Signs of a Functional Alcoholic

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab Alcohol Addiction January 17, 2022

Signs of a Functional Alcoholic

What is a Functional Alcoholic?

The term high functioning alcoholic is a term that most of us have heard but, for many, there may be some questions about what it actually means. A functional alcoholic is often someone that is able to carry out day-to-day tasks and maintain work, school, or family commitments while still engaging in problematic drinking behaviors. For many high functioning alcoholics, it can be difficult to recognize if you need help for your drinking behaviors as there have been little to no significant consequences for your drinking. There is a common misconception that in order to receive help for your drinking, you first need to hit rock bottom where you have begun to feel serious consequences for your drinking. This is not the case for some and, especially, not for high functioning alcoholics. Although you may not have seen any glaringly obvious reasons to get help for your addiction, there are serious side effects that can occur from drinking on a regular basis which makes now the right time to get the support you need to move away from a life of drinking.

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Signs and Symptoms of Functional Alcoholism

Functional alcoholism will look different for each person but here are some common signs and symptoms that you or a loved one may be a functional alcoholic.

  • Hiding how much alcohol you are consuming 
  • Blacking out after drinking alcohol 
  • Drinking a large amount of alcohol and not showing any signs of intoxication 
  • Avoiding any input from others regarding your drinking behavior 
  • Using alcohol as a way to reward yourself or as a means to cope with a stressful situation 
  • Engaging in high risk behavior while drinking such as drinking and driving 
  • Consuming alcohol throughout the day including at work 
  • Experiencing alcohol cravings when not drinking 
  • Feeling an urge to finish any alcoholic drinks even if they are not yours 
  • Comparing your drinking to others who have had worse consequences to justify your drinking is not a problem 

What is Functional Tolerance to Alcohol?

The more you engage in alcohol consumption, the more you will develop a tolerance to its effects. Functional tolerance is defined as a person being able to consume large, significant amounts of alcohol while still not feeling any of the effects of it. This often makes it challenging for the person as well as others to know if the other person is intoxicated as they display no physical signs of being impaired. 

What Does Alcoholism Look Like? 

There is often a perceived image of what an alcoholic will look like. Many think of someone that has lost everything from their job, home, to family and continues to drink. Alcoholics are often thought of as the last one at the bar who is visibly heavily intoxicated and unable to function. However, alcoholism looks different from person to person and there are some that have a presenting alcohol use disorder who are able to function normally throughout their day to day life while maintaining a good job, attending social events without becoming severely inebriated, and are able to still live in the nice home with their families. Regardless of how much your life is put together or how much you may have lost due to your alcoholism, alcohol is dangerous for anyone consuming it and each person deserves to have the opportunity to heal from their alcoholism with dignity and respect. 

Who Can be a Functional Alcoholic?

Alcoholism can happen to anyone at any time and the same can be said for becoming a functional alcoholic. While it is common to see individuals from an executive or high net worth life becoming entrenched in a life of functional alcoholism due to the high demands of the job and expectations to attend social gatherings involving alcohol, functional alcoholism can occur within anyone from any walk of life. In fact, it is more common than one would imagine as many attempts to hide their drinking behaviors from loved ones and attempt to mask any concerns by continuing on through their day-to-day life so that no one suspects a thing. 

How to Help a Functional Alcoholic

If you or someone you love may be living with a functional alcohol concern, there are steps and ways to give support. It is important to show the individual that you are coming from a place of love and concern and offer some of the many resources that are available to support someone in healing from alcohol addiction. There are options of support groups with peers that are also experiencing alcohol addiction, outpatient alcohol rehab programs that allow patients to return home each night while attending the treatment center during the day for therapy sessions, and inpatient programs that give patients the opportunity to remove themselves from their home environment and potential triggers to solely focus on their healing journey. 

Alcohol Rehab for Executives and High Net Worth Individuals

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab offers our executive and high net worth patients an alcohol rehab program that will give you the individual support you need to identify your triggers and root causes of your addiction through our non 12 step method approaches to addiction treatment. By gaining an understanding of what has been fuelling your addiction all along, you will be able to create methods and techniques to avoid future relapses and formulate a new way of life that will support your desire to remain sober.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.