high functioning alcoholic

Are You A High Functioning Alcoholic?

high functioning alcoholic

High functioning alcoholism has become more and more common, especially with the pressures and demands of today’s society to be seen as successful. Officially classed as alcohol use disorder, the problem can range from mild to severe in its symptoms.

To the outside world, a high functioning alcoholic may appear to have everything under control and in order, but scratch beneath the surface of any high functioning alcoholics life and the cracks become very apparent.

If you are reading this, you may be worried that you or a loved one have a problem with alcohol. If so, there are some common signs and symptoms of high functioning alcoholism to watch out for.

The double life

Perhaps the image you or your loved one project to others is far removed from the reality. High functioning alcoholics very much live a double life, more so than sufferers of other forms of alcoholism /alcohol addiction.

Not all alcoholics lose everything and are reduced to drinking cheap cider from a park bench. Not all alcoholics neglect their family and responsibilities. These things do tend to happen eventually but usually in the more advanced stages of alcohol addiction.

High functioning alcoholics are often high achievers and put more effort into other areas of their life than the average person. They hope that their successes will divert others attention away from their problem with alcohol and thus avoid being challenged about their drinking.

What is a high functioning alcoholic?

A high functioning alcoholic is a person who suffers from alcohol addiction, but it is yet to affect their lives to a degree where their condition renders them mentally and physically incapable of functioning normally.

Alcoholism is a progressive illness and has a sliding scale of deterioration. For some this deterioration happens quickly; for others, it is a long drawn out process.

The one thing that is guaranteed with alcohol addiction is that without the correct professional alcohol addiction treatment things will only get worse. Many that suffer from alcohol abuse and addiction sadly suffer the consequences of falsely believing they are in control of their drinking. The ultimate price is paid, and that price is their life.

What a high functioning alcoholic looks like

A high functioning alcoholic will appear to be in control. They may or may not take a drink in the morning; they may or may not take a drink in the afternoon. There is no set pattern to alcoholism, but there are common characteristics.

A high functioning alcoholic is likely to look presentable and be able to go about their daily business. This may involve looking after family or holding down a demanding job. Many high functioning alcoholics will lead a very busy and full life and excel in certain areas. Occasionally they may drop the facade when alcohol and tiredness get the better of them, but they are unlikely to admit that it is alcohol that is at the root of the problem.

Some high functioning alcoholics may not even have to hide the amount they drink. They may lead a lifestyle where drinking is considered the norm. Perhaps they work in the city or in a high powered job where wining and dining clients are considered part of their role.

Alcoholics who are alcohol dependent need to drink daily in order to avoid developing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. High functioning alcoholics can do this and still be able to function normally – at least to the outside world.

Signs and symptoms of a high functioning alcoholic

High functioning alcoholics will often fall under the radar. The reason being is that they do not fit the stereotypical image an alcoholic conjures up. They are often proficient in all areas of their life (at least for a while).

Until a high functioning alcoholic starts to lose the ability to function, they are likely to put additional effort into other areas of their life in order to detract from their problematic drinking. Their successes divert from the fact that they NEED alcohol in order to be able to achieve or even to be able to function. This also provides them with a valuable defence if they are challenged over the amount of alcohol they consume.

Here we look at some of the common signs and symptoms of a high functioning alcoholic.  This may help you to determine whether you (or perhaps a person you care for) are in need of alcohol addiction treatment.

Signs and symptoms you are a high functioning alcoholic:

  • Frequently drinking to excess or topping up your alcohol levels
  • Lying about or hiding the amount you drink from others
  • Regularly going to work or driving while still intoxicated from the night before
  • Drinking at every opportunity – work functions, business lunches, after work drinks, parties, lunch with friends
  • Arranging meetings with friends or work colleagues, so alcohol is involved or at least available
  • Forgetting details or events that have happened while intoxicated
  • Your alcohol use has caused problems for you in your personal relationships, with the law, financially, or at work
  • Drinking alcohol when you’re feeling tired or hungover so that you can function
  • Use of mouthwashes, chewing gum or garlic to disguise the smell of alcohol on your breath
  • You find it incredibly difficult to go through a day without alcohol
  • Others have mentioned that you may be drinking too much
  • You know in your heart you are drinking too much but don’t know how to stop

Psychological symptoms you are a high functioning alcoholic: You often feel guilty about the amount you are drinking

  • You worry excessively about what you have said or done while in the company of others
  • You feel that you perform better at work and are a more interesting person when you’ve had a drink
  • You fear a life without alcohol in it
  • You manipulate others to join you in your drinking, so you don’t feel so bad
  • You think about alcohol a lot and are often planning your next drink
  • You feel anxious when you don’t have alcohol

Help for high functioning alcoholics

Many high functioning alcoholics delay seeking help, the reason is that they fear to reveal their alcohol problem may cost them their job or relationship.

It is important to understand that alcohol addiction is a life-threatening disease. Left unaddressed and untreated it will progress and can ultimately lead to death.

If you or a loved one suffer from alcoholism, it is imperative that you seek the correct professional help without delay. There is no current cure for alcoholism, but therapeutic treatments, psychotherapy, counselling and holistic therapies combined together in a tailor-made alcohol recovery programme can provide you with the tools required to maintain long-term recovery from alcohol addiction.

Rehab for high functioning alcoholics

Detox Plus UK specialise in providing bespoke alcohol addiction treatment for any individual suffering with an alcohol problem. We only work with reputable CQC registered private alcohol detox clinics and alcohol rehabs in the UK and overseas.

Following a comprehensive assessment of you or your loved one’s alcohol treatment needs, we will recommend your ideal rehab treatment plan. Ensuring that all aspects of your alcoholism and mental health are covered.

Furthermore, Detox Plus UK will support you and your family throughout rehab and beyond. Whether you are looking for affordable alcohol rehab or a luxury alcohol rehab, we only work with the best alcohol treatment centres available.

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Call us today for a free of charge, confidential and no obligation alcohol assessment.