Why Should High Functioning Alcoholics Consider Treatment?
High-functioning alcoholics are just as likely to benefit from alcohol addiction treatment as their peers are; however, many high functioning alcoholics are not encouraged to seek such treatment because they consider their situation acceptable as-is, and may not have friends and family urging them to get support. If you’re displaying the symptoms and may potentially be a high-functioning alcoholic, consider these seven reasons to seek treatment:
1. High-Functioning Alcoholism Is A Major Source Of Stress
Think about the amount of effort you need to put forth every day just to ensure your habits remain under wraps while at work or in social situations. This constant stress, and the stress related to the activities you undergo to conceal your alcohol abuse, can lead to feelings of isolation, guilt, and even shame. In many cases, constant stress and isolation can lead to depression and anxiety, which can cause you to choose to drink more alcohol, compounding the original situation. It’s a vicious cycle, made more severe by all the secrecy involved.
2. High-Functioning Alcoholism Can Affect Your Relationships
Stress, isolation, and depression have likely affected your relationships already. Whether you’re actively deceiving those close to you or you are expecting their assistance in maintaining your high levels of functioning in other areas of your life, you may be causing your loved ones to feel used, hurt, deceived, or betrayed. Immediate family members aware of the full extent of your drinking are likely subject to your changing moods and negative behaviors associated with your alcoholism.
3. You May Participate In Negative Behavior
As mentioned above, alcohol may lead to your engagement in behavior you otherwise wouldn’t consider, including abusive treatment of friends and family members. Sometimes, alcohol can cause you to take risks you otherwise wouldn’t take, such as driving while intoxicated or violent acts.
4. You May Begin To Experience Blackouts
Blackouts may precede or follow some bouts of risky behavior and negative interactions with others. After such instances, you may not recall your actions, which may lead you to refuse to believe they occurred in the first place. Blacking out is a sign of dangerous levels of alcohol that can negatively affect your brain over time; in addition, behaviors you engage in while blacked out may provide severe physical injuries or legal consequences.
5. Alcohol Abuse Has Severe Health Consequences
Regardless of the state of your career or social life, your physical health suffers because of heavy alcohol consumption. Liver damage is a well-known side effect of heavy drinking, but kidney function often decreases because of alcoholism as well. In addition, alcohol can weaken your immune system, affect your reaction time and brain response rate, and make you more susceptible to heart disease and cancer.
6. Tolerance Increases Over Time, Worsening Health Effects
Over time, you’ve probably noticed your body needing more and more alcohol in order for you to feel the same effects. Certainly, many high functioning alcoholics drink more now than they ever have before, increasing the risks to several body systems and overall health. In particular, ever-increasing amounts of alcohol force your liver to produce more of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which helps you to metabolize the alcohol. Unfortunately, this increased production also causes increased liver damage.
7. Alcohol Can Cause Misdiagnosis Or Missed Diagnoses Of Other Disorders
Depression and anxiety disorders, whether present before alcohol use or co-occurring, are often worsened and masked by alcoholism. Many alcoholics choose to self-medicate with alcohol, depriving themselves of adequate treatment for these conditions and worsening their effects over time. Alcohol can also mask or worsen physical conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, heart problems, and cancer. Many alcoholics fail to seek treatment for physical ailments and choose to self-medicate instead, worsening the situation.