Brainy Dose Presents: 17 Signs Of A High Functioning Alcoholic The term ‘high-functioning alcoholic’ sounds contradictory. How can anyone function well and be an alcoholic at the same time? Yet, this is exactly the definition of someone who is a high-functioning alcoholic. This is a person who holds a steady job, dresses well, and can socialize without drawing attention to his or her drinking problem. On the outside, they appear to have everything under control. However, these outside perceptions all hide the truth that they are actually struggling with an addiction to alcohol. High functioning alcoholics are difficult to discern and deal with, because the way they see it, if the world doesn’t see they have a problem, it doesn’t exist.
In other words, if they’re doing well financially or feel that they are seen as happy and successful, they are fine. High functioning addicts find it difficult to admit that they have a problem. Here are some tell-tale signs that someone you know may be a high-functioning alcoholic. Number 1 – Use Alcohol As A Coping Mechanism This is one of the universal signs of a drinking problem. If a person constantly leans on alcohol to ease the stress of a long day at work, or to help cope with problems in a relationship, they could have a serious problem.
They are essentially drinking alcohol to dull their senses. Even just a few drinks a night to take the edge off, could be the start of a serious alcohol dependency. Number 2 – Impose Limits On Their Drinking You might have witnessed this one before, probably with friends. A high functioning alcoholic may impose limits on their drinking. You may hear them say something like “I’m only drinking beer tonight.” This kind of limitation can be helpful for preventing abuse or binge drinking. But, highly functioning alcoholics impose limits in an attempt to convince themselves that they are in control of their drinking.
Number 3 – Get Drunk When Not Intending To The high-functioning alcoholic doesn’t set out to get drunk. This person believes that drinking doesn’t affect their behavior – they believe that they’ve got it under control. But, what often happens, particularly if this self-deception goes on for some time, is that they get drunk even though they don’t intend to. One drink is never all there is – it always leads to more, until it’s past the point of no return. Number 4 – A Change In Friends Much like others who struggle with alcohol, the high-functioning alcoholic’s circle of friends may change. They may surround themselves with people who drink on a regular basis, and will attend parties, events and gatherings, where alcohol is front and center. For the high-functioning alcoholic, they often pride themselves on the fact they don’t drink during the day or don’t show up to work or family functions drunk, but in any social situation where there is alcohol, they are right in the middle of the action. Number 5 – Engage In Risky Behavior Unconcerned about how their continued drinking affects others, the high-functioning alcoholic engages in increasingly risky behavior.
For example, they may drink and then get behind the wheel and drive – putting countless others in danger. It’s likely that they will get involved in things like risky encounters under the sheets, getting into fights, drinking while taking care of children, and so on. Number 6 – Isolate Themselves This sign is harder to notice than others. While in social settings, a high functioning alcoholic could be outgoing and sociable, but behind closed doors, they simply want to be alone. When they’re not engaged in their social responsibilities, such as work or parties, they spend their time holed up in a bar, or quietly drinking at home. In fact, a high functioning alcoholic may even forbid people from being in their home, because they don’t want to expose their drinking habits to others. Number 7 – Drink For Every Situation Whether it’s a night out or just a small office get together at lunch, this person uses any occasion as an excuse to have drinks.
This type of drinking typically starts as a complement to any social situation, and quickly blossoms into a drink for any situation at all – from waking up to calming down and going to sleep. Some may see alcoholism as drinking too much in general, but in reality it can start with moderate drinking at inappropriate times. Number 8 – Appear To Have A Split Personality An alcoholic has mood swings – and I mean wild, dramatic changes in character. For many alcoholics, drinking is a means of moderating their emotions and feelings to avoid the negative ones. A high functioning alcoholic may be drunk sometimes, or sober at others. This results in what appears to be a split personality, where either they are up, or down. For example, a normally rational, responsible and gentle person may all of a sudden become impulsive, unreliable, unreasonable and rough. This kind of roller coaster of emotional management can take its toll in the long run, because gradually the highs and lows will become more pronounced.
