When you think of an alcoholic, what image comes to mind?
Is it someone who looks rumpled and obviously unable to hold down a job?
Those struggling with an addiction to alcohol don’t always fit that stereotype.
Some alcoholics dress well, hold high-paying jobs in responsible positions, and may even be counseling others about their addictions.
High-functioning or functioning alcoholics may look and act different than other alcoholics, but they share one commonality – they don’t (or won’t) recognize that they have a problem.
So what are experts saying about functioning alcoholics? They say these are the warning signs of an addiction:
- By the numbers – Women who have three drinks a day or seven a week, and men who have four drinks a day or 14 a week, are considered heavy drinkers and at risk of an alcohol addiction.
- Blackouts – Having difficulty remembering events or what you were doing for significant periods of time is another sign of addiction.
- Physical problems – Alcohol takes a toll on the body, and usually there are warning signs – stomach problems, insomnia, or shakiness in the morning.
- Binge drinking – It’s commonly associated with college students, but drinking large amounts of alcohol over short periods of time is also a habit of functioning alcoholics.
- Irritability – If someone doesn’t seem like themselves when they aren’t consuming alcohol, they are likely suffering withdrawal.
- Family history – Experts say about half of the risk for becoming addicted to alcohol is your environment, but the other half is whether you had a direct family member – a mother or father – who is/was an alcoholic.
- Depression – About one in five alcoholics has depression or some other behavioral health issue, which sometimes leads to even greater consumption of alcohol in an effort to self-medicate the condition.
One of the first steps could be having a conversation with someone you care about. It could be the first step toward recovery and a better life.