Functional Alcoholics – Double Lives
| The Dangers of ‘Secret’ Alcoholism.
High functioning alcoholics are often individuals in powerful or highly respected professional positions.
“He was never drunk when I interviewed him.”
“It was just a mistake. He didn’t hurt anyone with the DUI.”
“He goes to work every day.”
“He is a well-respected professional.”
Protected by above average earning power and social status, functional alcoholics lead a dangerous double life. Problem drinking has consequences – even if not immediately evident.
Personality traits such as perfectionism, overachiever tendencies and a workaholic nature may help high-functioning alcoholics succeed professionally even while drinking heavily.
Functioning alcoholics appear to be ‘just fine’ – right up until the point they are hospitalized for liver failure or other complications from years of heavy drinking.
Professionals often delude themselves regarding their drinking behavior and seek help only after their career or health is falling apart.
“A landmark study in 2007 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism categorized alcoholics into 5 subtypes: only 9% are of the “chronic severe” subtype, fitting the stereotype of the low-bottom alcoholic. Other addiction experts estimate that between 75% and 90% of alcoholics are high-functioning.” From Psychology Today, Characteristics of High-Functioning Alcoholics
If alcohol consumption seems to be causing difficulties in your work life, personal life or family life – it may be time to consider that problem drinking is the cause. While it is estimated that only 10% of all problem drinkers receive treatment for alcohol use disorder – the sooner individuals enter alcohol recovery treatment and declare independence from alcohol – the better.
Family Impact of Functional Alcoholics
What is the impact of high functioning alcoholism on the families of the alcoholic? Families of functioning alcoholics experience hidden trauma. The emotional impact on the family can be devastating.
In 2016, researchers from Harvard Medical School (HMS) announced new findings that children whose parents (or caregivers) abuse alcohol…..face significantly higher risks of medical and behavioral problems, including substance abuse.
New research at Michigan State University (MSU) reported new findings that a father’s psychological well-being significantly influences the well-being of his offspring.
The findings contribute to the small but growing collection of research affirming the effects of fathers’ characteristics and father-child relationship qualities on children’s social development, rather than just the fathers’ residence in the home or presence in the child’s life.
Functional Alcoholics – Hiding in Plain Sight
High-functioning alcoholics do not match our cultural stereotype for alcoholism.
A 2007 study at the National Institutes of Health, Researchers Identify Alcoholism Subtypes, found that around 20% of all alcoholics could be considered high functioning.
“Typically middle-aged, well-educated, with stable jobs and families. About one-third have a multi-generational family history of alcoholism; about one-quarter had major depressive illness sometime in their lives; nearly 50 percent were smokers.”
Spotting Functional Alcoholics – 9 Red Flags
- No Apparent Hangovers: Functional Alcoholics have developed a high tolerance for alcohol consumption.
- Isolation – retreating to home office as soon as possible (to drink); become angry if interrupted.
- If one drink is good – two are better. Functional alcoholics can’t have just one or two drinks – and stop.
- After a period of time, memory loss and blacking out are common.
- Become angry and/or defensive if confronted regarding heavy drinking.
- Not drinking causes severe anxiety.
- Good explanations for why they drink: work stress, home or relationship problems.
- Drinking heavily often perceived as an ‘entitlement’ for their hard work.
- DUI or other legal problems; bankruptcy caused by financial mismanagement.
How to Get Help for Functional Alcoholism
Arrowhead Lodge Recovery is a gender specific residential-only rehab for men, ages 30 and older; located in the beautiful, pristine mountains above Prescott, Arizona. We are accredited by The Joint Commission.
Mature Men’s Rehab for Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Opioid Addiction and Pain, Co-Occurring Disorders
Arrowhead Lodge Recovery provides treatment for chronic alcoholism, opioid addiction with pain management and drug addiction; as well as treating co-occurring disorders. Each of our patients is given a comprehensive evaluation and assessment and has a unique personalized recovery plan.
Our average client is age 45-65+.
We use an integrated multi-disciplinary addiction treatment approach implemented by licensed professionals. The Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Staff includes a Physician-Addictionologist, Addiction Psychiatrist, Physician Board Certified in Pain Medicine, Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Registered Nurse, several Licensed Therapists, and an addiction Nutritionist.
Mindfulness training, healthy exercise, nutritional counseling and education, cognitive behavioral therapy and psychoeducation are a part of our treatment program. We have chosen to keep our facility small and staff to client ratio large. Each client receives individual therapy and counseling; as well as group therapy and counseling.
Chronic Alcoholism Treatment Program
The experienced, licensed and accredited Arrowhead Lodge Recovery staff allows us to help men with chronic alcoholism for whom previous treatment attempts may have failed.
We assist our clients in finding their personal connection to the spiritual. Through years of experience, we believe in the power of spirituality in the addiction healing process. We assist our clients in discovering their unique path to living a more authentic and joyful life.
Our addiction recovery programs treat the whole person and include Mindfulness for recovery and relapse prevention.
Impaired Professionals Well-Being Program and EAP Programs
We have an Impaired Professionals well-being program. If you are monitored by a board that oversees your professional license and requires an assessment, addiction treatment, or both – our Impaired Professionals Well-Being Program provides solutions.
We also have EAP Employee Assistance Programs.
Alcoholism Recovery Journey to Wholeness and Healing
At our mountain retreat facility above Prescott, Arizona in Prescott National Forest – men find and strengthen inner peace, and experience tranquility.
We equip our clients with the depth and stability to handle all the curves and disappointments – as well as joys – in their regular daily lives once they leave Arrowhead Lodge Recovery.
Start your journey to alcohol recovery by contacting Arrowhead Lodge Recovery.
Your confidentiality is assured when you contact us.
Speak personally and privately with Executive Director Dr. Kenneth Chance at (888) 654-2800.