What Is A Functional Alcoholic?

Examples include sweating, shaking, or feeling sick to your stomach. We know the struggle, which is why we’re uniquely qualified to help. High-functioning alcoholics deny their drinking is a problem, swayed by their success. Here’s how to identify the warning signs, avoid codependency and seek support. Give us a call and we can help find the right treatment program for you or your loved one – even if it’s not ours! Each of our programs offers supportive services throughout treatment and long-term sobriety. We take a step-down approach as clients move from in-house to outpatient care.

When asked to picture the typical alcoholic, many people will think back to portrayals of alcoholism they have seen in forms of media – TV dramas, films, and descriptions in books. However, what this often fails to capture is the reality that there is no single set of characteristics that can accurately describe every alcoholic. To that end, we want you to be aware that Alcohol Rehab Guide is compensated by treatment providers for the work Alcohol Rehab Guide does in the development and operation of this site. These providers were carefully vetted and selected based on the quality of treatment they provide and their rigorous commitment to ethical practices. We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery.

Aftercare resources such as 12-step groups, sober living homes and support for family and friends promote a life rich with rewarding relationships and meaning. While this does not necessarily mean they do not drink heavily every day, they are still susceptible to experiencing problems if their drinking levels increase drastically. High-functioning alcoholics are frequently not viewed as alcoholics by their loved ones, by society at large, or even by themselves. Since high-functioning alcoholics are able to seemingly perform well, their alcohol use does not appear to be problematic. As such, individuals who are high-functioning alcoholics are often not confronted by their family, friends or by their colleagues in relation to their behaviors surrounding their drinking. Furthermore, high-functioning alcoholics also lack insight into how or if their alcohol use is causing disruption to their lives. As such, there is often failure to recognize that their alcohol use is a problem leading to failure to get them help.

But having alcohol use disorder doesn’t necessarily mean a person is unable to function in their daily life. is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. People suffering from alcohol abuse are often also suffering from depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. These people also tend to use alcohol to relieve mental illness symptoms temporarily.

what is a high functioning alcoholic

That could include hosting an intervention if the person is defensive about their drinking habits. There are plenty of alcohol addiction treatment centers available, take some time to research which one would be a good fit for you. It is hard to see the signs of functional alcoholism in those closest to you. Learning more about high-functioning alcoholism is the first step in understanding how to help you or your loved one.

A Mental Health Condition

Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Continuing to use alcohol despite ongoing social or interpersonal problems caused by alcohol use. Being unable to meet obligations at home, school, or work due to alcohol use. Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. They may try to quit on their own, but the withdrawals are too unpleasant or severe.

High-functioning alcoholics don’t remain highly functional forever. If you think you or someone you know is a functional alcoholic, even someone with a mild alcohol use disorder, don’t wait until problems occur to seek alcohol rehab.

what is a high functioning alcoholic

They may have issues holding down a job, or being able to afford a house or a rental. But in many instances, some people with alcohol use disorder are able to function while still struggling with an alcohol dependency issue. Many functional alcoholics have a secret struggle with mental illness. They hide psychological disorders such what is a high functioning alcoholic as social phobias, eating disorders, and depression with their drinking. Some may be nervous or have anxiety about their competency or material security. They are often irritable, moody, withdrawn, or tearful when they are not under the influence of alcohol. In some cases, they might talk about suicide or try to hurt themselves.

You will also find information on spotting the signs and symptoms of substance use and hotlines for immediate assistance. In reality, a high-functioning alcoholic may be experiencing a great deal of stress while they maintain their drinking and all the dressings of a socially accepted lifestyle. So the appearance of functioning may be carefully manufactured to keep their alcohol use disorder unchecked and unaddressed. So it becomes difficult to ascertain the true relationship that they have with alcohol. A functional alcoholic individual’s capacity to think changes immediately after drinking, so whether he’s participating in drinking significantly alters how he conducts himself on a day-to-day basis. It is most common in those who have consumed alcohol to such a degree that their bodies cannot normally work due to the stimulant. When functional alcoholics are symptomatic, they may be engaged or distracted at work or home while doing their own lives, leaving no time to complete tasks given to them.

