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The Signs of a High-Functioning Alcoholic

The Signs of a High-Functioning Alcoholic

Updated on 01/23/2020

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that affects millions of people a year in the United States; but because drinking is often seen as a social behavior, it can be hard to spot someone who has a serious problem with alcohol.

Contrary to a popular addiction myth, not all alcoholics are homeless or suffer from severe mental health problems. In fact, you may know several high-functioning alcoholics without even realizing it.

What is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

A high-functioning alcoholic is someone who struggles with alcoholism but still appears to lead a relatively normal life from the outside. These people appear to be fine in a social setting even though they are deeply suffering from the disease at home behind closed doors. Most of these people are productive members of society who still maintain a job and appear to have healthy relationships even though they are suffering from substance abuse. While these individuals may seem to be in control, their drinking can easily get worse and they often need the help of an alcohol treatment center to stop.

Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic

It can be hard to know the difference between social drinking and alcohol abuse. Because of this fine line, it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of a functioning alcoholic. Once you determine that you or a loved one needs help with drinking, our addiction treatment center in Illinois can help.

Signs of a high-functioning alcoholic include:

  • Having a hard time limiting the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Frequent blackouts
  • Almost always drinking or making plans that involve drinking
  • Constant denial about unhealthy drinking patterns
  • Being deceptive about drinking habits in order to make it seem like less alcohol is being consumed
  • Becoming defensive when concerns about drinking habits are brought up
  • Making jokes about alcoholism
  • Neglecting responsibilities in favor of drinking
  • Using alcohol to cope with stress or other problems
  • Change in personality and behavior when drunk
  • Drinking alone
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms

If these functioning alcoholic symptoms sound like you or a loved one, it is time to get help.

How to Help a Functioning Alcoholic

When your loved one is showing signs of being a high-functioning alcoholic, you may not know what to do, but it is important that you take action. The first step to help them is to sit down with them and express your concerns about their drinking. This should be done when they are sober; but because many high-functioning alcoholics are in denial about their drinking problems, it may be best to plan an alcohol intervention with a professional. The assistance of an interventionist will give you a greater chance of getting your loved one into treatment as well as helping you and your family through this difficult time.

If you are seriously concerned about your loved one’s drinking behaviors or struggling with your own drinking, contact Banyan Treatment Center Chicago today a 888-280-4763.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.