Number 9 – Become Irritable Without Alcohol Psychologically, an alcoholic depends on alcohol. High functioning alcoholics, generally feel like they have things together while they’re drunk, but as soon as the alcohol starts to wear off, they find themselves feeling uncomfortable. They experience symptoms such as anxiety, increased irritability, and tiredness. Number 10 – An Expert In Denial Even when an addict consumes alcohol in excessive amounts, they never admit that there’s a serious issue with it. They will stay away from such conversations, and are unwilling to discuss their addiction with anyone. Because addicts don’t want to lose their favorite drink, they don’t admit that they have a drinking problem. They try to deny the reality, and they lie when asked about their habit. Number 11 – Quick To Anger It’s pretty much impossible to confront a high-functioning alcoholic about their drinking on the spot, without getting an angry reaction. When they are challenged about their drinking problem, they will often lash back with angry verbal outbursts, and may even respond with a physical attack.
Number 12 – No Hangovers Functioning alcoholics are so accustomed to drinking in high volume that they can pass out, wake up and go about their business like nothing ever happened. They can have extreme episodes and mood swings, but for the most part, they manage to hold down a full-time job with ease, even after staying up half the night drinking. Hangovers generally don’t exist for this type of alcoholic. In fact, some of them will wake up and make yet another drink! They cannot seem to function at all without the influence of alcohol – starting their day, fueling their day and even ending their day. The absence of hangovers, unfortunately, makes an alcoholic drink more. Number 13 – Terrible Memory Drinking to excess on a somewhat constant basis increases the frequency, duration and severity of blackouts. For example, if the drinker is aggressive toward their family before passing out, they may not understand why their family is hurt or upset with them the next day. They will likely deny that they did anything wrong, and may even get angry at the accusations. This is one of the worst traits of the functioning alcoholic, as it does not give them the ability to be accountable for their actions.
They may not understand, nor apologize for the things they do. If they do apologize, which is rare, they still don’t feel the weight of their actions. It’s a sad characteristic and it doesn’t provide the guilt needed for the alcoholic to seek appropriate help. Number 14 – Hide Their Alcohol According to experts, hiding alcohol is a major sign of alcoholism. A high functioning alcoholic will usually keep their alcohol in a secret place. They don’t want others to see the alcohol for various reasons, so they try to keep the booze away from the eyes of other people. As I mentioned earlier, when they are home, they usually drink alone in secret where no one can see them. Number 15 – Prefer Drinking Over Eating Choosing alcohol over a delicious meal may seem incomprehensible to a sober person, but to an alcoholic, it sounds like a really good compromise. Those with a serious alcohol problem will sometimes use alcohol to replace food. Or, they will use mealtime to give themselves an excuse to drink.
Number 16 – Separate Sections Of Their Life The high-functioning alcoholic is a master of compartmentalizing their life. On one hand, they have their everyday normal life. On the other hand, they have their drinking life – where they can be a completely different person. They go to great lengths to ensure that these two different lives don’t intersect. Number 17 – Failed Attempts At Quitting Like others who struggle with alcohol, the high-functioning alcoholic has more than likely made several attempts to quit drinking on their own. Unfortunately, left to their own devices, they return to drinking after a short period and they basically pick up where they left off. While contemplating about quitting alcohol triggers at least some form of deeper thinking into their issues, the high-functioning alcoholic will continue to drink and rationalize their drinking – by pointing out that it hasn’t affected their personal or professional life.
High functioning alcoholics may seem to have it all going on the outside, but this does not mean they aren’t experiencing significant personal or professional problems in reality. Being in a relationship with, or being under the care of a high functioning alcoholic can exert serious psychological and emotional damage. Furthermore, the ability to function after consuming alcohol does not limit the impact that regular drinking has on the body. From liver disease to memory loss and even brain damage, the effects of alcohol on the body can be severe.
Nevertheless, with the right kind of treatment, one can successfully withdraw from alcohol and get back to living a sober, happy, healthy life. Do you have someone in your life who is a high functioning alcoholic? Have you offered any help? If so, how did you approach them? And how did it go? Let us know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this video, give it a thumbs up, and share it with your friends, so we can keep making them. For more videos like this, hit the SUBSCRIBE button, and remember to click on the notification bell. Also, be sure to check out our other videos as well. Thanks for watching! .