What is a High Functioning Alcoholic? Signs and Symptoms

When most people think of alcoholism, they may imagine a person who doesn’t have a job, relationships, or responsibilities. However, while alcoholism can leave a person’s life in disarray, there are people affected by alcoholism that seemingly keep their lives together. Typically, these types of alcoholics are referred to as high functioning alcoholics. But, what is a high functioning alcoholic, and what are the signs and symptoms of this type of alcoholism?

What is a High Functioning Alcoholic?

Alcoholism is when a person is dependent physically on the use of alcohol. And, consumes enough alcohol that they experience consequences from drinking as well as experienced withdrawal when they stop. A high functioning alcoholic is someone who is dependent on alcohol, experiences the consequences of addiction, and may experience withdrawal when drinking while also continuing to meet the needs of their responsibilities.

Due to the fact that high functioning alcoholics may seem to have their affairs in order and that consuming alcohol isn’t something that has damaged their lives to the fullest extent, it can be challenging for these individuals to come to terms with the fact that they are alcoholics. And, it can be difficult to pinpoint whether or not a person in your life is a high functioning alcoholic. Fortunately, there are some signs and symptoms of this type of addiction and addictive personality that can help to identify this issue.

Some of the signs and symptoms of functional alcoholism can include:

Drinking in Secret or Alone

If someone is drinking alone or keeping their drinking a secret, it is easier to be a functional alcoholic. Avoiding others while drinking can be a sign that a person is afraid of the judgment of others and doesn’t want to have to face others’ opinions on their drinking habits. If you find that you are drinking in secret to avoid having to have unwanted conversations with loved ones about your drinking, this may be a sign that you’re a functional alcoholic.

Drinking More Frequently and Earlier

It’s often thought that alcoholics start their day with a drink. But, it’s possible to have a problem with alcoholism and spend most of the day not drinking. However, when a person begins to drink earlier in the day and more often, this can be a sign of the beginning stages of alcohol addiction. And, can also be a warning sign of high functioning alcoholism.

Needing to Drink Before Events to Have Fun

It’s not uncommon for people to have a drink or two before they go to a club, a sporting event, or a date. But, if this is something that you feel you need to do before getting together with others socially to have fun, this can be a sign of a drinking problem. Feeling the need to ‘pregame’ to have fun can indicate that you are not using alcohol recreationally, but as a crutch in order to manage emotions or feel a certain way while around other people.

Getting Help as a High Functioning Alcoholic

Do you feel that your drinking is getting out of control even though you are still able to adhere to your responsibilities? This may mean that you are struggling with alcoholism but at a highly functional rate. High-functioning alcoholics still need help in order to overcome addiction and should understand that the consequences of their drinking may become heavier and more challenging as time goes on. Don’t wait – get help now through an outpatient substance abuse addiction program, like the one available through Delray Center for Healing.