People drink every day and it does not affect their everyday life. However, other people battle alcoholism and still function as normal in society. These people are classified as high functioning alcoholics. While not a formal diagnosis, it is just as dangerous as classical alcoholism. They seem to manage their life, but they cannot resist the urge to drink and often drive while intoxicated.

Risk Factors

Anyone can be at risk of becoming an alcoholic, but it has been found that there are a few factors that put a person at higher risk. These include:

  • High levels of stress
  • Constant exposure to alcohol
  • A family member who has been diagnosed as an alcoholic
  • Depression or anxiety disorders
  • Battling low self-esteem
  • Binge drinker

Signs of Being a Functional Alcoholic

Denial is one of the key signs that someone is a functional alcoholic. They believe they are fine and can quit drinking at any time. It is not until they run into the family or legal troubles that the realization hits. There are signs you can see before this level of alcoholism. Speak to a professional if you see any of these red flags:

  • The first thing you do the following work is to grab a drink
  • Become irritated at events that arise preventing your drink
  • Often drink more than you originally planned
  • Joke about there being a difference between alcoholism and drunks
  • Substitute a drink instead of eating a meal
  • Drive under the influence
  • Drink while caring for your children
  • Argued with family members about your drinking
  • Suffered blackouts
  • Hide the amount of alcohol you are drinking
  • Battle severe withdrawal when you miss a drink
  • High tolerance level

Problems with Functioning Alcoholism

The tolerance level is one of the main problems with this type of alcoholism because it takes more alcohol to feel the effects. Therefore, many feel they are safe to drive or handle their daily requirements despite being under the influence. Permanent brain and liver damage is more likely, including cancer. Withdrawal symptoms are also more severe than basic hangover complications and occasional drinker battle. They often suffer from at least two of the following conditions:

  • Paranoia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme depression and suicidal ideology
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression and irritability
  • Nightmares
  • Foggy brain
  • Tremors
  • Clammy skin

Overcoming High-Functioning Alcoholism

A high-functioning alcoholic will believe they can quit drinking anytime they want. However, when they try to go dry, they battle cravings. They will try to cut back on the amount to prevent withdrawal but also sober up. Unfortunately, this causes the cycle to restart. The only way to successfully overcome alcoholism of any level is with professional help. Mild levels are treated from home with prescription medication and vitamins. However, more severe levels of alcoholism require dedicated treatment programs.

If you believe you are a functioning alcoholic, you need to speak with your physician. They will be able to guide you with a treatment plan and resources necessary for long-term success. Finally, consider changing your routine so you do not drive past the bars and liquor stores you used to frequent. The more support you have, the better the chance you will have for change.