What Is A High Functioning Alcoholic? 7 Warning Signs

In 2007, Columbia University researchers analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. They found that 4 percent of Americans had an alcohol use disorder. Among the 4 percent, 3 percent — about 9 million people — were considered functionally dependent. They may never get fired for being hungover, have a falling-out with friends or get pulled over for driving under the influence. The side effects might not catch up to them until old age, when chronic alcohol abuse takes its toll on their liver, heart and brain. It’s almost impossible to approach any high-functioning alcoholic about their drinking without risking an angry outburst.

After a detox period that usually lasts from 7-10 days, a person will need to move into outpatient or inpatient treatment. Long hoursWith highly competitive Alcoholism in family systems jobs, there are increased pressures to work longer hours. A person may also be facing financial difficulties and be forced to work longer hours.

Alcoholism Resources

Delay of treatment coupled with progression of alcohol abuse can result in more damage being done over an extended period of time, especially to relationships and their physical and mental health. There is a strong association between denial and functional alcoholics and their families. The first step toward recovery may be recognizing the signs and admitting a problem. Often, friends and family members may not realize a person has a drinking problem until the individual does, and that may take some extra effort to convince them otherwise.

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. 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. A functional alcoholic is person who seem to have his/her life in good shape Addiction but in real, they face a lot of problems in private. It is also true that if you have no relationship with alcohol, you seem like a functional alcoholic. However, people living that kind of life on the outside often have personal relationships with alcohol. In the age bracket between the ages of 15 and 24, the number of economically active people is estimated to be close to 16 million, which concerns economic experts.

Alcohol is one of the top causes of disease and death worldwide, USA Today warns, killing close to 3 million people every year. This may involve covering up drinking with breath mints or gum, and drinking before social events to keep it private. The sober self and drinking self tend to be very different from each other. The CDC’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students, during the past 30 days, 29% drank alcohol and 14% binge drank.

Blacking out, for whole nights or even for a couple of moments, is not a good sign when it comes to drinking problems. Many people make unwise decisions, and blacking out could bring out issues with family members and loved ones. Some people who have a drinking problem end up feeling ashamed of their drinking habits but continue to do it anyways. Another sign of you feeling ashamed could be shown in the way to talk to others about drinking. Some people may start binge drinking in a matter of hours, and others may do it in minutes. For this reason, many people don’t recognize drinking as an issue. If you find yourself continually ordering another round and having more than just a few drinks, this could be a sign that you are a high functioning alcoholic.

Who Is Most Likely To Be A Functioning Alcoholic?

Many functional alcoholics do not experience severe withdrawal or any symptoms at all. This is true for day drinkers and those who drink alcohol throughout the day. Treatment programs at The Recovery Village include a the signs of a high functioning alcoholic full spectrum of alcohol recovery services, from medical detox to rehab, aftercare and sober housing. When you’re ready to seek help, or if you have questions about how to live with an alcoholic, we’re here for you.

  • A person must learn new coping skills so they can turn to other behaviors instead of drinking in order to live a healthier life.
  • However, many alcoholics manage to function effectively, holding down jobs and maintaining households.
  • Long hoursWith highly competitive jobs, there are increased pressures to work longer hours.
  • When someone has developed a dependence on alcohol, for many the only way to prevent withdrawal symptoms throughout the day is to drink more alcohol.

Fill out the form below to see if your insurance covers treatment within an AAC facility now. The content on Alcohol.org is brought to you by American Addiction Centers , a nationwide network of leading substance abuse and behavioral treatment facilities. Treatment for addiction takes many forms and depends on the needs of the individual. In accordance with the American Society of Addiction Medicine, we offer information on outcome-oriented treatment that adheres to an established continuum of care. In this section, you will find information and resources related to evidence-based treatment models, counseling and therapy and payment and insurance options.

This image that is conjured in the minds of most is flat wrong and has led to many professionals and “high-functioning” people with alcohol use disorder going unnoticed. When an adult consistently drinks, their body develops a higher tolerance for alcohol.

Help A Functioning Alcoholic

The consequences of alcoholism can make it difficult for a “currently-functioning” alcoholic to remain functional over time. As a functional alcoholic, you may not realize you have a drinking problem. Day drinking and excessive drinking may cause you to develop a functional tolerance to alcohol. High-functioning alcoholics who experience cravings or the physical urge to drink have a physical dependence on alcohol. Since drinking alcohol is a normal activity, high-functioning alcoholics often blend in with their friends and co-workers who also drink regularly, but who are not alcoholics. Some high-functioning alcoholics never binge drink and rarely become drunk. Medical support with alcohol detox both limits the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, and reduces the duration of physical withdrawal.

5 Risks When Drinking Alcohol In The Summer SunSummer is a wonderful time to go outside and enjoy outdoor activities. However, when these activities include alcohol, it can be a dangerous mix. Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. Verywell Mind’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Deny the amount they drink, hide their alcohol supply, or become hostile when someone confronts them about their drinking. We offer 100% confidential substance use assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs.

People in positions of power with an alcohol problem are often more difficult to detect because they are often unsupervised at work. People who are given a lot of responsibility at work are assumed to be able to deal successfully with job stressors. High pay also enables these individuals to avoid many of the financial consequences of excessive drinking and alcohol abuse. High achievers may also view drinking as a reward for their hard work.

Dangers Of Living With Alcohol Use Disorder

They are often highly educated, keep up with regular obligations, and don’t have legal or criminal issues related to drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states, “it’s important to remember that alcoholism isn’t created overnight. Instead, it emerges from long-term alcohol abuse.” Nearly 17 million American adults are suffering from alcohol use disorder. Countless family members are within close proximity to this growing epidemic, as well. To set the record straight, alcoholism is the more widely used designation for a person suffering from alcohol addiction. Additionally, other studies estimate that as many as 75% of those with an AUD are able to function at a high level from day-to-day. It is hard to see the signs of functional alcoholism in those closest to you.

So how and when does one know if they or a loved one has a problem with alcohol. Although some individuals in recovery find value in admitting that they are an alcoholic, it is something that many find difficulty in coming to terms with. Suggesting that one is alcoholic is suggestive that one fits into a one-size-fits-all demographic, which stereotypically conjures up images of a low-functioning individual.

Signs Of A High Functioning Alcoholic

If your loved one talks frequently about drinking or plans daily activities around times they want to drink, they might be a high-functioning alcoholic. The functional alcoholic may go for extended periods without alcohol but then binge drink or drink heavily. High-functioning alcoholics seem to have control, but put themselves and others at risk.

Do not be mistaken in thinking functioning alcohol use disorder is safer than being in the general population of those with an AUD. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Use and Addiction , 14.5 million Americans ages 12 and older lived with an AUD as of 2019 and 414,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 had an AUD.

An intervention can be a great way to help a loved one recognize the impact of their drinking on those around them and help them realize that it’s time to get help. 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! When a person is diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, the severity of the condition is determined by the number of symptoms Alcoholism in family systems they have. To make matters more complex, living with a high functioning alcoholic may even feel normal among some households. After all, those battling with an AUD can still carry on throughout the day reasonably well. Experts say having an alcohol-free January can provide physical as well as mental health benefits. Not everyone experiences the most severe symptoms, but they can happen.