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What Are The Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic?

The same study shows that functional alcoholics make up nearly 20 percent of alcoholics in the United States. These people are generally middle-aged and can maintain stable careers, families, and social lives. Although often reluctant to seek help, functional alcoholics are still at risk of developing alcohol-related health problems.

what is a high functioning alcoholic

Functional alcoholics excel in their work life and are usually well-respected by peers. And the alcoholic always has a ready and very persuasive explanation for their drinking. Unity Behavioral Health, Unity Recovery Center and Behavioral Health Centers have consolidated treatment and alumni programs. If you or a loved one are looking for help, please contact us to receive the same excellent treatment and beautiful locations you have come to know and love. According to a study done by the National Institutes of Health , young adults make up a majority of alcoholics in the United States at just above 50 percent.

The Inescapable Reality of Alcoholism

If you or a loved one is struggling, give us a call to learn more about our programs and how we can help. As discussed above, it’s not always easy to spot if a loved one is a high-functioning alcoholic. If you believe they’re showing signs of being a high-functioning alcoholic, you may be wondering what’s the best way to approach such a sensitive situation. One of the best ways to approach the subject is to consider having a frank and open discussion about the impact of their alcohol use. This can help encourage them to seek help from a licensed addiction treatment facility. A high-functioning alcoholic will often consume the same amount of alcohol as someone with a crippling AUD.

what is a high functioning alcoholic

Here’s how to identify the warning signs, avoid codependency and seek support. If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today. Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober. They take care of their families, always pay their bills, and avoid trouble with the law. In fact, their families and friends might not even know they are alcoholics if they show no signs of having a substance use disorder. Some high-functioning alcoholics will even keep their alcoholism a secret or fail to recognize it themselves.

Defensive About Their Drinking Habits

It is important to understand that these people’s achievements are earned in spite of, and not because of, alcohol use. Regardless of personal success, prolonged alcohol abuse carries serious health risks and poses many negative consequences. Unfortunately, a combination of denial and a lack of support from their family and friends often prevents high-functioning alcoholics from ever getting treatment. Nevertheless, high-functioning alcoholics face medical and legal risks from drinking excessively.

  • Eventually, some family members living with a functional alcoholic may question their own sanity.
  • According to 2020 data by the CDC, nearly 30,000 people died that year from alcoholic liver disease .
  • You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
  • Unfortunately, there are many more problems the once-functioning alcoholic could potentially face.
  • In the meantime, here are some behaviors that can indicate a person may be a high functioning alcoholic.

Is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Through charitable support and a commitment to innovation, the Foundation is able to continually enhance care, research, programs and services, and help more people. Yes, although most people who are high-functioning do not meet the criteria for a full diagnosis of alcohol abuse disorder, excessive drinking can lead to many problems in the future. Excessive, chronic drinking can also cause forgetfulness, and cause high achievers to miss important work deadlines or other career-related tasks and functions. Long-Term drinking over the safe, daily limit can cause liver impairment, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and serious nutritional deficiencies. Heavy drinking also puts people at risk of falls and other injuries.

Jokes or brags about drinking

Our beautiful facilities in Scottsdale, Arizona are staffed with addiction experts and masters-level clinicians trained to help clients learn how to live healthy, sober lifestyles. Our mission is to provide compassionate care, combined with evidence-based treatment therapies for people struggling with addiction and mental health. Oro Recovery provides compassionate care, combined with evidence-based treatment therapies for people struggling with addiction and mental health. Finally, loved ones can send a clear message that they do not support their drinking, distance themselves with love and urge an individual to seek addiction treatment. Apart from regular, excessive alcohol consumption, there are other factors that can put a person at risk of becoming a functional alcoholic.

  • Eventually, a functional alcoholic will find that their alcohol addiction causes them serious problems.
  • At the time, they may not seem extremely intoxicated, but when asked about their behavior the next day, they’re unable to remember what happened.
  • For this reason, these factors are a part of the diagnostic criteria.
  • In some cases, high-functioning alcoholics simply don’t drink during the day.
  • After more intensive programs at our treatment centers, ongoing support is crucial.

In severe cases, alcohol withdrawal can cause fever, seizures, hallucinations, agitation, and confusion. This form of withdrawal is termed delirium tremens and can cause harm to those who attempt to quit drinking without proper treatment. Serious cases of alcohol withdrawal and delirium tremens can lead to death. They may become careless and drive while intoxicated while accompanied by children, or participate in sexual acts while drunk. Binge drinking is a high risk not only because of these behaviors but also due to its substantial negative impact on your health. Functional alcoholics also joke about drinking often as a way to validate their habit. What’s worse, they are more likely to participate in troubling behaviors but are proficient in not getting caught.

How Fresh Start Recovery Center Can Help

A functional alcoholic often consumes as much alcohol as someone with an alcohol use disorder. Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. A functional alcoholic parent may not physically neglect or abuse their child – but emotional neglect can occur and leave significant scars. Functional alcoholics feel ‘entitled’ to drink due to career stress and success. Another common sign of high-functioning alcoholics is that they are able to separate their drinking from other parts of their life.

Why do I feel like I need alcohol?

You may feel like alcohol is your coping mechanism: a way to deal with depression, stress, anxiety or other difficult feelings. You might be nervous about what life would be like if you stopped drinking or cut back. But relying on alcohol to manage your mental wellbeing can become a problem in itself.

However, just because you don’t fit the mold of what you consider a typical alcoholic doesn’t mean you don’t have a serious problem that can be dangerous and even deadly. Take a closer look at your relationship with alcohol and understand the signs of being a high-functioning alcoholic. Even if your alcohol use isn’t at a level where it’s taken over your whole life, we can help you regain complete control. He’s now in his early thirties but has health issues, such as high blood pressure, that are typically experienced by people who are twice his age. Despite fully feeling the consequences of his years of heavy drinking, he’s still fulfilling all of his obligations at work and home. Everyone in his life can recognize his issue with alcohol, but Josh remains in denial about the root of his life’s problems.

The Challenges of Being a High-Functioning Alcoholic

It is very difficult living with an alcoholic; alcoholism affects the whole family. Outpatient programs are usually less intense than inpatient ones. Instead of staying at a treatment center, you’ll remain at home but have a regular therapy schedule and other treatment options. If you or your specific treatment provider feel it will be beneficial, medication management may also be incorporated into an outpatient program. Our treatment centers can provide help for co-occurring disorders during your inpatient stay.

  • Treatment centers offer inpatient and outpatient programs and allow for detox under doctor supervision.
  • High-functioning alcoholism is still alcoholism, and high-functioning alcohol abuse is still alcohol abuse.
  • Individual therapy, combined with marriage or family counseling, can strengthen your self-esteem and help you build a healthy, sober relationship.
  • However, many alcoholics manage to function effectively, holding down jobs and maintaining households.

While cirrhosis scars from excessive drinking are irreversible, quitting alcohol and leading a healthier lifestyle can help your liver heal from alcohol-related what is a high functioning alcoholic liver disease. When you’re living with a high-functioning alcoholic, your own health is at stake as well as the welfare of your loved one.

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