For many there is a stereotypical view of what it means to be an alcoholic. They see it as drinking alcohol all the time, wrecked careers, hiding booze, poor family providers and possibly homeless and destitute.
But the latest research and the majority of expert opinion is now suggesting that only 9% of known alcoholics fall into the ‘chronic’ category whilst somewhere between 75% and 90% are ‘High Functioning Alcoholics’
These people are usually financially successful, live in nice houses, wear nice clothes and give the outward appearance of being a ‘high achiever’. The amount of alcohol they drink will be seen as irrelevant and a natural consequence of their chosen lifestyle, they cannot possibly be alcoholic because the appearance simply ‘doesn’t fit’
This type of established thinking is naive at best and potentially fatal at worst.
The danger is that unless there is a clear understanding about what alcoholism and alcohol dependence really are then the same old view will be taken. Alcoholics will be seen as people who are at ‘rock bottom’ for reasons that are obvious to the whole world. Successful people will be ‘heavy drinkers’ and couldn’t possibly be alcoholic because of the ridiculous stigma that is attached to it, usually by those without a clue as to what alcoholism and drug dependence actually are.
Would it surprise you to learn that you can drink alcohol within the recommended guidelines and still be an alcoholic?
It is entirely possible to be addicted and to be ‘successful’, although the long term outlook is not that good. The problem with alcohol is that the human body and thereby the mind build tolerance to its effects and as a result it progressively takes more alcohol to get the desired effect. But remember that alcohol causes damage every time it enters the human body, without exception.
Continuing with this behaviour means that at some point the liver will stop functioning or some kind of cancer or other nasty alcohol related illness will develop. The NHS spends about £2.7 billion treating alcohol related illnesses every year, and its increasing.
Alcoholism and alcohol dependence is not about how much alcohol you drink. It’s about why you drink it.
Do you have a complete understanding of why you drink alcohol?