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What is High-Functioning Alcoholism?

Research indicates that nearly 15 million Americans are coping with alcohol use disorder. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that in 2012, 6.8% of the population was entirely dependent on alcohol.

Yet many of these individuals hide their struggle, maintaining jobs and relationships for years while masking the signs of their heartbreaking addiction. People who can appear “normal” while having an addiction are high functioning alcoholics.

Even though high functioning alcoholics appear outwardly “normal,” the physical and psychological consequences of this illness are severe and often life-threatening.

But that does not have to be you. Resurgence Behavioral Health helps men and women break free from alcoholism and achieve peace of mind with health and sobriety.

Effects of High-Functioning Alcoholism

Popular culture often depicts alcoholics as individuals who exhibit obvious signs of addiction and who cannot engage in daily activities. While incarceration, homelessness, violence, and suicide can result from a serious addiction, not all addicts express addiction the same way.

Media stereotypes of addiction overlook the presence of high-functioning alcoholism. This alcoholism may go undiagnosed for years as a result of genetics, physical tolerance, social context, and other factors. Fifty-five percent of Americans report having consumed alcohol in the past month. Therefore, it is not uncommon to have a friend or relative who appears to drink regularly. Thus normalizing the behavior and making addiction even harder to detect.

But the severity of alcoholism cannot be assessed based on how well someone can “hold their liquor.” An individual who can drink large amounts without obvious intoxication is no healthier than an individual who is clearly intoxicated.

The effects of alcohol on the body and mind, including the risk of stroke, cirrhosis, heart problems, and numerous cancers, are still present. Also present is a clear link between alcoholism and depression.  Because alcoholism is a physical and mental illness, it is not easy to outrun the dangerous consequences of addiction. Those who project a healthier exterior are potentially in greater danger of having their struggle go untreated until it is too late.

Mental Illness and High-Functioning Alcoholism

In many cases, alcoholism is both triggered by, and a perpetrator of, mental illness. Pre-existing mental health issues, such as depression, PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, can increase the likelihood of developing alcohol addiction.

Research suggests that 40 – 65% of alcoholism is genetic, so some individuals will become alcoholics with only moderate exposure to alcohol. Substance use can have a significant consequence on the brain chemistry. For those predisposed to addiction, there can be higher “highs” while consuming alcohol and lower “lows” when trying to quit.

When used in small amounts, the depressive effects of alcohol are not dramatic. For alcoholics, alcohol’s effect on brain chemistry can result in depression, anger, mood changes, isolation, and suicidal thoughts.

Abuse can create a cycle of mental illness, where alcohol creates a short-term alleviation of symptoms, only to worsen them in the long-term. These negative emotions can impair relationships and increase the shame an addict feels over their illness. With this in mind, those who do not have a predisposition to alcohol addiction cannot fully understand what an addict is experiencing.

Lack of awareness of the role of genetics in addiction can lead to stigma. Stigma drives those who struggle with alcohol use to even greater lengths to hide their dependence. These high-functioning alcoholics will deny any addiction is present and may even believe that they are in control of their drinking.

Without professional treatment, those struggling with addiction are unlikely to achieve the freedom from addiction they deserve. Professional treatment addresses both the physical and psychological impact of alcohol abuse.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • 12-Step Programs
  • One on One Counseling
  • Family/Relationship Counseling
  • Inpatient Alcohol Rehabilitation
  • Nutrition Therapy
  • Yoga
  • Music/Art Therapy
  • Long-term Rehabilitation Arrangements
  • Aftercare
  • And More

Alcohol treatment is a personalized process, and no two people experience the same recovery journey. But though it may seem overwhelming, it is possible to achieve sobriety and live a happy, alcohol-free life.

And the caring team at Resurgence Behavioral Health can help you get there.

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You are about to make one of the most important choices of your life. And at Resurgence Behavioral Health, treatment is a welcoming experience. Treatment is designed to put your mind at ease and help you focus on creating the healthy, sober life you want.

As you walk through our doors, recovery, not money, should be your primary concern. And Resurgence Behavior Health offers flexible treatment and payment plans that can work within almost any budget and financial situation. We accept most PPO insurance and private forms of payment and communicate with your insurance provider on your behalf. We want to take some of the worries out of your recovery journey.

Start your journey today. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, you are not alone.

How to Get Help

Experience the Resurgence Behavioral Health difference. At Resurgence, our trained and licensed staff, providers, and caregivers deliver modern substance abuse recovery techniques. Many of these men and women understand your struggle and can coach you on your recovery journey.

Combined with our state-of-the-art treatment facility, Resurgence Behavioral Health can help you change your life and find lasting freedom from addiction. Supported by our team, you will develop healthy coping skills while building a support system that shares your commitment to recovery.

Through individual and group counseling, you will feel empowered to develop a sober lifestyle while fostering strong bonds with your peers. Along the way, you will learn about addiction, recovery, and yourself, building your resilience and breaking the grip of addiction.

Our locations in Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, and Fullerton Hills have everything needed to minimize distractions and focus on your wellness. Our holistic, evidence-based treatment program includes medical detox, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, inpatient alcohol rehabilitation, counseling, and more.

Call Resurgence Behavioral Health today and experience the recovery you deserve.

Does your Insurance Cover Rehab?

At Resurgence, we accept most PPO insurance. Verify your insurance now.