High-Functioning, but Still an Alcoholic
Although most people struggling with alcoholism find it difficult to conceal their use – for the high-functioning alcoholic their ability to exceed every aspect of their lives while concealing their drinking is the key to their success. And, while they made hold fast to the denial that because their life is not falling apart they don’t have a drinking problem the fact is that they are high-functioning, but still an alcoholic.
What does HFA mean?
A high-functioning alcoholic or HFA is someone who does more than just maintain their lifestyle and responsibilities while continuing their alcohol use. Unlike the stereotypes associated with alcoholism such as the inability to hold down a job, homelessness, relationship dysfunction and money and legal woes; for the HFA it is all about appearances. The HFA can not only hold down a job, but they excel in the work environment and are quite successful. In fact, it is their success that allows them to deny that they have an alcohol problem. In most cases, their argument is that if they had a drinking problem, it would affect their work, relationships, finances, etc.
Studies conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism nearly 20 percent of persons struggling with chronic alcohol use are functioning alcoholics; whereas alcohol addiction counselors argue that 75 to 90 percent are high-functioning alcoholics. Millions of professionals including doctors (including surgeons), lawyers, professors (teachers), journalists (and commentators), CEOs, and many who put their lives on the line (as well as the lives of others) battle chronic alcoholism and are high-functioning alcoholics. A further complication for helping HFAs is that they do not fit the definition established by the psychiatric diagnostic manual for alcohol abuse or alcoholism. They may have alcohol dependence but not the stereotypical problems that accompany alcohol abuse – in fact many see their alcohol use as the reward for being so successful.
Help for the HFA
Less than 25 percent of persons struggling with chronic alcoholism will get the help they need to overcome their drinking. Much of the reasoning behind the lack of treatment seeking behavior is absolute denial that there is a problem. It is not until there is a chain reaction from catastrophic events – hitting rock bottom – that they will make the decision to get the appropriate help such as medical detox treatment and/or rehabilitation. Until that happens, they will continue on the current path, risking not only their health and well-being but also the lives of others who depend on them. Are you a high-functioning alcoholic in need of medical detox treatment? Gallus Detox Center can help you get sober. Call us today to speak with an admission team member. 855-338-6929.