Are you living with a Functioning Alcoholic? Do you know what signs or symptoms may be present and how to help that person get better?
You may think of an alcoholic – or a person struggling with alcoholism – as someone who is reckless, who appears intoxicated most of the time and who is going on a downward spiral. However, did you a functioning alcoholic may actually be quite the opposite of that?
Suffering from alcoholism is defined as having a strong, compulsive need or desire to consume alcohol; this is often done beyond control and may lead to careless behavior, accidents and health risks.
Nonetheless, what many people don’t know is that someone may be suffering from an alcohol problem, and show no apparent signs of it. A functioning alcoholic is someone, who despite having a drinking problem, excels in their relationships, at work and at school, someone that seems to have everything under control.
The hardest part of living with a functioning alcoholic is dealing with their denial. Because the person can maintain a regular rhythm of life, and actually succeed and have everything going for them, they will emphatically deny having a drinking problem.
Moreover, living with a functioning alcoholic may cause a spouse, child, parent or relative to fall into a codependency, where the person is suddenly protecting – and sometimes even justifying – the alcoholic’s behavior.
In order to understand the concept, we need to look at the actual signs of a functioning alcoholic. If the symptoms are not too obvious, what exactly can you monitor?
An alcoholic who, at the same time, may be able to keep things under control will often:
- Have more than 3+ drinks per day
- Have more than 4+ drinks per sitting
- Restrict their drinking to certain times (only in the mornings or only at night)
- Drink in isolation
- Miss or cancel important appointments or commitments
- Gets defensive – and even angry – if accused of having a problem with alcohol.
In addition to these behavioral signs of a functioning alcoholic, people that have been struggling for a long period of time, may also experience some of the side effects of alcoholism. These include:
- Suffering from memory loss episodes (blackouts)
- Changes in appearance (weight loss or weight gain)
- Constant heartburn
- High blood pressure
- Fatty liver or liver disease
In many cases, when you are living with a functioning alcoholic and you are aware of the harm that is causing, both to the abuser and to your relationship with that person, the ideal step is to seek professional help in order to receive guidance and support to address the issue.
There are certain characteristics that you may want to keep in mind when trying to identify a functioning alcoholic, and reaching out for help:
- This type of alcoholic is basically someone who is living a double life
- They are still suffering from a disease they alone can’t control
- They won’t react with a confrontation, but rather respond positively to respect, honesty, love and open communication
An effective rehabilitation program for alcoholism is necessary so your loved one can recover. Often, you will be able to rely on the guidance and support of experts to lead an intervention and get your relative to admit they indeed have an issue with alcohol.
Afterwards, the person will go through detoxification, a comprehensive and personalized rehabilitation program, learn coping skills to prevent relapse, and develop their continuous care plan.
If you believe you are perceiving the signs of a functioning alcoholic in someone you love, we can help you find treatment centers that can help with the addiction. Call us today at (800) 429-7690 and find out more about effective addiction treatments available in your area.