Could your Loved One be a High Functioning Alcoholic?

Alcoholism doesn’t always present itself in the way you may think. Some of the stereotypes that surround alcoholism are that these people are poor, homeless, unemployed, unmotivated, stumbling around, and their life is falling apart. But for many people this is far from the truth.

There are plenty of successful adults who are struggling with addiction. They hold down full-time jobs, have homes and families, are involved in the community, and seem to have it all together. But these same successes can be both what increases their risk of addiction and what keeps them from seeking treatment.

It can be easy to overlook their excessive drinking because they are very skilled at hiding it. They find ways to cover it up or make reasonable sounding excuses for their behavior. You may think that because they don’t appear to be struggling, their drinking isn’t a big problem. But on the contrary, it is a problem. Here’s why:

  • Their judgment is still being impaired even if it is not as noticeable. They are still subject to making risky decisions and at risk for injuring themselves or others.
  • Their body is still feeling the brunt of the alcohol. They are damaging their organs and increasing their risk for liver failure, heart disease, cancer, and other problems. Because they have developed a tolerance, they have to drink even more to feel the effects, which can be even more harmful.
  • They can still experience mood swings and become more aggressive or irritable when they drink. Though not everyone who drinks becomes violent, some people do, and this can be dangerous. Their intention is not to hurt, but when they’re intoxicated, their emotions can be harder to control.
  • Eventually the consequences will become more evident. Their drinking will have a negative effect on their work, finances, health, relationships, and more. They may be in denial now, but it will catch up with them.

Warning Signs that May Indicate an Alcoholism Problem

Not everyone who is a high-functioning alcoholic displays the same symptoms, but these are some common signs you may notice:

  • Drinking in excess of recommended guidelines. (No more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.)
  • Prioritizing drinking over other responsibilities. They may miss out on events, dinners, or other obligations because they were intoxicated. However, at work they are often commended for their performance.
  • Making jokes about their own drinking habits or those of others. They may try to laugh at themselves as a way of covering up that they have a problem.
  • Rationalizing their drinking by saying they only drink after dinner or on weekends, or saying they only have beer and not hard liquor. In reality, they may not follow their own self-imposed limitations.
  • Isolating themselves during their free time. When others are around they may be the life of the party, but away from the office, they may keep to themselves so they can drink in privacy.
  • Having trouble remembering conversations or actions while they were intoxicated. In the moment they may have seemed fine, but later that day or in following days, they can’t recall what occurred.
  • Denying that they have a problem. When you bring up their drinking, they may become defensive or upset. They don’t see it as an issue because they have convinced themselves that they have everything under control.

Seeking Help

If one or more of these warning signs describe your loved one, they may be a high-functioning alcoholic. Taking action to get them the treatment they need can save their life and career. Staging an intervention with the assistance of an intervention specialist can open their eyes to the reality of the problem. You can express your concern and support in a constructive way that encourages them to enter a drug and alcohol rehab problem.

Because they are so successful in their career, they may be reluctant to agree. However, an executive rehab facility can offer them the comprehensive care and flexibility that they desire. These centers are designed with professionals in mind and offer top notch amenities, peaceful environments, and access to phone and Internet so that they can stay connected. When taking an extended leave from work does not seem feasible, they may be able to find a happy medium at an executive rehab.

Chapters Capistrano offers customized treatment programs for executives who are ready to enter into recovery and make the most of their future. If you or a loved one is a high-functioning alcoholic, there is help available. Don’t let addiction be your downfall. Contact Chapters Capistrano at 949-276-2886 to learn more about how our executive rehab program can meet your needs.

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Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance use disorder, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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