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The face of the alcoholic needs to be changed and the walls of denial must be broken down in order that alcoholics everywhere can receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
More information on this topic is available in my new book A very interesting breakdown.
Sadly, according to the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions only 25% of alcoholics ever receive treatment-indicating a serious problem of denial on a societal level.
HFAs can exhibit various characteristics at different times or phases of their drinking that can be broken down into different categories and include but are not limited to: Denial:• have difficulty viewing themselves as alcoholics because they don't fit the stereotypical image • believe that they are not alcoholics because they are successful• use alcohol as a reward and/or justify drinking to relieve stress Professional and Personal Life:• able to maintain consistent employment and/or gain an education• well respected for job/academic performance and accomplishments Interpersonal Relationships:• sustain friendships and family relations• have romantic relationships Drinking Habits:• one alcoholic drink sets off a craving • obsess about the next drinking opportunity• display personality changes and/or compromise morals when intoxicated• repeat unwanted drinking patterns and behaviors"Double Life":• appear to the outside world to be managing life well • skilled at living a compartmentalized life (separating their professional and drinking lives)• appearances contradict the alcoholic stereotype Hitting Bottom:• experience few tangible losses and consequences from their drinking, often by sheer luck • experience recurrent thoughts that because they have not "lost everything," they have not hit bottom My understanding of HFAs is also from a personal perspective-I have been in recovery from alcoholism for almost 5 years.
My understanding of a definition of an addiction, one that appears frequently throughout the literature, is "continued (drug) use inspite of adverse consequences". Your understanding of the term addiction in the general sense is correct.
Many are not viewed by society as being alcoholic, because they have functioned, succeeded and/or over-achieved throughout their lifetimes.
A landmark study in 2007 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism categorized alcoholics into 5 subtypes: 20% are the "functional" subtype, 32% are the "young adult" subtype, 21% are the "young antisocial" subtype, 19% are intermediate familial subtype (middle-aged with mental illness), and only 9% are of the "chronic severe" subtype, fitting the stereotype of the low-bottom alcoholic.
The term "high-functioning alcoholic" is one that most people seem to understand or identify with, but ironically it has yet to be formally defined or examined.
Support groups: The most common form in the popular consciousness supports addicts, but in both reality and fiction, all varieties of personal problems have groups dedicated to group therapy for them.
Either way, it's cheaper than paying for a psychiatrist.