Signs Of Alcohol Use Disorder

Susan attended graduate school, and her drinking binges began to occur “out of the blue” every few months. She successfully completed her master’s degree and was immediately hired at a library. She maintained her job but continued to break her promises to herself about her drinking patterns. HFAs are challenging to treat compared with lower-functioning alcoholics. Their ability to what is a high functioning alcoholic maintain their personal and professional lives often makes it difficult to have “leverage” in assisting them to change their drinking habits or to abstain. They might appear resistant and use their outside successes as evidence that they are not alcoholic. However, this provides an opportunity to engage in a discussion about the stereotypes of alcoholics that exist in society.

  • Functioning alcoholics and their friends and family may think that because the abuser can pay their bills and avoid legal troubles means that they do not have an addiction.
  • You may not have experienced any serious negative effects from drinking at this point, but if you continue to nurse this habit you will inevitably suffer the consequences.
  • High-functioning alcoholics are people who appear to function normally despite being addicted to alcohol.
  • Get addiction help now (24/7 helpline)Our ApproachWe’re here for you every step of the way.
  • It’s quite common for functional alcoholics to struggle with depression.
  • When confronted about their drinking problem, a functioning alcoholic can get defensive and angry.

Regardless of how mild or severe you may suspect a person’s alcoholism is, it’s worthwhile to seek a professional opinion. Most addiction specialists have a sharp eye when it comes to the different signs of an alcoholic, and will be able to recommend a course of treatment based on the person’s needs. Drinking to relieve what is a high functioning alcoholic major or minor stress can very quickly lead to habit of frequent and heavy drinking. Although alcohol may initially provide relief, drinking on a frequent basis to relieve stress can lead to higher tolerance and alcohol dependence. This can result in cravings, concentration difficulties, and alcohol withdrawal.

Our residential drug and alcohol treatment center in Scurry offers an effective and restorative program in Texas for alcoholics to detox and overcome addiction. Regardless of how severe a person’s drinking can seem on the surface, alcoholism is a serious disease that can have both short and long-term consequences in all areas of a person’s life.

What Is A High Functioning Alcoholic (hfa)?

If you decide to talk to your high-functioning partner or loved one about their drinking, you may find that they are defensive, or in denial. It’s important to have these conversations when they are not under the influence, and keep the focus on compassion rather than judgement. If someone has several of these symptoms, it’s possible that they are a high-functioning alcoholic. And although their alcohol use may not appear dangerous yet, it can certainly become that way.

what is a high functioning alcoholic

These might include liver and brain damage, various forms of cancer and stroke. Family members of functional alcoholics need to be careful not to become codependent on their loved one. Codependence refers to helping another person to an extent that you experience health or social problems. People who are codependent on a functional alcoholic may miss work or time with their family because they’re preoccupied with hiding the fact that their loved one is an alcoholic. But alcoholism is a disease that causes individuals to compulsively drink despite knowing the health, social and legal repercussions. High-functioning alcoholics have an addiction as real as those of the people who get in car accidents, show up to work drunk or lose their family and friends. While the appearance of their drinking may seem functional, there might be hidden consequences as a result of their alcohol use disorder.

Alcoholics considered “high-functioning” might hold down jobs and family lives while struggling with an alcohol use disorder. Functional alcoholics are difficult to recognize because they try to keep their addiction a secret.

What Are The Signs Of A Functioning Alcoholic?

A high-functioning alcoholic is a person who is able to maintain what appears from the outside a successful, normal life. When you’re living with a high-functioning alcoholic, your own health is at stake as well as the welfare of your loved one. By getting help for your loved one, you may be able to avoid further consequences of alcoholism and build a healthier future for your family. Many high-functioning alcoholics are in denial about their problem because they have avoided the negative consequences of drinking. Functional alcoholics differ from those who struggle with alcoholism, primarily in how alcohol affects their lives.

While a functioning alcoholic may experience less consequences of their drinking compared to some others, they can also be in denial about the ways in which their drinking does impact their life. What fuels this kind of thinking for many functioning alcoholics is holding onto a sense of control.

what is a high functioning alcoholic

Living with a functional alcoholic often means you’re one of very few people who are aware of their drinking problem. While the Alcoholism disorder may be easier to conceal at work or in social situations, it’s harder for them to hide it from those closest to them.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment In Los Angeles

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.

Posted by: Ann Pietrangelo

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