Many studies have confirmed what physicians, company commanders and mental health workers have long known. Military members who have seen combat are at a higher risk for heavy and binge drinking.
Does this mean they will all end up as skid row bums? Far from it. For many, alcohol consumption will become a way of life and they may be able to maintain a career and family life for many years.
I recently came across a website that highlights the term high-functioning alcoholics (HFA). I immediately thought of the many HFA’s I’ve known in my lifetime. Some are from my past, and some are known to me in my current life.
I’m sure many of my readers will be nodding their heads in recognition. Others might not have ever heard the term before. But I’m betting all of you know, and come in contact with, many HFA’s. You just might not know it for a fact.
From the website Addiction Intervention we learn many things about HFA’s. I’ll be pointing out some main points from the article How to Recognize a High-Functioning Alcoholic. In the intro, it is written:
They’re often unrecognizable as alcoholics, walking among us, able to carry out (at least superficially) their responsibilities. Perhaps they’re even members of our own families. The high-functioning alcoholic is very adept at concealing their alcoholism—even from themselves. But the signs are there. You just have to look for them.
High-Functioning Alcoholics are:
High-functioning alcoholics are those people who are convincingly able to go through their prescribed roles and carry out their duties—yet continue to drink alcohol. They are able to maintain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues, and keep up with their job and home. In essence, they lead a double life: they are outwardly successful, capable spouses, siblings, children or other relative, friend, and coworker, while inside they are alcoholics.
Warnings signs of HFA’s:
The longer the FHA goes without treatment, the more likely he or she will display some of these warning signs and symptoms:
- The HFA surrounds himself with others who like to drink.
- Obsesses over alcohol—the thought of alcohol is never far from the mind of the HFA.
- One drink is never enough for the HFA.
- Alcohol is part of their lives. They cannon imagine a life without alcohol.
- Tries to quit but fails.
- Has blackouts, memory losses, or worse. Physical, emotional, psychological, social and/or legal problems intensify.
Alcoholism is such a complex disease, that it takes a lot of education to begin to understand its many aspects. I hope those of you who suspect you may have a problem yourself, or have a loved one who you suspect of being a HFA, will make it a priority to become knowledgeable on this subject. We’re talking life and death here.
Alcoholism is a progressive illness. It won’t get better on its own. It only gets worse. But with knowledge, there is great hope.
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