The stereotype of alcoholics is well-established in our media-driven culture. Alcoholics are portrayed as people who drink to excess, act out, and bring pain to themselves and their families.
This stereotype isn’t always accurate. The “high-functioning alcoholic,” someone who hides their addiction well so that not even loved ones recognize it, is a real phenomenon. It’s important to recognize that not every alcoholic looks destined for homelessness. Some hold positions with great responsibility, yet quietly turn to alcohol to deal with the stress of living.
How do you recognize a high-functioning alcoholic, and what can you do to help? At TruHealing Centers, we know the signs and how to treat a high-functioning alcoholic. To learn more about alcohol addiction treatment, contact us today.
Facts About Alcoholism
Before exploring the concept of a high-functioning alcoholic, it’s important to have a working understanding of what alcoholism is. Alcoholism is a serious, chronic disease that stems from excessive drinking.
The tricky thing is, there is no set level of drinking beyond which you become an alcoholic. Alcoholism is defined and diagnosed by the impact that drinking has on your life. Some of the symptoms include:
- Near obsession with alcohol
- Vowing to limit or quit drinking but failing
- Continuing to drink despite the problems it causes
- Significant strains in friendships and relationships
- Withdrawal symptoms such as tremors or gastrointestinal issues
Drinking is a majority activity in the United States. An estimated fifty-five percent of people responding to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported they drank alcohol in the previous month.
More than fourteen million people over the age of eighteen were classified as having an alcohol-use disorder, according to the survey. Also, the disease is more common in men than in women.
What Is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?
A high-functioning alcoholic is someone who drinks to excess and quietly experiences the problems of alcoholism yet doesn’t show it. They give off all the signs of living a normal life, such as holding down jobs or meeting family obligations.
The challenge with the high-functioning alcoholic is overcoming the impact of denial. Because things seem so normal, it’s highly likely the person and the people around them may feel that alcoholism isn’t even conceivable.
It’s all a facade, as the high-functional alcoholic suffers the same negative consequences as any alcoholic, including risky or upsetting behaviors such as drunk driving or violent arguments.
If you spot some of the signs of alcoholism is someone you least expect it, trust your instincts. It may be time to seek help from professionals such as those working at Amatus Recovery Center.
Denial and the High-Functioning Alcoholic
Denial is a key challenge when assisting all alcoholics, but it’s most acute in high-functioning alcoholics. In fact, Sarah Benton, an author and social worker, tells Psychology Today, denial for the high-functioning alcoholic may be a misnomer. The high-functioning alcoholic doesn’t just deny they have a problem; they refuse to consider it as a possibility at all. The danger is that the high-functioning alcoholic may avoid or delay getting the proper treatment.
According to Benton, some of the signals of denial include:
- Classifying their drinking as a “habit” or a “vice”
- Seeking justifications for their drinking, such as rewards for hard work
- Minimizing their actions by comparing themselves to more outwardly struggling alcoholics
- Citing a taste for higher-end alcohol as a sign they do not have a problem
Reach Out for Help with Alcoholism at TruHealing Centers
Like many substance abuse problems, alcohol abuse can be difficult to spot. Our substance abuse treatment centers can help. At TruHealing Centers, our team of clinical specialists will elicit information to evaluate your loved one and recommend a course of treatment. Treatment plans typically involve periods of detox followed by counseling. Get in touch today for a free, compassionate consultation by contacting us at 833.631.0525.