Know the Signs of High-Functioning Alcoholism (and How to Help a Loved One) 

Know the Signs of High-Functioning Alcoholism (and How to Help a Loved One) 

There are many stereotypes about people who struggle with alcohol. They may make a mess of things at home or in their relationships, but people who function at a higher level often don’t give any indication to most (if any) family and friends they have addiction issues. People who struggle with high-functioning addiction often don’t have signs outwardly to others because they have become so adept at hiding their addiction. 

Consumption Patterns

Within the United States, there are many issues with alcoholism. Moderate alcohol consumption is one drink per day for women, two for men. Heavy drinking can lead to chronic health issues and mental health challenges, though people sometimes drink to cover those up. For a certain percentage of the population, the numbers look staggeringly different in that 10 percent of adults drink about two drinks per week with more drinking 6 to 7 per week. Problem drinking behavior is believed to cause many issues for people and puts them at risk of chronic and life-threatening health issues. Alcohol consumption can cause pain and death for people who abuse the substance. 

Signs of Abuse

While people who are high-functioning drinkers may struggle, they will show some signs that they are covering up their addiction. They will start to emerge until that person is unable to hide or control symptoms anymore:

  • Unable to control alcohol consumption
  • Obsess about next drink
  • Obsess about next outing, social gathering, or place to drink
  • Experience blackouts
  • Tell family and friends they use alcohol as a reward
  • Has no interest in eating or choose to drink rather than eat
  • Hide alcohol and become dishonest

With a career and life obligations, they may function well no matter what state they are in, but eventually, they cannot hide the fact they have addiction-related issues. The tipping point may come when a person realizes they are a threat to themselves or others with their behavior and need to seek help or have loved ones who want them to find help. 

How to Help

Because people who are functional alcoholics often are in denial, they may hide it from people vigilantly to the point a person will not know, even if they are married to them. They struggle with self-esteem and confidence issues underneath it all. The best way to help is to get an intervention started, seek support, counseling, and help in figuring out how to ask them what is going on and to seek help. They may need medical attention and help to sort out their addiction issues while also addressing underlying root causes and mental health concerns. Don’t hesitate to ask them what they need as they may finally be ready to tell you they need help and are ready to go.

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides a special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.