What Is High Functioning Alcoholism? Stigma, Signs, Support

A high-functioning alcoholic is a person who holds onto their job and their family while being psychologically dependent on alcohol. Sometimes the pressure and success of the outwardly perfect appearance of their lives drives them to drink more, pushing their body and their relationships high functioning alcoholic to the brink. On the other hand, high-functioning alcoholics generally struggle to stop drinking, even if they’re risking serious health complications. If others are aware of the health concerns, a high-functioning alcoholic may start to conceal their drinking habits more so than before.

What is the most advanced stage of alcoholism?

End-stage alcoholism is the final stage of alcoholism. This stage is the most destructive. Typically, an individual reaches end-stage alcoholism after years of alcohol abuse. At this point, people who have spent years drinking may have developed numerous health and mental conditions in addition to their alcohol abuse.

Many of these individuals find the decision to enter treatment difficult due to current life factors, which include family, career, and financial responsibilities. Many individuals who fit the stereotypes of an alcoholic have already hit what we call a rock bottom, meaning they have lost a great deal in their lives which creates a sense of desperation. This creates resistance against the idea that the way they are facing a possible drinking problem isn’t working. This is where, as a professional, we must show the different layers of the individual until they are open to change. Even though HFAs experience consequences for their lifestyle, these have not overcome denial. The biological effects on the brain and memory have already been affected by drinking.

The signs of alcoholism

They may seem to be a happy, successful, and responsible individual, but as soon as you eliminate the alcohol, the facade disappears. Because high-functioning alcoholics can by definition be difficult to identify, the signs aren’t immediately obvious, and it may take longer to recognize that the issue is in fact alcohol. A high-functioning alcoholic generally does not display the telltale signs of alcoholism and instead may seem to have their life together better than most. • Unlikely to seek help for alcoholism – they are not ‘alcoholics’. Your brain’s cravings for alcohol increase as you drink more; it’s like the worst version of the chicken and the egg. That is the definition of addiction—the more you feed the habit, the greater the habit grows.

high functioning alcoholic

When they know other people are going to be around, high-functioning alcoholics may sneak a drink early, drink before going out to the bar or club, or drink alone. This hidden drinking and secretive lifestyle is a huge red flag when it comes to alcoholism and shouldn’t be ignored. Despite saying they’re going to have “just one drink,” high-functioning alcoholics are unable to limit their alcohol consumption.

Living with a High Functioning Alcoholic Spouse

You or someone you care about can get help before hitting rock bottom, but you have to start by diagnosing the problem. A short quiz for high-functioning alcoholics can help you or a loved one determine the severity of the alcohol addiction. Functional alcoholics are difficult to recognize because they try to keep their addiction a secret. They may be in denial about their addiction, so they’re unwilling to accept help or admit they need help. Often, only a select few friends, family members or spouses are close enough to recognize the signs.

  • This is their way of drinking alcohol in the guise of being social or convivial rather than admitting that they’re drinking only for the sake of drinking.
  • They are distinct from moderate drinkers, who are able to resist the temptation to drink since they have no psychological dependence on alcohol.
  • Indeed, many high functioning alcoholics are high achievers or people in positions of power.
  • Recovered.org provides an anonymous online evaluation tool to check if drinking has become problematic and provides further resources for help and support.
  • High-functioning alcoholics will rarely admit that they have a problem.

As a result, being able to fulfill job duties adequately does little to discourage them from continued patterns of alcohol abuse. While the term “alcoholic” was used in the past but is now viewed https://ecosoberhouse.com/ as outdated and stigmatizing. Today, healthcare professionals would say that a person has an alcohol use disorder . The most in-depth care allows you to live full time at a treatment facility.

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