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National News

Wednesday, 27 May, 2009 12:17 PM

Will grads outgrow the 'college drinking' lifestyle? An expert reveals warning signs

Photo credit: www.amazon.com

 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 72% of people have a single period of heavy drinking that last 3-4 years (usually during college) and peaks during ages 18-24 and then they phase out of it. Therefore, 22% do not phase out of it or do not pass through that type of phase.

For 'most' of us.... This period, our best drinking days, was probably in college.

Now, as graduations occur across the country and a fresh crop of young professionals leave their hallowed walls for cubicles and higher degrees, a big question comes to mind, "Will they outgrow the 'college drinking' lifestyle?"

Sarah Allen Benton, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor of college aged students and a recovering alcoholic, did NOT outgrow it. And now wants to help others recognize common warning in her new book: Understanding The High-Functioning Alcoholic: Professional Views and Personal Insights.

Benton was recently featured in Jane Brody's column of the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/05/health/05brod.html?_r=1) and is also an addicition blogger for PsychologyToday.com.

 

Common warning signs for young professionals and professionals alike to watch for include:

  • Inappropriate attitudes about alcohol, including viewing drinking large amounts of alcohol as a necessary part of a job
  • Having a "work hard, play hard" mentality
  • Unusual patterns of alcohol usage, including reaching for a drink as relief from stress
  • Quickly gulping 3 or 4 drinks at social and work functions to "loosen up"
  • Drinking privately before and after a work function so as to minimize the amount of alcohol actually drunk in front of colleagues
  • Having the compulsion to drink more than others socially
  • Chronic blackouts
  • Becoming irritable and defensive about excessive drinking
  • Appearing rundown in the morning or fatigued
  • Calling in sick or not coming into work (if able to work from home) specifically on Mondays and/or Fridays
  • Frequently talking about the topic of alcohol, drinking or plans to go out drinking
  • Personality changes, such as a typically quiet person becoming
  • Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine or hydrating drinks such as gatorade before being able to start functioning in the morning


There are also some later stage, less common signs, to be on the look out for, such as: being critical and disapproving of non-drinkers; changes in work routines or productivity; a decline in the usual quality and quantity of work; displaying poor professional judgment; being unaccounted for in the middle of the day; having the smell of alcohol on the breath, especially early in the morning; shakiness and trembling hands; gradual increase in weight, mostly in the abdominal area; complaining of little energy and having trouble concentrating; being hyperactive and unable to sit still

Understanding The High-Functioning Alcoholic is an in-depth exploration of a hidden class of alcoholics and is intended to inform readers that being successful professionally or personally and being an alcoholic are not mutually exclusive. Benton challenges the stereotype of the "skid-row" alcoholic by lifting the veil on alcoholics who believe they can hide behind their external successes. Alcoholism may manifest differently in individuals, but all alcoholics have the same disease.

Source: Newman Communications, Inc.

 

 

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