Functioning Alcoholic Behavior: Risk Factors and Treatment

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Functioning Alcoholic Behavior - Risk Factors and Treatment

Alcohol abuse does not always portray a devastated life.

The truth about alcoholism is that it is not a one-size-fits-all situation. It looks different for different people. People frequently imagine an alcoholic as someone who is always inebriated, always has a drink in hand, and whose life appears to be falling apart.

In reality though, this isn’t always the case. Even if alcohol is a part of their daily lives, some people appear to be fine and healthy. These people can be classified as functioning alcoholics. They appear to work well together, and alcohol consumption does not seem to be a problem.

What is a functioning alcoholic? This has been classified as a sub-type of alcoholism by the National Institutes of Health. Accounting for roughly 19.5 percent of alcoholics in the United States, these people are often middle-aged, have steady jobs, and are educated.

High-functioning alcoholics go about their daily lives normally. They are able to establish positive relationships with others around them and fulfill their responsibilities. They go about their daily lives normally and even succeed in their careers. They have what appears to be a happy life.

Is Functional Alcoholism More Dangerous?

If they can live their life well, what could be the problem? While they seem to be in control, alcohol puts them and people around them in danger.

Functioning alcoholics do not view themselves as alcoholics in general. Since they are not often confronted by family and friends and have the financial resources to maintain their lives, they fail to recognize the effects of alcohol in their lives and how abuse causes destructive effects. That in itself makes the situation more dangerous.

A life ruled by alcohol is always impacted in one way or another. Though this may not clearly appear at this time and substantial consequences may take longer, it is still bound to impact their lives in the future.

Alcohol abuse takes a toll on their health and puts their lives at risk. The heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and brain are all affected. It also causes cancer and cognitive loss in some people. It increases the chance of domestic violence, fetal alcohol syndrome, car accidents, or suicide.

The effects of alcohol abuse may come without warning. It affects both the mind and the body. Denial of the situation sets them apart from family members who express concern about their drinking habits.

The consequences show up in different aspects of an individual’s life. In any case, untreated alcohol abuse is perilous – both to oneself and to relationships.

Telltale Signs of Functional Alcoholism

Alcoholism, whatever the type is, is driven by several factors. It includes home and work environment, stress, depression, and low self-esteem. Family history and genetic factors likewise contribute to alcohol abuse.

As with functioning alcoholic behavior, it is challenging to see the warning signs of alcohol abuse. Their ability to function well and perform their duties accordingly shakes off the thoughts of being an “addict.” Here are the telltale signs of a functioning alcoholic:

  • Uncontrollable cravings
  • Had been apprehended due to DUI (Driving Under Influence)
  • Needs alcohol to relax
  • Having obsessive thoughts about the next drinking session
  • Denies the need for alcohol
  • Gets angry when confronted
  • Makes unsuccessful attempts to quit
  • Continues to drink despite illness
  • Drinks more than the daily or weekly limit

How heavy is heavy drinking? This is defined by consuming more drinks than what the body can tolerate. For men, it is more than four bottles per day or 14 per week, and for women, it’s three bottles per day or 7 per week for women. Anything that goes beyond this, you are putting your health at high risk.

When to Seek Treatment

Alcohol abuse comes in many forms, and they all lead to grave problems later. Admitting that there is a problem is the ultimate key and initial step to recovery.

The treatment approach, whether the alcoholic is functioning or not, is the same. It is always best to seek help and be assessed by professionals specializing in the addiction field. Depending on the severity of alcohol abuse and depending on your special needs, treatment may be any of the following:

  • Outpatient Programs – The treatment may take place during the day, then you go home afterward.
  • Inpatient Residential Programs – You will be monitored in a licensed facility for 24 hours.
  • Aftercare – This is for support after completion of the treatment program.

Let Haven House Help You Get Through

With Haven House Recovery Center, you are not alone.

A reputable recovery center near Nashville, Haven House Recovery Center treats all patients with unconditional positive regard. We believe that each person differs, so we provide a specialized plan to cater to your specific needs. Our team provides an encouraging environment to get you through recovery.

Should you need a helping hand to get through, we are here for you. Just give us a call, and we are always ready to assist you.