What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?

functioning alcoholic

Alcoholism is far more common than you think. When people think of alcoholics, they have this image of someone who is always drunk. This person has possibly lost their job and fractured many relationships.

In reality, many are considered a functioning alcoholic and are not factored into the stereotypical image. The truth is that there are over 14 million Americans with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).

Read on to learn more about alcoholics who are considered highly functional. Explore why it is difficult to spot them and what to do when a problem is identified.

What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?

Every alcoholic is different in how they respond to and behave while under the influence. Some alcoholics can maintain a normal life despite heavy consumption. Medical professionals refer to these individuals as high-functioning alcoholics.

They can show up on time after a late night of drinking. Perhaps they are unaffected by hangovers.

These individuals are usually very social and have a good time with others while drinking. Therefore, they do not always jeopardize relationships with bad decisions.

For these reasons, it is hard for family members and friends to identify an issue. They merely see a person who is having a good time and keeping up with their responsibilities.

Is This Lifestyle Dangerous?

The negative consequences of alcoholism are undeniable. While a functional alcoholic may avoid issues in the short-term, the long-term will be a different story.

Consuming too much alcohol has many negative health outcomes. The most notorious is its impact on the liver.

The liver is a vital organ as it screens out blood toxins, regulates cholesterol and blood sugar, and creates proteins. The liver cannot adequately process excess amounts of alcohol.

This leads to inflammation, scarring, and buildup of fats. The result is alcoholic liver disease.

Jaundice and tremors are two of the most common symptoms of alcoholic liver disease. Early signs of the disease include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and frequent nausea.

Besides the liver, alcoholism is bad for the heart and weakens the immune system. It also increases your risk of developing cancer.

What Are the Signs There Is a Problem?

While it is hard to spot the highly functional type, there are warning signs of a functioning alcoholic. For example, you may notice that they start drinking very early in the day. Another sign is that they can consume large amounts of alcohol without getting drunk.

These individuals may use alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress. Also, they can get irritable if alcohol is not present.

In some cases, they will drink alcohol discretely or hide it altogether. When confronted about their alcohol use, these individuals will deny it and refuse to acknowledge a problem.

Seek Help Today

Continuing on this path is certain to lead to long-term health complications. For this reason, intervention and professional assistance are needed immediately.

Do not be afraid to seek help from an alcohol rehab center. Your loved one’s life may just depend on it.

If you are looking to help a high-functioning alcoholic, don’t wait. Our Florida rehab center is here for you, so contact us today for assistance.