Am I a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

Making it a practice to have a few drinks before heading home, then pouring a few after arriving home, and then a few more drinks before bedtime may cause one to ask, “Am I a high functioning alcoholic?” In most situations, that question has likely already been asked by a close friend or family member. Thoughts of alcoholism can be based on stereotypical beliefs of low character, or the loss of a job. Alcoholism is difficult to admit to for the high-functioning person.

What is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

Maintaining the appearance of good health and an efficient lifestyle, the high-functioning alcoholic is often successful at fooling the public. However, inside there are looming questions about the reality of the situation. In sober moments, the question remains: Am I a high functioning alcoholic? It can be difficult to answer, because not all alcoholics experience negative consequences like a DUI or being fired for impairment at work. 

Some high-functioning alcoholics do not drink during the week, then binge all weekend. But alcohol addiction is a chronic disease, and high-functioning alcoholics run the same risk as those who experience many of the negative consequences commonly associated with alcoholism. For instance, family members and friends might recognize the heavy drinking but are afraid to broach the subject. 

The Risks of High-Functioning Alcoholism

Those who continue to drink daily places themselves at great risk. Working drunk, struggling with relationships because of daily alcohol usage, and building a high tolerance to alcohol have cumulative consequences and negative health effects. Such negative health effects the higher risk of cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure are common among alcoholics.

If you think you are drinking too much and have questions, consult your doctor and have an important conversation that could change your life. After all, high-functioning alcoholics run the risk of experiencing a single mishap that could drastically change their lives.

Am I a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

Experts state that there are different types of alcoholics. Each case of alcoholism is individual and personal, though each carries different signs and symptoms of their disease. Alcoholics who are in denial about their disease don’t believe they have a problem.

High-functioning alcoholics are the least likely to ask for help or willingly admit they have a problem. With 19% of all alcoholics in the U.S. being high-functioning, they usually take five drinks or more at a sitting. Many of these alcoholics are college-educated and high earners. If you or a loved one is asking themselves this very important question, you may want to examine the information below.

The following symptoms are signs of alcoholism:

  • Adding alcohol to normal drinks, such as Gatorade, soda, or tea
  • Stopping at liquor store while on other errands
  • Drinking before going out, so that their drinking looks normal in public
  • Binge drinking (five or more drinks per two hours for men, four drinks per two hours for women)
  • Drinking at work
  • Driving after drinking
  • Bloodshot eyes or shaking hands
  • Minimizing the seriousness of drinking too much alcohol
  • Avoiding restaurants that do not serve alcohol
  • Anxiousness or irritability without explanation
  • Needing to drink alcohol to feel relaxed or confident
  • Drinking early in the day or when alone
  • Denies drinking too much or too often

How to Get Help for Alcoholism

The first step is always the most important, the alcoholic must admit there is a problem with drinking. Reaching out to a close friend or loved one for support in becoming sober is vital to success in recovery. Alcoholics need support and understanding. Alcoholism is a disease and must be treated as such. High-functioning alcoholics may have a difficult time with the admission of being an alcoholic, but with encouragement and love, can find help and get treatment.   

Are you a High-Functioning Alcoholic in Texas?

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one with this disease, Sunrise Veterans Health in Texas has an a 12-Step Immersion program and professional staff who can address your concerns and lead you to the first steps in recovery. Living a happy, positive and healthy lifestyle can happen with a solid treatment plan. Rediscover yourself and learn how to live a sober lifestyle and contact us today.

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