The high functioning alcoholic

The image of the homeless elderly man stumbling with a bottle in hand is as stereotypical as it is outdated. Today's alcoholic is no longer so easy to identify. Alcoholism occurs in every layer of the population and at every level. In fact, nearly 20% of the 18 million alcoholics in the United States is a "high-achieving alcoholic."

A good job, a nice car, a nice holiday twice a year, close family ties and a rich social life: the high functioning alcoholic is a master at living a double life. They are seen by society as hardworking individuals who set a good example for others. However, when they are alone, they are someone else, unrecognizable to their environment: a covert alcoholic.


A so-called high-achieving alcoholic is not likely to admit to having a problematic relationship with alcohol. This is partly due to the success the problem drinker has built up. Just look at what he has achieved, you can't do that if you have an alcohol problem, can you? Also the immediate environment will not be able or willing to believe that there is an addiction. After all, he or she is a hard worker / nice colleague / good friend / dear partner / reliable son et cetera. Also, the alcoholic in question has learned over the years how best to separate his personal and professional life from his secret drunkenness. On top of that, the addict will never want to admit that he has an alcohol problem, because he is very aware of the negative association that society has with regard to alcohol. All this added together makes diagnosing addicts among high-achievers very difficult.

Doubly misleading

High-achieving alcoholics are successful people who seem to have all their affairs in order. They look good, wear nice clothes, are polite and more importantly, they are able to hide most signs of addiction. Many high-achieving alcoholics do not show any withdrawal symptoms for days, and sometimes for weeks. But make no mistake: during these 'drought periods' they are completely psychologically dependent on alcohol and are constantly concerned with questions such as where and when they can drink again.

Women and alcoholism

Interestingly, it is believed that more women than men are high-functioning alcoholics. This is because women are better at hiding their alcoholism because they worry about what others think or are afraid of losing their family or relatives. It has been shown that high-achieving alcoholics in general are more likely to become alcoholics in general.

Grab your chance

Do you recognize yourself to a greater or lesser extent in the above story? Then IkPas is a great opportunity to consciously reflect on your drinking behavior and associated patterns. The great thing is that thousands of people are joining you and that's serious support! Do you need extra help? Look at the bottom of this newsletter for specific help.


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