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High Achievers and Alcohol Use Disorder

by | Sep 2, 2020

When professional success is a driving force for your life, it’s expected you’ll make many sacrifices to build and grow a career, but high achievers who turn to alcohol to cope with intense demands may create significant physical and mental sacrifices that negatively impact or even derail their careers. The effects may go unnoticed at first by colleagues and employees before increasing in their visibility, affecting a professional’s ability to remain in control and effectively fulfill their commitment to their work. Today, let’s talk about how these high achievers can identify if they have been living with an alcohol use disorder and what kind of treatment is necessary to protect their careers and help them achieve a sustainable recovery for both their personal and professional lives.

High achievers with an alcohol use disorder can mask their intoxication due to a high tolerance, yet they are at risk for physical, mental, and career consequences with uncontrolled drinking. These high achievers may deny they have a drinking problem and point to handling their responsibilities as a supporting evidence. For the high-profile professional with an alcohol use disorder, and potential co-occurring mental health disorder, confidential, evidence-based treatment is available in a private setting that ensures a patient’s career and reputation is protected.  

High achievers are relentless in their pursuit of what’s most important.

A professional who’s built a strong career understands how to identify what’s most important and ensure getting what’s most important is inevitable. At the same time, a high achiever with an alcohol use disorder may embody a “work hard, play hard” mentality in regards to drinking. They pursue it immediately after work, whether when they first get home or at a local establishment, and sometimes they find ways to pursue it within the work day, having drinks at lunch or in the office.

High achievers can mask their drinking with a high tolerance.

Drinking high quantities for years has given these high achievers a tolerance that prompts them to consume more to get the same feeling, and yet they may not exhibit the intoxication of someone who’s consumed far less alcohol. In fact, if they were to be tested for blood alcohol content, the results could surprise people who witnessed them drinking and didn’t notice any behavior that suggested drunkenness. While they manage to mask the level of their consumption, the health impact may have already begun and involve cirrhosis of the liver, heart problems, gastrointestinal problems, among other issues.

High achievers who drink heavily typically deny it’s a problem for them.

Facing a problem with alcohol use typically comes after a specific consequence, including criminal charges, job loss, or physical injuries. For the high achiever with the high tolerance, the lack of consequences visible to others can make denial much easier. When confronted by family members or close friends, they may have some go-to responses to use about handling their responsibilities or knowing how to balance work and fun, and they may downplay the significance with jokes about rehab or projection about other people’s drinking.

High achievers may avoid quitting due to severe withdrawal symptoms.

One sign of withdrawal daily may be an agitated state in the high achiever who has to wait to start drinking due to work demands near the end of the day. These high achievers may have attempted to quit drinking on their own but could not commit to it after experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors, profuse sweating, nausea, seizures, and hallucinations. As these withdrawal symptoms can be fatal, a person with an alcohol use disorder should only experience withdrawal under the supervision of medical professionals who can safely monitor and manage the symptoms.

High achievers can benefit from confidential help in private settings.

High achievers with an alcohol use disorder recognize the damage that can be done to their reputations and careers, and it can inhibit them from seeking help for their drinking. Fortunately, for professionals in high-profile positions, confidential treatment is available for both alcohol use disorder and mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and trauma. These programs can provide support and strategies from a multidisciplinary team for the high achiever and help them begin a long-term recovery while in a private setting.

HeadWaters at Origins is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 844-439-2837.

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