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One of the great ironies of alcohol addiction is that sometimes heavy drinkers are able to maintain the appearance of success in spite of their addiction. A high-functioning alcoholic is often able to keep jobs and relationships, stay in relatively good health, and avoid legal trouble. But, perpetuating this illusion involves a delicate balance of denial and peripheral support that ultimately prevents these heavy drinkers from accepting the reality of their addiction and seeking treatment.
For the sake of a career, marriage, as well as overall mental and physical well-being, reducing or eliminating alcohol intake is imperative. The treatment Ria Health uses can give those with alcohol addiction enough control to reduce their drinking and avoid more serious social, personal and professional consequences.
As Sarah Benton writes in Psychology Today, “High-functioning alcoholics (HFAs) have an extra layer of denial because they often have not had the tangible outside losses that lower functioning alcoholics experience. The fact that they are able to function and, in many cases excel, feeds their denial and leads them to truly believe that they are not alcoholic.”
As a result, many addicts who could benefit from support never ask for it. Or when they do, it is only because the tower of illusion they have built around their alcohol addiction is threatened by adverse consequences such as job loss, divorce, illness, or jail. The “Four L’s” model (categorized by R. Roizen and C. Weisner, 1979) identifies four major areas of a person’s life that can be negatively affected by alcohol use:
- Liver: Problems related to the user’s physical, psychological, or emotional health, including illness, accidents, or injuries occurring while intoxicated.
- Lover: Problems related to the user’s relationships with family, friends, intimate partner, and children.
- Lifestyle/Livelihood: Problems related to the user’s profession, education, and other non-professional activities such as hobbies or recreation.
- Legal: Problems with the law related to alcohol use, either criminal or civil, including driving under the influence.
Such harmful impact can spiral an addict into a world of life-damaging hurt, and make it harder for them to get back to a normal, sustainable existence. Remedies for these outcomes are most times ultimatums mandated by employers, partners, judges, or doctors; the user must get help or risk losing it all. Oftentimes, the only way out of the dilemma is through behavioral therapy, a 12-step program, and/or alcohol addiction treatment—all of which create further disruption and distance from the normal rhythms of life, further risk the user’s privacy, and do not always provide lasting results.
What, then, can prevent someone from passing through one of these checkpoints in the first place? What can bring about change in drinking behavior before one of the Four L’s creates inescapable impact?
Over the last 20 years, researchers have developed a much better understanding of the biology of behavioral control. At Ria Health, we apply that knowledge to help disrupt the factors that impair that control, providing a treatment for alcohol addiction that is safe, private, and easily integrated into a person’s life. By using a revolutionary mobile app, partnered with a physician and recovery coach, and FDA-approved medication to reduce or eliminate alcohol cravings, Ria Health offers rapid improvement and enduring holistic impact while sidestepping the negative consequences of the Four L’s.
For more information about Ria Health, please contact us at riahealth.com, 800-504-5360
By Deneene Bell, Larkin/Volpatt Communications
Being High-Functioning: Feeding the Alcoholic Denial (Sarah A. Benton, MS, Psychology Today, Feb. 10, 2009)
Points: The Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society (Ron Roizen is a contributing editor)