’s also an issue for people in middle age or in older adulthood, too. But it might look differently and they may be struggling with different aspects of drinking.”

Study looked at almost 5,500 individuals

The study looked at almost 5,500 individuals who had participated in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.A new method that allows researchers to pinpoint trends and “profiles” within data-sets was utilized to determine 5 distinct categories of alcohol abuse. The categories are listed below.

5 Categories of Alcoholism

  1. Alcohol-induced injury: In addition to drinking too much, people in this profile reported getting into risky situations during or after drinking that may have resulted in injury.
  2. Difficulty cutting back: People in this group struggled with wanting to cut back on their problematic drinking but being unable to do so.
  3. Highly problematic, low perceived life interference: While people in this group reported experiencing many symptoms, they said their drinking did not interfere with their family, friends, work or hobbies.
  4. Adverse effects only: People who fit this profile reported experiencing hangovers or withdrawal symptoms in addition to drinking too much.
  5. Highly problematic: People in this group reported experiencing every symptom of alcohol use disorder.


Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review  that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath.  She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at  Love is Medicine  to explore the convergence of love and health.

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