How to Notice a Functioning Alcoholic

How to Notice a Functioning Alcoholic

Ask anyone who has entered a drug rehab facility, and they will tell you that they feature people from all walks of life. While you might have an idea in your head of what an alcohol abuser looks like, there is no single feature that defines them.

In fact, even as you walk down a city street, you could be surrounded by people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) who seem to function just fine. So, what is a functioning alcoholic, and how do you notice one?

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

A high-functioning or functional alcoholic is not a medical diagnosis, but it’s a term that some people use to describe someone who can function in society while also being dependent on alcohol.

They may be able to balance their home life, work life, and responsibilities, and they even appear healthy, both mentally and physically. These are definitely not people you may think could benefit from a drug rehab facility.

However, underneath the surface, someone with AUD is fighting intense cravings for alcohol, and are wondering about when they can have their next drink. They may not share their problem with others, but it’s always there in the background.

Who is More Likely to be a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

You might have your own ideas surrounding what someone with alcohol use disorder looks like. Still, a high-functioning alcoholic tends not to be what you expect.

The National Institutes of Health says they tend to be middle-aged people with stable jobs, families, and education. There are, however, some risk factors that make some people more susceptible than others.

They might experience high levels of stress and have a mental health problem, like depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia. They may also have low self-esteem, even if they don’t act like someone that does. Some functioning alcoholics may feel peer pressure or have a relative with AUD, as well.

You can also define a functioning alcoholic as someone who has more than five drinks per day, and more than seven drinks per week for females, or more than 14 for males.

How to Notice a Functioning Alcoholic

People who suffer from alcohol use disorder don’t walk around with a sign on their head that labels them. In saying that, there are signs that you or someone you know may have a problem. These may also signal the need for help or even a drug rehab facility.

If you pour a drink as soon as you get home from work, or are irritated and agitated if you can’t have one, then those are two strong signals of AUD. You may even find that you joke about alcoholism, such as talking about stockpiling alcohol so that you don’t run out.

High-risk behaviour, such as driving under the influence, hiding your drinking, and getting into confrontations about alcohol use with loved ones, can all be alarm bells.

High-functioning alcoholics, like those who suffer from alcohol use disorder, can even experience withdrawal symptoms. Nervousness, agitation, mood swings, shakiness, depression, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and more, can all align with not being able to have a drink.

Getting Help as a Functioning Alcoholic

The first thing you need to do is identify that you have a drinking problem. From this point on, you can go about seeking help. Visit your GP to learn about outpatient treatment, support groups, and even drug rehab facilities that can be of assistance.

Alcohol reliance can affect your life and that of your loved ones. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can get your life back on track to lead a healthier, happier lifestyle.