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Recognizing a Functioning Alcoholic

What is a functioning alcoholic?

Drinking is so normalized in our culture that signs of alcohol abuse often go unnoticed. There are many types of alcoholism, and recognizing a functioning alcoholic can be difficult. The individual might think that they have it under control or mask their drinking habit from their friends and family.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, reach out to Serenity Grove’s alcohol rehab program at the earliest.

To know more about the dangers of alcohol abuse and our personalized treatment programs, contact us at 844.904.3485.

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

As the term suggests, a functioning alcoholic refers to someone who may have a drinking problem but is still functional. They usually appear to be holding it together, hardly missing a deadline or never coming to work drunk. But even if their drinking seems to be “under control,” they may not realize the extent of alcohol’s damage to the physical body.

If you’re wondering if you or someone you love is a functioning alcoholic, the following questions should help you out:

  • Do they drink socially and/or regularly?
  • Are they in “denial” about their drinking problems? Do they make jokes, try to change the subject, or downplay it?
  • Do they plan “binge-drinking” sessions after work?
  • Have they ever missed a deadline or a meeting due to a hangover?
  • Have they ever lied about how much they drink?
  • Do they secretly stockpile liquor?
  • Do they finish other people’s drinks or look forward to events where alcohol is served?
  • Are they likely to engage in risky behavior?
  • Do they have any co-occurring disorders, anger issues, depression, anxiety, or trauma?
  • Does stress fuel their drinking habit? Is it a coping mechanism for them?

If the answer to one or more of the above questions is a yes, they are probably a functioning alcoholic displaying common signs of alcohol abuse. You should contact your local healthcare provider at the earliest.

Types of Alcoholism

It is important to familiarize oneself with the different types of alcoholism and not neglect the early warning signs. While some people may prefer to drink socially and/or for fun, others might drink because they are depressed, bored, or avoid certain issues. Even drinking out of curiosity or peer pressure can lead to dependency and addiction.

Based on a study by the National Institute of Health (NIH), the most common types of alcoholism are classified as follows:

Young Adult Alcoholic

Young adults may start drinking as early as school. Although they may drink less than older alcoholics, they are more likely to binge drink.

Young Anti-social Alcoholic

Some young adults might not drink socially, instead preferring to drink alone. They often struggle with other issues, such as depression or a lack of confidence, and may also use other substances.

Functioning Alcoholic

Functioning alcoholics drink regularly and appear to be living “normal” lives, with a steady job, relationship and family. However, their alcoholism may be masking deeper issues.

Intermediate Familial Alcoholic

Children of parents with a history of substance use are more likely to turn to alcoholism and drugs. They may be born with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism and develop a drinking problem later in life.

Chronic Severe Alcoholic

Finally, this is the most serious of all subtypes, as they may have experienced alcohol-related health emergencies, withdrawal symptoms, and significant social problems. But this group is also the most likely to seek help and participate in detox programs.

In many cases, someone might start as a young adult alcoholic and become a functioning alcoholic. Or they may be an intermediate familial alcoholic who may need to be rushed to the ER after a binge-drinking session. Either way, it is vital to spot the signs of alcohol abuse as early as possible and seek treatment.

Find Help for a Functioning Alcoholic at Serenity Grove

At Serenity Grove, our mission is to help people conquer their addictions and go on to live happier and more fulfilling lives. As a family-owned residential clinic, we provide end-to-end care, including detox, residential and outpatient treatment, and even continuing care services. Along with medication-assisted treatment, we offer evidence-based and holistic therapies carefully tailored to each client’s case history, recovery goals, and unique needs.

Call us at 844.904.3485 and take the first step towards a brighter future today.