Understanding the high-functioning alcoholic
With roughly 14 million people suffering from severe alcohol abuse disorders, it comes as no surprise that monitoring those with alcoholic tendencies should be a country-wide priority. If you feel like you may be developing an alcohol problem, seeking professional help early on can save you a lot of physical and emotional pain in the long run.
How alcoholism impacts both society and the home
Did you know that over $200 billion is annually spent on alcohol in the United States alone? Such a staggering number proves that America does indeed have a drinking problem – a problem that, at times, makes its way into family homes.
Ten percent of children in the country live in a house where at least one parent abuses alcohol. Marriages end in divorce 20 percent more often when one person in the relationship drinks regularly. When alcohol makes its way into the home, it can spell disaster for a family.
But what if you are not an alcoholic and still like to enjoy the occasional – or even regular – afternoon cocktail? Is there a difference? There can be. Maybe you are just a casual drinker who enjoys a beer with dinner as part of a nightly, stress-relieving routine. Or maybe, just maybe, you are a high-functioning alcoholic.
High-functioning alcoholics vs. other types of alcohol abusers
According to The Recovery Village, there is a distinct difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse. “Alcoholism refers to an alcohol addiction or dependence, where the individual has a physical or psychological compulsion to drink alcohol. Alcohol abuse refers to a pattern of behavior where a person drinks excessively in spite of the negative consequences.”
What does this mean? It means that you may not show obvious signs of alcohol abuse if you are an alcoholic. Instead, you are dependent on a regular drink to function. High-functioning alcoholics may not even show signs of being under-the-influence at all when they drink, and they may partially attribute both their personal and career success to the bottle. If this is the case, they will often refuse to give up drinking for fear that they may lose everything they have come to gain.
For so many reasons, this mentality is unhealthy and untrue. Saying no to alcohol can be challenging, and it is something Mountainview Recovery can help you with. It may result in some short-term challenges you will need to overcome to sustain your success, but once you have gotten past your addiction, everything about your life will come easier, clearer, and with greater passion.
It may not be difficult to see why a life without dependence is so much more satisfactory than one that relies on alcohol as a primary influence. The hard part, however, is knowing whether or not you actually have a problem.
How to know whether or not you are a high-functioning alcoholic
- Drinking alone. It is arguably the number one sign that you have a problem that needs addressing. Drinking alone is often a sign that you cannot wait for others to enjoy a beer, you cannot stand to be alone with yourself, or you cannot fathom living in the moment with sober thoughts. Next time you reach for an alcoholic beverage when you are alone, ask yourself: do I really need this drink? If the answer is yes, it is time to talk to someone.
- Mood swings. If you frequently feel irritated, sad, or angry, these emotions could be signs of depression or anxiety that need separate attention; however, if those feelings often coincide with bouts of happiness and elation – especially when you drink – you may need to speak with a professional to diagnose your condition.
- Not knowing when to stop. If enjoying a drink after work makes you happy and no one has a problem with it, by all means, enjoy. If, however, you cannot stop after one, there may be a larger issue at hand that needs to be discussed.
- Financial or health problems. If you still drink when your doctor tells you it is not a good idea, or even after you notice that you are low on cash, you may want to consider seeking treatment.
- Ignoring the warning signs. It is one thing to genuinely not know if you have a problem. It is another entirely to ignore the signs that you may need help. If you fear you may have a drinking problem, please talk to someone. You may just be going through a rough patch, or you might need serious rehabilitation services. Either way, you will feel better once you have opened up, and your life will change for the better if you do need assistance.
High-functioning alcoholics are difficult to spot because they do not exhibit the typical warning signs and symptoms of an alcohol abuser. In many cases, these types of alcoholics have to recognize their own issues before treatment, which can be very difficult for some people to do.
If you fear that you may be one of the many high-functioning alcoholics in the North Carolina area, please call our 24/7 hotline at (833)-489-4460 to learn more about our programs. All calls are private and confidential, and our over-the-phone screening test can help to discern whether or not you need future treatment.
For more information on how Mountainview Recovery, located in Asheville, North Carolina, can help struggling alcoholics get back on their feet, visit mountainviewrecovery.com.