The classic picture of an alcoholic as a person who always drinks too much and whose life is falling apart only pertains to a portion of people with alcohol use disorder (AUD). A significant number of people appear outwardly fine or even successful, even though they abuse alcohol. Referred to as high-functioning alcoholics, these individuals may be successful at work and home. Often only their closest friends and family may be aware of a problem. High-functioning alcoholics are usually in denial about their AUD. If you struggle with AUD, turn to a drug and alcohol detox center as a first step on the path to recovery.
Westwind Recovery® is an addiction and mental health treatment center in Los Angeles providing a full spectrum of alcohol addiction treatment. If you are concerned about how alcohol use impacts your life or the life of a loved one, contact us to learn about your treatment options.
The Portrayal of High-Functioning Alcoholics in Popular Culture
The way alcoholism is portrayed in the media is problematic for the way the general public perceives alcoholism. In television and movies, high-functioning alcoholics are depicted as slightly troubled but loveable and even celebrated characters. Popular shows like Mad Men depict high-powered men successfully balancing their careers and heavy alcohol use with little consequence. Another example is Modern Family, where the mom’s drinking is the butt of constant jokes, yet she never appears drunk and, again, is quite successful.
These stereotypes are troublesome, especially when compared to the down-and-out alcoholic portrayed as abusive, immoral, destructive, and pathetic. This contrast suggests that there are acceptable, charming forms of alcohol abuse and unacceptable, bad ones. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Signs of a High-Functioning Alcoholic
High-functioning alcoholics are often unaware of the impacts of their drinking on those around them. In addition to being in denial, they may believe that their drinking is beneficial to their success because it makes them more charming and boosts their confidence. Whatever level of success a person has attained or how well they appear to function, prolonged alcohol abuse poses significant health risks and has numerous consequences. Many high-functioning alcoholics never seek the treatment they need because of the false belief that treatment is only necessary when you hit rock bottom.
To help determine whether you or a loved one is a high-functioning alcoholic, consider these signs:
- Drinking to relax or feel comfortable
- Drinking in the morning, throughout the day, or alone
- Hiding alcohol, denying heavy drinking, or becoming angry when confronted about drinking
- Joking about alcoholism or having a drinking problem
- Losing friends or missing work or other important events
- Having lapses in memory while drinking
- Continuing to drink despite awareness of issues it is causing
While many signs of alcohol addiction are easy to spot, others may not be. High-functioning alcoholics may appear to drink moderately in public but make up for it secretly or when alone. Mild alcohol abuse is often overlooked; however, it can quickly spiral out of control. An alcohol rehab center can help you overcome AUD and begin the journey to lasting recovery.
How an Alcohol Rehab Center Can Help You
Overcoming an alcohol use disorder can be challenging, but it is not impossible. The first step is acknowledging that you have a problem. The next step is reaching out for help. At Westwind Recovery®, you will learn that alcohol does not need to rule your life.
We are a community of people dedicated to helping overcome addiction one beautiful life at a time. Substance abuse treatment in Los Angeles can help you:
- Break the cycle of addiction
- Receive education about addiction
- Uncover underlying issues that contribute to addiction
- Develop new habits and practices
- Establish healthy boundaries
- Heal damaged relationships
Contact Westwind Recovery® for Substance Abuse Treatment in Los Angeles
Alcohol use disorder occurs on a spectrum, and just because you do not fall in the severe range does not mean you do not need alcohol treatment. If you are questioning your alcohol use, you likely have a problem. If you recognize the signs of high-functioning alcoholism in yourself or a loved one, do not put off getting help. Contact Westwind Recovery® today to see what we have to offer. Call 855.340.8832.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.