It is not uncommon for someone suffering from alcohol addiction to maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives and hide how much they are consuming. They might also believe that they are in control of how much they are drinking. Those who drink a lot but are still highly functional in society and their jobs are high functioning alcoholics. These individuals can excel in their careers and rarely miss work. When others are around them, they have no idea that there is a drinking problem. That leads many to wonder about the signs of a high functioning alcoholic.
Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic
Those who are high functioning alcoholics might work hard at hiding their alcohol addiction struggles with those who are close to them. They might also be in denial that there is a problem in the first place. Because these individuals drink so much, they might become immune to the effects and not look intoxicated. Despite this reality, there are some signs you can look for, including that they:
- Cause family and friends to make excuses regarding their drinking habits
- Drink in the morning or when they are alone
- Drink to relax or boost their confidence
- Drink when it was not something that they planned
- Experience memory issues when drinking
- Joke about having a drinking problem or alcoholism
- Miss work or school, or lose close friendships
Potential Causes for High Functioning Alcoholics
Data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that, during 2018, 25.1% of American adults over the age of 18 have had at least one day of heavy drinking. We also learn from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), that over 14.4 million adults throughout the United States had alcohol use disorder (AUD) during 2018. Some potential causes of this issue include:
- Consuming more than 12 drinks if you are female or 15 drinks if you are male weekly
- Experiencing mental health issues, including anxiety or depression
- Experiencing peer pressure regarding drinking
- Having at least one close family member or parent who has AUD
- Having more than five drinks daily or binge drinking
- Living with high-stress levels
- Not having a high self-esteem
When to Approach a High Functioning Alcoholic
After you find signs of a high functioning alcoholic, you might be wondering if or how you should approach them. It is not always easy to spot the signs, but if you do, that means the person who is struggling with addiction needs help. That means it is time to approach them regarding their behavior. That could include hosting an intervention if the person is defensive about their drinking habits.
If you know someone who is a high functioning alcoholic, it is not uncommon for their denial to course through them. They have not come to grips with any adverse consequences of their alcohol use. The main reason could be because they are still going to work daily and are not suffering financially. As a result, they tell themselves they do not have a problem. However, over time, these individuals might start seeing the side effects of their habits and have difficulty dealing with them. For example, if they cannot drink as much as they are used to, they might start experiencing uncomfortable side effects.
Reach Out to Blueprint Recovery Center
Are you worried that a close family member or friend is a high functioning alcoholic? Do you have questions about the signs? No one should be going through these worries without the best support on their side. Blueprint Recovery has programs to help overcome addiction. Some of these programs include:
- Outpatient Treatment Program
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
- Alumni Program
Contact 833.654.1004 to learn more about spotting the signs and receiving the support that is needed.