8 Warning Signs Someone Is A High-Functioning Alcoholic

People often use the term ‘alcoholic’ when referring to someone who looks unstable and degenerate. However, that’s not the case with high-functioning alcoholics, as they manage to perform their tasks efficiently and look like they have it all together while struggling with major drinking problems.

A functioning alcoholic is someone who has an alcohol addiction but is able to fully participate in everyday life activities while having an alcohol use disorder. These people seem to have their life under control and don’t look deteriorated like most drug addicts and would often deny having issues.

However, such individuals would experience negative consequences due to excessive drinking that they may be unaware of. At least 20% of people with alcohol use disorder fall into this category where they don’t believe they need help like other addicts. Still, if they start cutting down on their daily drinks, chances are they might experience extreme withdrawal symptoms.

Studies have proved that excessive use of alcohol lead to different mental and physical issues such as anxiety, depression, liver diseases, and high blood pressure. Functioning alcoholics may also experience constant financial issues, and relationship problems which lead to legal issues like divorce and child custody.

Here are the eight warning signs someone is a high-functioning alcoholic:

Preferring Alcohol Over Food:

These people would skip meals to get drunk and have little or no interest in food when it comes to choosing between consuming a drink or having something to eat. They prefer drinks over everything and have an extreme addiction to the level that their appetite reduces, and they won’t feel hungry anymore.

Drinking In Every Situation:

They would drink in every situation, no matter how happy or sad it is. They use alcohol to deal with their emotions and don’t want to face reality.

Such people would even need a drink to sleep, to wake up properly, or to calm down in stressful situations.

Rare Hangover:

High-functioning alcoholics don’t get a hangover because they become increasingly dependent on the substance, and when alcohol never leaves their system, they don’t feel a thing, unlike other people who wake up with a hangover after binge drinking.

Can’t Have Just One Drink

People with excessive drinking issues can’t just have one drink at a time; they would literally binge drink in one sitting. They don’t feel drunk after one drink and need more alcohol to reach that level normal people get to after just consuming one bottle of wine.

Denying The Problem:

High-functioning alcoholics won’t consider their excessive drinking a problem because unlike other unstable junkies, they think they have it all together as they perform their daily life activities without any problem. However, they suffer the consequences in the long run.

Getting Defensive About Their Drinking:

Another classic sign of alcohol use disorder is that people with it get defensive about their drinking habits when their friends and family try to talk to them or help them cutting back on alcohol. They get all defensive because they deny having a problem in the first place.

Engaging in Risky Business While Drinking

People who are high-functioning alcoholics often engage themselves in risky business due to their overconfidence as they think they can do anything such as driving a vehicle while being drunk. However, this behavior could lead to disasters because their judgment is clouded and they are not in a 100% sane headspace.

Not Being Able to Curb or Quit Drinking

A high-functioning alcoholic may tries to cut back on alcohol or quit drinking altogether, however, some people find it extremely difficult and fail. For such individuals, getting medical and psychological help is necessary.

Share Your Thoughts:

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  1. I agree.. this description is me. I’m successful money wise, divorced, never miss work and always early and work hard. I keep beer in my cooler in back of my truck and grab a few cold ones on the way home. Then drink til bedtime (7:30) . I’m 61 and have been this way since my 30’s. Time to change..

  2. I’m a highly functional alcoholic, but none of theses fit me. I stop drinking weeks at a time(some withdrawal symptoms) try not to drive when drinking due to my body forcing me to sober up to drive (not trying to waste money). I’ve never gotten hangovers, and I’m not bashful to say I have a alcohol problem but have kicked far worse addictions than alcohol and have no doubt that I can quit alcohol with no issues. I choose not to. I choose to let go of my yesterdays and that’s my personal issue/choice. I have an issue and it doesn’t effect my daily functions. Will society tell me I have to change because I’m happy? Or because it will “kill me” someday? Life will kill me someday so why not just live it to be happy and make the best of the shit show we all call life. None of us gonna get out of this life alive, why not enjoy life on whatever terms you want?

  3. This was me. I was a very high functioning alcoholic and knew I couldn’t achieve what I needed without alcohol. I felt that without a drink I could do nothing. The truth ended up that with drinking, I could do nothing. I’m 3 years sober now and happier and more successful beyond my dreams. Alcohol will turn your own mind against you until it destroys you. Stop it while you can. I did.

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