Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic

Written by Will Long

Alcoholism is a serious issue that affects millions of people worldwide. While the stereotypical image of an alcoholic is someone who has hit rock bottom, the reality is that many individuals struggle with alcohol addiction while maintaining a seemingly normal life. These individuals are often referred to as high-functioning alcoholics. In this article, we will explore the signs of a high functioning alcoholic and how JourneyPure At The River can help those suffering from an alcohol use disorder.

What is Considered Excessive Drinking?

Before delving into the signs of a high functioning alcoholic, it’s essential to understand what constitutes excessive drinking. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), excessive drinking includes:

  • Binge drinking: Consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men within a two-hour period.
  • Heavy drinking: Consuming eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for men.
  • Any alcohol use by pregnant women or individuals under the age of 21.

It’s important to note that these guidelines are not absolute, and individuals may experience alcohol-related problems even if they don’t meet these criteria.

Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic

A high functioning alcoholic often maintains a successful career, relationship, and social life while secretly battling alcohol addiction.

Ten Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic

  1. Drinking alone or in secret: High-functioning alcoholics may drink alone or hide their drinking from others to avoid judgment or criticism. They may have a stash of alcohol hidden in their home or office.
  2. Justifying or minimizing alcohol use: They may make excuses for their drinking, such as claiming to drink only to relax or cope with stress. They may also downplay the amount they drink or compare themselves to others who drink more.
  3. Experiencing blackouts or memory loss: Excessive drinking can lead to blackouts or gaps in memory, even if the individual appears to be functioning normally. They may not remember conversations or events that occurred while they were drinking.
  4. Prioritizing alcohol over responsibilities: High-functioning alcoholics may miss work, neglect family obligations, or cancel plans due to their drinking. They may also prioritize drinking over other activities they once enjoyed.
  5. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms: When not drinking, they may experience symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, or tremors. These symptoms may be mild and easily dismissed, but they can indicate a physical dependence on alcohol.
  6. Inability to stop or control drinking: Despite attempts to cut back or quit, high-functioning alcoholics often find it difficult to control their alcohol consumption. They may set limits for themselves but consistently exceed them.
  7. Engaging in risky behavior: High-functioning alcoholics may engage in risky behavior while under the influence of alcohol, such as driving drunk, having unprotected sex, or mixing alcohol with other substances.
  8. Experiencing relationship problems: Alcohol addiction can strain relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. High-functioning alcoholics may have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships due to their drinking.
  9. Neglecting self-care: High-functioning alcoholics may neglect their physical and mental health due to their focus on drinking. They may skip meals, forego exercise, or ignore medical issues.
  10. Denying the problem: When confronted about their drinking, high-functioning alcoholics may become defensive or deny that they have a problem. They may insist that they can control their drinking or that it doesn’t affect their daily life.
Alcoholism can seem banal in comparison to the classic image you might have of a alcoholic
Alcoholism can seem banal in comparison to the classic image you might have of a alcoholic

The Impact of High-Functioning Alcoholism

While high-functioning alcoholics may appear to be managing their lives well, the long-term effects of alcohol addiction can be devastating. Some of the potential consequences include:

  • Health problems: Excessive alcohol use can lead to a range of health issues, including liver disease, heart disease, cancer, and mental health disorders.
  • Legal troubles: High-functioning alcoholics may face legal consequences due to their drinking, such as DUIs, public intoxication charges, or domestic violence incidents.
  • Financial struggles: The cost of alcohol and the potential loss of employment due to drinking can lead to financial difficulties.
  • Relationship issues: Alcohol addiction can damage relationships with loved ones, leading to divorce, estrangement, or loss of custody of children.
  • Emotional turmoil: High-functioning alcoholics may experience feelings of guilt, shame, and low self-esteem due to their drinking, which can exacerbate mental health issues.

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction

Recognizing the signs of high-functioning alcoholism is the first step in breaking the cycle of addiction. Many high-functioning alcoholics may be in denial about their problem or reluctant to seek help due to the stigma surrounding addiction. However, seeking treatment is crucial for achieving lasting recovery.

How JourneyPure At The River Can Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, JourneyPure At The River is here to help. Our experienced team of addiction specialists provides comprehensive treatment programs tailored to each individual’s needs. Our services include:

  • Medical detox: We offer a safe and comfortable environment for individuals to detox from alcohol under the supervision of medical professionals. Our detox program includes 24/7 monitoring, medication-assisted treatment, and holistic therapies to manage withdrawal symptoms and promote healing.
  • Residential treatment: Our residential program provides a structured and supportive environment for individuals to focus on their recovery without the distractions of everyday life. Clients participate in individual and group therapy, educational classes, and recreational activities designed to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.
  • Outpatient treatment: We offer flexible outpatient programs for individuals who need to maintain work or family obligations while receiving treatment. Our outpatient services include individual and group therapy, medication management, and support groups.
  • Therapy and counseling: Our licensed therapists provide evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), to help individuals address the underlying issues that contribute to their alcohol use disorder. We also offer family therapy to help repair and strengthen relationships affected by addiction.
  • Aftercare support: We provide ongoing support and resources to help individuals maintain their sobriety and prevent relapse. Our aftercare services include alumni programs, sober living options, and referrals to community resources.
AA meetings can help a high functioning alcoholic by allowing them an outlet and providing them with the support they need to achieve recovery
AA meetings can help a high functioning alcoholic by allowing them an outlet and providing them with the support they need to achieve recovery

Get Help Today

At JourneyPure At The River, we understand that seeking treatment for alcohol addiction can be overwhelming. That’s why we strive to create a compassionate and non-judgmental environment where individuals can feel safe and supported throughout their recovery journey. Our team is dedicated to helping clients develop the skills and strategies they need to overcome addiction and build a fulfilling life in recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, don’t wait to seek help. Call JourneyPure At The River today at 615-410-9260 to speak with one of our compassionate admissions specialists and start your journey towards recovery. Remember, recovery is possible, and you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Let us help you take the first step towards a brighter, healthier future.