It’s a common misconception to believe that every alcoholic displays the same symptoms. One of these misconceptions is that your life has to be falling apart if you are classified as an alcoholic. However, many people are able to live very successful lives while drinking heavily and excessively. You may not even fit society’s “mold” of what is considered an alcoholic. If you are wondering what are the signs of a functioning alcoholic, please keep reading to learn more.
Understanding the Terminology
The term “high functioning alcoholic” is used often in the world of addiction. Many people deal with a substance abuse disorder while maintaining a seemingly successful life. At the moment, around 20% of men and women suffering from an alcohol abuse disorder fall under the subtype of functioning alcoholic.
While every case is different, there are some common characteristics to look out for when you think someone you love is a functional alcoholic. These include:
• Age group of 40-60
• A family history of alcohol abuse
• 25% of men and women suffer from depression
• 50% are smokers
• Middle-to-high income bracket
• Has a steady job
• Has a family and friends, can “keep up appearances”
• Drinks alcohol every day
• Consumes five or more alcoholic drinks in a day
Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic
In many cases, functioning alcoholics do not believe that they have a problem. It’s easier to deny that there is an issue if you are able to point out various successes in life. For example, you may accuse someone of being an alcoholic, but they point out that they can hold down a 40-hour week job while taking care of their family. They may be maintaining all family and social obligations while abusing alcohol regularly.
The following are signs of a high-functioning alcoholic.
1. Lying about how much they drink
Have you confronted someone about their drinking habits only to have them obviously lie about them? Are you, yourself, lying to others about the frequency or intensity of your drinking habits? A functioning alcoholic will lie about how much they drink, usually by suggesting that they only have a drink here and there.
2. Having to have a drink earlier than normal
A functioning alcoholic may come to the point that they need alcohol the morning after a night of drinking, even with breakfast. That’s because their body is becoming so used to having alcohol in it that they are beginning to need some just to function. If you drink so much that the next day you need to have alcohol with your morning coffee, it’s a definite sign of alcohol abuse.
3. Needing more and more alcohol
An alcoholic will find that it soon takes more and more alcohol to get to the level of drunkenness they want. This means that an alcohol tolerance is occurring, and your body needs more of the same to get the buzz it is looking for.
4. Memory lapses occur after drinking
When you are drinking too much, you will start having memory lapses more and more. You may even start getting “black-out” drunk, which means you are walking and talking with others but will have absolutely no memory of any of these events the next day. Blackouts caused by alcohol are now known to jumpstart psychiatric symptoms and neurobiological abnormalities in the future.
5. Becoming defensive about your habits
Are friends and family mentioning your alcohol use more and more? Are they concerned for your well-being? Are you finding yourself defending your drinking habits over and over again or denying the severity of them? Even if you or someone you care for can function normally after large amounts of alcohol, there are long-term effects that can be very damaging to the body.
Treatment for a High-Functioning Alcoholic
It doesn’t matter if you can easily hold down a job or take care of your family while you are drinking heavily. Short or long-term addiction care is important for anyone with an alcohol abuse problem, even high-functioning alcoholics. A stay in a residential treatment center or outpatient care is the first step, and we are here to give you the help that you need. Call us at 833-610-1174 to talk to a representative today.