High-functioning alcoholic Wikipedia

In this article, learn more about why the term “functioning alcoholic” is outdated and the impact of living with untreated alcohol use disorder. While cirrhosis scars from excessive drinking are irreversible, quitting alcohol and leading a healthier lifestyle can help your liver heal from alcohol-related liver disease. Unfortunately, many high-functioning alcoholics tend to believe they don’t need treatment. The main risk of high-functioning alcoholism is the potential for a worsening condition. Over time, you may struggle to maintain social and familial obligations and relationships. It can lead to liver disease, pancreatitis, some forms of cancer, brain damage, serious memory loss, and high blood pressure.

high functioning alcoholic

“For example, you may notice your spouse drinking more beers at dinner, sleeping less and less, and increasingly on edge well before they start missing workdays,” Grawert adds. But maybe they drinka few glasses of wine each night to help them fall asleep. Or, they get bombed every weekend but don’t skip a beat at their demanding job. So often, books and treatment https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/what-is-a-high-functioning-alcoholic/ are focused on the partner with the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) while spouses receive significantly less support but are equally in distress. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

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Nearly 20% of alcoholics are highly functional and well-educated with good incomes. Because they keep drinking, they don’t feel any withdrawal symptoms. As a result, being able to fulfill job duties adequately does little to discourage them from continued patterns of alcohol abuse. My understanding of HFAs is also from a personal perspective—I have been in recovery from alcoholism for almost five years.

Korea is a land of functioning alcoholics – but it doesn’t have to be, says addiction expert – The Hankyoreh

Korea is a land of functioning alcoholics – but it doesn’t have to be, says addiction expert.

Posted: Sun, 04 Feb 2024 08:00:00 GMT [source]

Managing AUD is a lifelong process, so the earlier you or your loved one seeks help, the more likely you are to succeed in overcoming the disorder and limiting recurrence. If you have AUD but are not connected with treatment, the risk of progressing to more severe AUD is much greater. People who are close to a person with AUD may need support to understand how to help their loved ones. However, a doctor should recommend the best type of treatment for each person since the severity and presentation can vary from person to person.


You may begin to notice that a couple of beers after work has turned into a six-pack or even a case. As time goes on and tolerance increases, they may attempt to hide the growing problem, and a growing number of empty bottles or cans, from friends and family. Genetic or environmental factors can cause high-functioning alcoholism. For example, a family history of alcoholism or a stressful environment.

  • Consequently, many people may not realize their drinking has become a genuine problem.
  • There are no official diagnostic criteria for what it means to be high functioning.
  • Instead, she recommends seeking more formal support with Al-Anon or therapy to help you create boundaries and care for yourself.
  • High-functioning alcoholics drink because they “need to drink,” not always because they want to drink.

We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery. Submit your number to receive a call today from a treatment provider. What makes a functioning alcoholic different is that they believe https://ecosoberhouse.com/ their ability to maintain a normal life keeps them from being an alcoholic. They may be fantastic parents, great students or promising employees, but they still need alcohol to get through their daily routine.

Do People With Alcohol Use Disorder Drink Every Day?

A high-functioning alcoholic will usually appear healthy despite consuming large amounts of alcohol. If you’re ready to seek treatment for alcoholism or would like to know more about your treatment options, American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help. AAC is the parent company of Alcohol.org and is a nationwide provider of treatment facilities focused on providing hope and recovery for those in need.

There are empathetic, actionable ways to support someone with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) who may be stuck in denial. Liver damage is the most talked about physical consequence and that is a concern almost immediately. Alcoholics can go on to develop heart, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders. There can also be declines in their mental and overall health, especially if they’re not eating healthy diets or engaging in physical activity. While their appearance may not be any different and they can still fulfill their responsibilities, you’ll start to see a pattern develop of turning to alcohol to cope with family, work or personal issues.

Impact of Being a Functional Alcoholic

For example, some may say, “I never drink at home, just at the bar.” Some may limit what they drink, who they drink with or when they drink as well. These restrictions help the person struggling with the alcoholism to believe they’re able to control their drinking. By comparison, a non-functioning alcoholic just seeks out alcohol without as much regard to such limitations.

  • Some may also hide tickets for DUIs or cover up their poor performance at work.
  • An HFA is an alcoholic who is able to maintain his or her outside life, such as a job, home, family, and friendships, all while drinking alcoholically.

There should be zero doubt that living a sober lifestyle can be extremely difficult. Many people start the road to recovery but stumble back to the substance of their choice—sometimes multiple times. A growing number of events and venues will not provide alcohol or even outright block alcoholic beverages. The reasons for this vary, of course, and will not bother most people beyond a bit of annoyance. However, becoming irrationally upset at an event that traditionally serves alcohol—a wedding, New Year’s party, or sporting event—is one of the recognizable behaviors of an alcoholic. In some cases, they will make passive-aggressive comments about the lack of alcohol or joke about how much more fun the experience would be with alcohol.

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