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The Transition House Blog

What experts are saying about functioning alcoholics

Posted by Jennifer Dellasanta on Jul 23, 2015 3:51:17 PM

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.

What experts are saying about functioning alcoholicsSome alcoholics dress well, hold high-paying jobs in responsible positions, and may even be counseling others about their addictions.

Experts call these individuals functioning alcoholics or high-functioning alcoholics. They may look like they have it all together, but they are still addicted to alcohol and could be one step away from tragedy.

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.

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Topics: Substance Abuse, Alcohol Dependence, Signs of Depression

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