“I still can go to work and do my job…I pay all the bills and am never late…I never neglect my children.” These are just some of the things a person may say when they are in denial that their drinking has become a problem. According to WebMD, people who use alcohol in excess without apparent consequence are called functioning or high-functioning alcoholics.
Addiction Leads to Consequences. Period.
But the belief that addiction can continue without consequence is a myth. Just because you can still function while maintaining an addiction does not mean you don’t need help.
Signs that Someone Is High-Functioning
Those who are high-functioning in their alcohol addiction continue about their daily routines and live their life as if everything is normal. They are able to maintain stable jobs and relationships with others while under the influence of alcohol. They may not appear to others as if they have an addiction.
You may begin to notice that someone is using alcohol more frequently and find them trying to hide their drinking. They may get irritated when you question their drinking habits and refuse to admit they have a problem.
Other Warning Signs
Other signs that may indicate alcohol addiction include:
- Their drinking causes a dramatic change in behavior.
- Their drinking takes priority over eating, or they drink at every meal.
- They cannot just stop after one drink.
- They black out after drinking.
- They justify why they are drinking.
- They joke about their drinking.
- They hide their alcohol and frequently drink alone.
- They are unable to quit and fail when they attempt to stop drinking.
- They keep alcohol at work, home, and/or in their vehicle.
- They use drinking to help relax or to feel better about themselves.
- They encourage friends and family to drink with them.
- They drink whenever they are given the opportunity.
- They try to cover up the smell of alcohol by using mints or gum.
- Their drinking causes them shame, guilt, or remorse.
- They are able to separate their drinking from other parts of their life.
- They have legal or financial problems due to their drinking.
While many of these signs are obvious to an observer, they may not be obvious to the person who is drinking. Since they are still maintaining their normal routines, they may not recognize the signs of a problem.
In addition, those who are high-functioning in their addiction and try to stop drinking abruptly or are in a situation that prevents them from drinking may experience signs of withdrawal such as:
- Problems with sleep
Risk Factors for Alcohol Addiction
Certain factors can increase a person’s risk for developing an alcohol addiction, including:
- Family history of alcohol addiction
- Peer pressure
- History of childhood trauma or abuse
- Having a mental health disorder or another addiction
- Drinking at an early age
Finding Help for Yourself or Your Loved One Who Is High-Functioning
Finding help for someone who is high-functioning can be challenging. The person may not be open to the idea of treatment or even want to admit that they have a problem. In that case, an intervention may be helpful.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol addiction, we are here to help. At Twin Lakes Recovery Center, we offer a variety of programs to meet your specific needs. Whether you are looking for a residential or outpatient treatment program or a program to prevent relapse, we have you covered. We can also provide support for the entire family. To find out more about all the programs we have to offer, contact one of our addiction specialists for a consultation.