Many people associate drinking with having fun. On social media, alcohol and intoxication are somehow romanticized. People proudly share their own drunk tales and openly crave for more drunken adventures. Some even call themselves alcoholics, as if it’s completely unproblematic and socially acceptable.
Of course, drinking is meant to be a fun and safe activity. But because it temporarily alters a person’s mood, drinkers can easily lose control and binge unwittingly. They may recover quickly and live normally afterwards, but the impulse to drink every so often will likely stay.
If you find yourself acting like such, the idea that you’re turning into an alcoholic has probably crossed your mind at least once. But you if can still go to work without problems, then your drinking habits must not be that bad. Or so you thought.
A High-functioning Addict
If you still keep up with your job, household duties, and other commitments despite drinking heavily frequently, you are most likely a high-functioning alcoholic. Such alcoholics manage to maintain a level of success in more than one area of their lives, and combat their addiction discreetly.
High-functioning alcoholics commonly deny their growing alcohol problem. They insist that they’re still in control, considering their lives still appear normal. However, their problem may actually be worse.
Severity of Alcoholism
Alcoholism and other types of addiction are diagnosed on a spectrum. Hence, just because you’re a high-functioning one doesn’t mean that you won’t be considered alcoholic. Below are the eleven criteria for determining the severity of alcoholism:
- Lack of control
- Inability to quit
- Spending a lot of time to acquire alcohol
- Alcohol cravings
- Dropping responsibility
- Relationship problems
- Loss of interest in other hobbies and activities that don’t involve alcohol
- Dangerous intake
- Worsening situations
The severity of your alcoholism depends on how many criteria you meet. It would be mild if you meet two to three, but it’s still alcoholism all the same.
Adverse Health Effects of Alcohol
A glass of wine daily isn’t likely to cause problems. But go beyond that, then your body will start experiencing the cumulative effects.
Heavy drinking may cause pancreatitis, or an inflammation of the pancreas. Your liver may also suffer the same problem, because too much alcohol can impede its function to break down harmful substances in your body. Cirrhosis and other liver diseases are life-threatening.
Alcohol also affects your sugar levels. You may experience hypoglycemia if it drops too much, or hyperglycemia, if it’s the opposite. If your sugar levels become unmanageable, you may suffer greater complications and side effects similar to diabetes.
If your speech starts to slur after a number of glasses, that is the first sign of your central nervous system being damaged by alcohol. Over time, your memory will be affected, as well as your emotions, judgement, and rational thinking. Permanent brain damage may occur if your alcohol abuse becomes highly severe.
Then there’s dependency, which is probably one of the most obvious effects of alcoholism. High-functioning or not, as long you’re physically and emotionally dependent on alcohol, then you’re suffering from an addiction. You’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms, too, if you stop drinking.
When to Seek Treatment
You may abandon the idea of rehab if your friends tell you that you don’t have a problem. But chances are they also misuse alcohol, but refuse to admit it. In this case, you have to approach a true, trustworthy friend that will support your decision to consider undergoing an effective alcohol detox program.
Treatment is the best decision as well if you keep your alcoholism a secret. You don’t have to wait until you hit rock-bottom. There’s no shame in admitting that you’re choosing sobriety. Therefore, instead of further normalizing dangerous drinking habits, promote better health and self-love by seeking treatment.