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Drinking...Whats the problem?

Many people try to find the common discriminator when it comes to alcoholism. The truth is that alcoholism does not discriminate across socioeconomic class, occupation or gender. Too often there is an inaccurate stereotype around the issue of alcohol abuse and dependence that keeps people from identifying the issue.

One assumption is that a high-powered or high-functioning person may work really hard, live a disciplined life and therefore does not suffer from addictions or challenges. However, many observers may not realize what is going on “behind the scenes”; the truth behind the façade. This reminds me of Facebook in some ways—people posting the images that they want others to associate with them in order to create a “profile” of themselves. This is also true of the high-powered and high-functioning individual suffering from alcoholism—the belief that over-achievement will convince others that they do not have a problem with alcohol. All made possible by the original stereotype of the “homeless/low-functioning” alcoholic that only represents about 10% of all alcoholics according to the NIAAA 2007 study on subtypes of alcoholics.

Profiling is used in forensic psychology in order help solve criminal cases, and it is also something that we all naturally do in our minds on a daily basis. We tend to group people into “types” and automatically make assumptions about behaviors that we believe or do not think they would engage in. This human tendency is one of the barriers to high-powered and high-functioning people reaching out for help from alcoholism. It also keeps their loved ones and colleagues from being able to identify, confront and support their need for treatment.

Alcoholism is not based on one’s appearance, job functioning, academics status, or class. It is based on assessing a person’s relationship to alcohol based on the following:

  1. Do you or your loved one express or exhibit cravings? Do they/you refuse to go to social functions where drinking is not an option?

  2. Does having one drink set off an avalanche to drink more and more without a healthy “shut off”?

  3. Do you or they fantasize/obsess about drinking? When will be your next drink, how much drinking there will be? Do you or they obsess about alcohol when drinking it and also when not drinking.

  4. Does the person you love behave in a manner that is not consistent with their value system? Become overly flirtatious? Become belligerent?

  5. Are these repeating these patterns that, no matter how many times they try they can’t/won’t stop?

If you have answered yes to many of these questions alcohol may be a problem for you or your loved one. You can call us at 954-384-9373.

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