Stereotypes about what an alcoholic is like rarely contain much truth. Thousands of Americans might be considered high-functioning alcoholics. What is a functioning alcoholic? It is a person who struggles with alcohol addiction, but at the same time, they can continue living their lives, going to work, and taking care of their family. This is not to say that alcoholism is not damaging their lives. Instead, they are able to keep up at least the appearance of normality even amid the struggle of their addiction. Identify the signs of a functioning alcoholic in order to recognize when you or a loved one may need professional help. Contact 844.544.0502 or complete the online form to learn about alcohol addiction treatment options provided by Midwest Center at Youngstown.
What Are the Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic?
Alcoholism is a state of consistent heavy drinking that leads to an alcohol abuse disorder. The fact that someone remains high functioning despite dealing with an alcohol use disorder means knowing when they need help is difficult. You may not even know your loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse. Still, it’s worth watching out for these common signs of a functioning alcoholic.
- Justifying regular alcohol consumption if done socially or if the alcohol is expensive
- Drinking a lot without appearing to be drunk or heavily intoxicated
- Avoiding or downplaying any concern about drinking behavior
- Showing up late to work or missing days because of alcohol consumption
If the person you are concerned about is yourself, self-reflection is critical. Analyze this next set of signs of a functioning alcoholic to explore whether or not you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol that needs to be addressed.
First, have you continued to drink even after experiencing negative consequences? Do you drink at work or in dangerous situations? High-functioning alcoholics may be able to control the perception others have of them, but they may not be able to control their drinking behavior. That usually results in a lot of deceptive behavior such as hiding alcohol or lying about drinking behavior.
The Importance of Early Intervention
Functioning alcoholics need treatment as much as anyone else who struggles with a substance abuse disorder. The ability to uphold some modicum of normality should not be used as an excuse to avoid getting help. Alcoholism is dangerous not only for the user but for those around them as well.
Moreover, there is no guarantee that someone will stay high functioning forever. Their alcohol use disorder may progress, or their control over their life may falter. Thus, early intervention remains critical. Early intervention treatment for functioning alcoholics also helps avoid developing mental health issues stemming from alcohol abuse.
Get Treatment for Functioning Alcoholics at Midwest Center at Youngstown
Treatment for functioning alcoholics relies on detox, therapy, and medications as the core of treatment. Detox is the process of stopping drug use and allowing the body to adjust to life without the drug. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox are often uncomfortable. Attending inpatient treatment is one of the best methods for ensuring that detox goes smoothly.
The other pillars of treatment for functioning alcoholics are therapy and medications. Alcohol addiction treatment differs from other drug treatments in that it utilizes a few FDA-approved medications. Common medications used during alcohol detox and treatment are acamprosate, buprenorphine, and disulfiram.
An excellent example of their use is disulfiram. This medication is often used during recovery to help people avoid relapse. Disulfiram interferes with the way the body breaks down alcohol. This creates adverse side effects when someone drinks alcohol. While ultimately harmless, these side effects help people link alcohol usage with immediate, negative impacts that make it easier to maintain sobriety.
Reach out to Midwest Center at Youngstown by calling 844.544.0502 to discover exceptional alcohol addiction treatment options.