There are people who are categorized as alcoholics and another group who has control of their drinking. But what isn’t talked about much is the high functioning alcoholic. So, what is a high functioning alcoholic? It can be a businessman who is successful at his job but he drinks every night of the week. It might be the mom who is raising two kids, keeps the house perfectly clean, and attends every soccer game/ballet recital. However, she spends every night on the couch drinking way too much in a short period of time. Someone who is a functioning alcoholic isn’t obviously a heavy drinker. To the rest of the world, maybe even their family and friends, they do not appear to have a drinking problem. If you suspect a friend or loved one is a high functioning alcoholic, you can find an alcohol addiction rehab center in Northern Illinois.
Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic
What is a high functioning alcoholic? The person who is suffering this diagnosis is in denial about their condition. The nature of a high functioning alcoholic makes it hard to believe there is an issue. However, it is a myth that high functioning alcoholics do not need treatment or that they are not actually alcoholics. The fact of the matter is that, eventually, if you drink too much, even if it is only at night or the weekends, your life will begin to suffer. Work, school, and relationships will begin to deteriorate and your health will be affected. Here are the signs of a high functioning alcoholic:
- In order to present an illusion of control, drinking is confined to certain times
- Often the functioning alcoholic becomes like a different person when they drink
- There are usually some other underlying mental issues such as depression or anxiety; according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 9.2 million U.S. adults experienced both mental illness and a substance use disorder in 2018
- Even after saying they are going to stop, they are unable to control the amount they drink; alcohol is viewed as a reward or used to relax
- They make excuses for why they are drinking; sometimes choose to drink without eating anything
- They plan ahead for the next drinking event, sometimes obsessing over the details
- Hiding alcohol is routine, as are blackouts
The American Addiction Center can provide more information on how to recognize a high functioning alcoholic.
How Do I Approach My Loved One?
- It is hard to convince someone they are an alcoholic if his or her life appears to be fine. As a loved one, you may be enabling the situation by covering for him/her when they are hungover or making excuses
- Consulting with a substance abuse professional may be a good idea before you confront someone about a drinking problem. A visit with a medical doctor may also be beneficial, as bloodwork can show the decline of health in an alcoholic
- Setting boundaries may help. Let your friend or family member know that you will no longer be a part of the problem. Refuse to drink with them or serve them alcohol
- Realize that inpatient hospitalization will most likely be necessary. The most effective, long term sobriety comes out of a rehabilitation program
- A family or friend intervention may be advantageous
Help For Co-Dependents
As a person who loves someone who is a functioning alcoholic, you may find yourself unable to separate from the problem. This means you are co-dependent – even though you hate the situation, it is what you feel comfortable in. If this is you, there are support groups as well as family therapy that can help.
Northern Illinois Recovery Center handles all types of addictions. Functioning alcoholism will start to affect your life – don’t wait for that to happen. Give us a call today to start healing: 855.786.1978