According to the latest research from the Department of Health in the UK, there are nine types of 'problem drinker' and they are costing the National Health Service billions.
Those classed as 'problem drinkers' range from introverts to macho exhibitionists and are most at risk of liver damage and other alcohol-related problems.
This latest study is hoped to raise awareness of alcohol's social and psychological related problems as well as its health problems. Currently, the NHS spend around £2.7 billion per year on drink related treatment.
The research included an information campaign launched in the north west of England. The alcohol problem is a tough one according to researchers as there are many positive associations with drinking among the general public particularly amongst those who drink to excess.
For many people, drinking alcohol is part of their identity and lifestyle and when challenged about it there is a tendency to become either defensive, reject the issue or deny it altogether.
The research has discovered that people who drink twice the recommended daily allowance (35 units for women and 50 for men) are heavy drinkers that fit into one of nine groups with associated characteristics: -
Depressed drinker - someone in a state of crisis (recently bereaved, divorced or in financial crisis) where alcohol is a comfort and a form of self-medication, used to help them cope.
De-stress drinker - someone pressurised at work or at home leading to feelings of being out of control and burdened with responsibility, where alcohol is used to relax, unwind and calm down and to gain a sense of control when switching between work and personal life. (Partners often support or reinforce this behaviour by preparing drinks for them).
Re-bonding drinker - someone with a very busy social calendar where alcohol is the 'shared connector' that unifies and gets them on the same level.
Conformist drinker - usually men who traditionally believe that going to the pub every night is 'what men do' and justify it as 'me time' where the pub is their second home and they feel a strong sense of belonging and acceptance within this environment.
Community drinker - someone who drinks in fairly large social friendship groups where the sense of community forged through the pub-group provides a sense of safety and security and gives their lives meaning and also acts a social network.
Boredom drinker - often a single mother or recent divorcee with restricted social life where drinking makes up for an absence of people, marks the end of the day - perhaps following the completion of chores.
Macho drinker - someone who often feels under-valued, disempowered and frustrated in important areas of their life but have actively cultivated a strong 'alpha male' that revolves around their drinking 'prowess' which is driven by a constant need to assert their masculinity and status to themselves and others.
Hedonistic drinker - usually single, divorced and/or with grown up children where drinking excessively is a way of visibly expressing their independence, freedom and 'youthfulness' to themselves and is used to release inhibitions.
Border dependents - are those (usually men) who effectively live in the pub which, for them, is very much a home from home - resulting from a combination of motives, including boredom, the need to conform, and a general sense of malaise in their lives.
Official figures revealed 50,000 young men and women drink their way into hospital each year in England.