This is the most prevalent subtype, making up 31.5 percent of people who are alcohol-dependent. The average age of dependent young adults is 25 years, and they first became dependent at an average of age 20. They tend to drink less frequently than people of other types (an average of 143 days a year). However, most of their drinking is binge drinking – they drink five or more drinks on an average of 104 (73 percent) of those days. On drinking days, the average maximum number of drinks is 14. This pattern of alcohol use is more likely to be hazardous than non-binging patterns.
Young adult alcohol-dependents are 2.5 times more likely to be male than female. About 75 percent have never been married, 36.5 percent are still in school, and 54 percent work fulltime. Approximately 22 percent have a first- or second-degree family member who is also dependent on alcohol. Compared to other types of alcoholic, young adults are less likely to have psychiatric disorders or legal problems. Fewer than 1 percent of them have antisocial personality disorder. About 32 percent also smoke cigarettes, and 25 percent also use cannabis.
Only 8.7 percent of young adult alcohol-dependents have ever sought treatment for their drinking problem. If they do choose to seek help, they tend to prefer 12-step programs over specialty treatment clinics or private professional practices.