Why does a few drinks put some people into a party mood, some aggressive and others ready to sleep?
Family and medical conditions aside, people often react to alcohol based on their unique biochemistries. Dr. Joan Mathews Larson, author of Seven Weeks to Sobriety and founder of the Health Recovery Center, describes different Alcohol Bio Types[i] Taking the following revised quiz can give you an idea of what your own unique biochemistry with regards to the popular fermented drink.
To complete the quiz, match up the capital letter with a number. Find the answers on page:
(Disclaimer: Always consult a physician or medical professional before treating yourself for alcohol or drug dependency.)
- Physical response
1. A few drinks make me feel sedated.
2. Drinking alcohol makes me uncoordinated and light headed.
3. Alcohol always makes me sick.
4. When I drink, I perform better and have lots of energy.
5. Alcohol first gives me a boost and I tend to drink until I am drunk.
6. Alcohol used to give me a lift. Now, it steadies my nerves.
7. (Women only) I need and use alcohol during premenstrual periods.
- First Alcohol Experience
1. I cannot remember my first drinking experience.
2. I liked the feeling when I first drank alcohol. I remember it well.
3. I reacted badly to my first drinking experience. It was not good.
4. Alcohol has no appeal to me.
1. I do not get hangovers from regular light drinking.
2. I usually feel miserable in the morning after heavy drinking.
3. I often feel depressed after a night of heavy drinking.
4. I rarely got hangovers when I started drinking, but I do now.
5. I feel uncomfortable even with a small amount of alcohol.
1. I rarely want more than two or three drinks at a time.
2. I can drink over six drinks of (1.5 oz) hard liquor, (8 oz.) beer or (4 oz.) wine without getting hangovers.
3. It is difficult to control how much I drink at a time.
4. I avoid drinking because of the way alcohol affects me.
5. After a day of working around fumes (from gasoline, house paint, printer’s ink, hydrocarbons or formaldehyde), I often crave a drink.
6. I can regularly drink lots, have little sleep and still have a strong sex drive and a strong type A personality.
1. None of my family has a history of heavy drinking.
2. I have a Scandinavian, Celtic, Welsh or Scottish ancestry and have drinking relatives who suffer from depression.
3. My family is from the southern Mediterranean.
4. My background is Asian. My relatives and I become nauseated, flushed and dizzy from small amounts of alcohol.
- Personality Effects
1. I get mellow and sleepy after a few drinks.
2. I feel a quick sense of well-being from my first two drinks, but often feel spacey after further drinking.
3. My personality and behavior have changed drastically over the years since I have started drinking. Though I did not start out this way.
4. I feel exhilarated and can party all night when I drink and show no signs of intoxication.
5. I often get into fights when I am drinking.
6. I use alcohol to control my anxiety.
1. I have a very low alcohol tolerance.
2. I have a very high alcohol tolerance.
3. I have increased my alcohol tolerance over time with minimum hangovers.
4. After several years of a high alcohol tolerance, my tolerance has decreased.
5. I have difficulty predicting my ability to control my drinking.
Record your chosen answers (letter-number combinations) and match them to one of the six different alcohol biological types below. Most people have some traits from each category, but you should find most of your answers in one area. Write this category down as this holds the key to your body’s reaction to alcohol.
- Normal Drinker or Nonalcoholic Chemistry
A1 A few drinks calm you and make you feel drowsy.
B1 You probably have no vivid memory of your first drinking experience.
C1 You keep your drinking light and your hangovers rare.
D1 Your drinking limit is two to four drinks at a time.
E1 Your family has no history of heavy drinking and your biological.
family is from the southern Mediterranean areas of Europe or Asia.
F1 You tend to get mellow and sleepy after a few drinks.
G1 You have no ability to handle lots of alcohol.
- Alcohol-Intolerant or Nonalcoholic Chemistry
A2 Alcohol makes you ill.
B3, B4 Your first drinking experience made you ill. You do not like the taste of alcohol.
D5 You generally do not drink due to the taste and effects.
F1, F10 Alcohol makes you drowsy, but has no effect on your personality.
G1 You have no ability to handle lots of alcohol.
- Hypoglycemic Nonalcoholic Chemistry (Often labeled as alcoholic)
A2 Even small amounts of alcohol make you feel spaced out and uncoordinated.
B1 You probably cannot recall your first drinking experience.
E1 None of your family has a history of heavy drinking. Or…
F1 You may be the type of hypoglycemic who becomes light headed and sleepy when they drink.
G1 You have a low alcohol tolerance.
- THIQ/ADH Alcoholic Chemistry
A4 Alcohol gives you tremendous energy and performance. Or
A6 Alcohol used to give you a boost, but now it just steadies your nerves.
B2 You enjoyed your first alcohol experience. It did not make you ill.
C3, C5 You rarely got hangovers in your early days of drinking, but liver damage has changed your tolerance.
E2 You have at least one close relative with a high alcohol tolerance.
F4 You are starting to show signs of brain and nerve damage from years of excessive handling of alcohol.
F5 You can party for long periods without showing intoxication. Alcohol boosts your energy.
G2 As a teenager, you had a high tolerance for alcohol. Or…
G3 You have been able to increase your tolerance for alcohol. Or…
G4 Your alcohol tolerance has declined over the years.
- Addicted/Allergic Alcoholic Chemistry
A5 Alcohol will give you a boost at first, but then you usually lose control or drink until you are drunk.
B3 You probably remember getting sick from your first drink of alcohol. Your body naturally rejects alcohol. Repeated use has forced your body to accommodate and adapt the alcohol. You now have an allergy-addiction.
C2 Heavy drinking gives you bad hangovers due to the high allergic reaction to the toxicity of alcohol.
C4 You usually feel depressed after a night of heavy drinking.
D3 Alcohol alters your brain’s ability to make choices. You cannot predict the amount that you drink.
D4 You can go long periods without drinking before you go on a binge.
D6 Being around chemical fumes like paint, gasoline, ink and formaldehyde can set off your cravings for alcohol.
E2 A close relative of yours drinks or drank heavily. Or…
F3 There is a marked change in your behavior when you drink alcohol.
F6 You tend to get into fights and arguments when you drink alcohol.
G5 You find it difficult to control the amount that you drink.
- Linoleic Acid (Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acid) Deficient Chemistry
A7 You can temporarily relieve depression by drinking.
B2 Your first drinking experience brought relief from your depression.
C4 Your depression returns when you stop drinking.
E2 You have alcoholics in your family. Some may have been depressed and have committed suicide.
E3 Your ancestry is predominantly Scottish, Welsh, Irish or Scandinavian.
F8 You have used alcohol to relieve your depression since childhood.
G2 Your tolerance for alcohol has either increased over the years…Or
G4 Your tolerance has decreased over the years due to liver damage.
You should have consistent responses in one of the five or six categories. There may be some confusion between allergic/addicted and ADH/THIQ answers. Generally, if you are answering both bio-chemical types, but are over 40 years of age and have had several decades of heavy drinking, you are the ADH/THIQ bio-chemical type due to the extensive immune system damage.
According to this test, what Alcohol Bio-Chemical type are you?
Normal or Non-Alcoholic ___ Alcoholic THIQ/ADH Chemistry___
Non-Alcoholic Alcohol Intolerant ___ Alcoholic Addictive/Allergic ___
Non-Alcoholic Hypoglycemic ___ Alcoholic Linoleic Deficiency ___
this. Write it down.
Each category will be
covered in the next article. Until then,
I hope that this gives some food for
[i] i Mathews-Larson, Joan Phd. (1998) Seven Weeks to Sobriety. Random House Publishing, New York Pp. 51-61