For more than 30 years, The Executive Rehab Guide has been providing essential advice, support and connecting people suffering from a range of issues such as depression, anxiety and stress to the right treatments.
We work with individuals and families to ensure long-lasting recovery, where the sufferer can take control and ownership of their lives.
“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but I’m so grateful I made it.” – Claire S.
Do I have a problem?
One problem with alcoholism compared to harder drug use is the fact that its’ consumption and overconsumption is widely deemed acceptable in most social situations.
This brings with it a multitude of issues:
- It is harder to identify a dependency; the need to drink rather than the desire to drink.
- Since alcohol consumption is so normalised, it can be easier to hide dependency from friends and family than it would be with harder drugs.
- Since alcohol consumption is so normalised, it can be easier to convince our selves that our habits are not major problems.
- It can be more difficult to stop if your social life and pastimes revolve around going to the pub or bar with friends.
Some of these issues translate to other drug dependencies too. It is not uncommon for “harder” drug use to become normalised in high stress working environments, where workers are stressed, exhausted and dependent on substances to get them through the day or week.
However, these “one-off” instances can quickly develop into dependencies if they are not addressed.
Is your behaviour out of control?
We often think of a “scale of addiction,” whereby certain behaviours may be deemed “bad” but not life-threatening e.g. addiction to food, shopping, gambling, sex, relationships or money.
We think of some addictions as more serious e.g. alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, and some are deemed the worst, e.g. heroin.
However, it is helpful to remember that this scale is not necessarily true to lived experience, and many people can ruin their lives with a gambling addiction or food issues, whereas others can use “hard” drugs now and again and it won’t implicate their life in any drastic manner.
For this reason, it is more helpful to focus on the behaviour motivating the drug use, rather than the drug being used itself.
For those who are under a lot of pressure, or are dealing with general anxiety or depression, it is normal and even natural to turn to something to make things easier to endure.
However, it is easy to quickly lose control over this and for alcohol or drugs to become a necessity rather than a choice.
Hiding addiction behind a successful career
A ‘high-functioning alcoholic’ is a person who maintains a stable job and relationships while exhibiting characteristics of alcohol dependency.
The ability to do this can often be used as a kind of defence to convince yourself and others that “everything is okay” and your issue is not that severe.
Those who can do this are often hit with a bigger issue: denial.
The ability to keep things “looking normal” provides a facade to convince yourself that you are in control.
Sometimes it can take a major event such as getting a DUI, or hurting yourself or someone close to you, to convince someone that they need help.
If you can pinpoint your problem, and accept the available help – you can avoid reaching this level of disorder.
It is often difficult to be objective and admit that your drinking has become a problem.
The easiest and most honest way to answer this question is to ask yourself some basic questions:
- Does your drinking (or other substance use) harm your life?
- Does your drinking (or other substance use) hurt or upset those around you?
- Do you often feel out of control in regards to your need to drink or use?
- Are you currently happy with your life as it is?
Although the answers to these questions will, of course, indicate that you need help, the truth is that if you are already asking this question then you probably do.
If your life is being negatively impacted by your drinking or alcohol use then you probably have an addiction.
The idea that our problem is not severe enough to require rehab, comes from the limited stereotypes we see of those with drug and alcohol dependencies.
Truthfully, there are probably many people you know who are suffering from similar issues.
According to SAMHSA’s 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only 11.1% of people aged 12 or older who needed substance use treatment received treatment at a speciality facility in 2018.
The criteria outlined in the DSM are generally used by professionals to help determine the presence and severity of a substance use disorder.
- Lack of control: The substance is used in larger amounts or over a longer time than the person originally intended.
- Desire to limit use: Desire to cut back on use but the inability to do so.
- A considerable amount of time spent trying to acquire substance
- Cravings: The user experiences an intense desire or urges to use their drug.
- Lack of responsibility: Substance use takes priority over work, school or home obligations.
- Problems with relationships: Interpersonal relationships are consistently strained from drug use.
- Loss of interest: User stops engaging in important social or recreational activities in favour of drug use.
- Dangerous use: Continued use despite dangerous circumstances.
- Worsening situations: Continued use despite worsened physical or psychological problems.
- Tolerance: A need for larger amounts of the substance to achieve the desired effects.
- Withdrawal: This can be physical and emotional. Side effects may include anxiety, irritability, nausea and vomiting.
Where do I go from here?
If you can relate to anything mentioned in this article, it may be helpful for you to consider an inpatient rehabilitation centre.
Castle Craig provides a facility to address these issues, with the support of healthcare specialists and those who have been in or are currently in a similar position.
You can fill out a self-assessment questionnaire here or click here to find out more about professional assessment for alcohol and drug issues.
Alternatively, if you would like to talk to one of Castle Craig’s advisors, and learn more about what treatment could suit you, call the 24-hour helpline on 0808 231 1219.