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8 Signs of High Functioning Alcoholism

High functioning alcoholism refers to individuals who can maintain their daily responsibilities and obligations despite having a serious alcohol addiction. These individuals may appear successful, put-together, and functional on the outside, but they are secretly struggling with their relationship with alcohol. This form of alcoholism can be particularly dangerous as it often goes unnoticed or untreated. Exploring the 8 common signs can help recognize when someone needs help.

#1. Denial and Resistance

Denial and resistance are common signs of someone with an addiction to alcohol but maintaining a high level of functioning. Individuals in this category often struggle to admit they have a problem with alcohol, even when faced with evidence of negative consequences. They may minimize or justify their drinking habits by pointing to their ability to maintain responsibilities. This denial makes it challenging for loved ones or even the individual to recognize the need for help and seek treatment.

#2. Aggressive or Defensive When Asked About Alcoholism

High-functioning alcoholics may become aggressive or defensive when asked about their alcohol consumption. They may feel threatened or challenged by questions regarding their drinking habits and react with hostility. This defensive behavior can be a coping mechanism to protect their addiction and avoid facing the reality of their situation. It also serves as a way to deflect attention away from the issue. This allows them to maintain the facade of functioning normally despite struggling with alcoholism.

#3. Friendships with Alcoholics

Another common sign of high functioning alcoholism is when individuals predominantly associate with friends who also have problematic relationships with alcohol. This can create a social circle that normalizes excessive drinking and enables unhealthy behaviors. By surrounding themselves with others who share similar patterns of alcohol consumption, individuals feel more comfortable in their habits. Furthermore, they are less inclined to address or change them. 

Additionally, the presence of like-minded friends can reinforce denial and hinder efforts to seek help for alcohol addiction. It is also common for high-functioning alcoholics to withdraw from family and friends who question their drinking. Instead, they favor hanging out with their new friends who support and encourage their drinking habits. 

#4. Inability to Control Drinking (And Drinking Frequently)

Individuals struggling with alcoholism have difficulty controlling their drinking habits and find themselves consuming alcohol frequently. They may set limits for themselves but consistently exceed them or struggle to stop once they start drinking. Despite this, individuals in this situation continue to deny they have a problem and resist seeking help for their addiction.

#5. Binge Drinking or An Increased Tolerance

In high functioning alcoholism, individuals can engage in binge drinking episodes and tend to develop an increased tolerance to alcohol. Binge drinking involves consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period to achieve the desired effects. This leads to impaired judgment and potentially dangerous behavior. Increased tolerance occurs from regular drinking. It means the individual requires more alcohol to achieve the desired effects, indicating a progression in their alcohol use disorder

#6. Drinking and Driving

Engaging in risky behaviors such as drinking and driving is another sign of alcoholism. Individuals struggling with alcohol addiction rationalize their decision to drive under the influence despite the serious legal and safety implications. This behavior not only puts themselves at risk but also endangers the lives of others on the road. It signifies a lack of control over alcohol and a disregard for potential consequences.

#7. Drinking At School or Work

Drinking at school or work is a concerning sign of an alcohol use disorder. Individuals feel the need to consume alcohol during the day just to function. This can jeopardize their performance and professional reputation. Engaging in this behavior indicates difficulties in maintaining a boundary between one’s personal life and responsibilities. It also indicates an inability to prioritize tasks over alcohol consumption. Drinking at work or school can also negatively affect relationships with coworkers or peers.

#8. Financial or Health-Related Drinking Problems

Experiencing financial or health-related issues as a result of alcohol consumption is another common sign of high functioning alcoholism. Individuals may struggle to manage their finances due to spending excessive amounts on alcohol. They must also deal with the consequences of their drinking, such as legal issues or medical bills from related health problems. Some common health-related issues that can develop in high-functioning alcoholics include:

  • Mental health health issues, like anxiety, depression, and blackouts.
  • Physical health issues, such as liver damage, cardiovascular problems, and gastrointestinal issues. 

These financial and health challenges can further exacerbate the individual’s addiction by creating additional stress and complications in their life. 

Get Help for High Functioning Alcoholism in Columbus, OH Today

It can be challenging to admit you need help when you are a high-functioning alcoholic. You are not alone when you are ready to start gender-specific treatment at Ohio Addiction Recovery Center in Columbus, OH. Our caring and compassionate staff provide the support, guidance, and encouragement you need to break free from alcohol addiction.

Contact us now to start your journey toward a new, healthier, sober future.

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