Drinking is so widespread and socially acceptable that it can be hard to tell when someone has a problem. Yet, data shows that the prevalence of alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) remains shockingly high with plenty of people consuming more than the recommended number of drinks daily.

You no doubt have a stereotypical image in your head of what an alcoholic looks like. You may think they’re the dirty disheveled individuals with permanently bloodshot eyes who can’t seem to hold a job or maintain a relationship. However, this stereotype is mostly untrue especially when it comes to high-functioning alcoholics.

High-Functioning Alcoholics

High-functioning alcoholics are people who drink heavily but appear to have everything together on the outside. They have a high tolerance for alcohol so they can drink a lot of alcohol in one sitting without appearing intoxicated. They may be successful and productive people, highly educated, and holding down good jobs and careers. They may also have active social lives with a stable family and a circle of friends. Additionally, these individuals may have no legal or criminal issues related to problematic drinking.

In short, high-functioning alcoholics are addicted to alcohol but are still able to carry out their normal obligations and responsibilities. They may be so good at hiding their alcoholism that in many cases, only those who are very close to them will notice they have a problem.

If you’re worried that someone close to you is a high-functioning alcoholic, here are some signs to look out for:

  • They joke or talk a lot about drinking or alcoholism.
  • They may go days or weeks without drinking or suffering serious withdrawal symptoms.
  • They’re likely to live a double life -drinking in private and maintaining their public image.
  • They often end up drinking more alcohol than intended in a single sitting.
  • They have plenty of excuses for drinking e.g. needing to relax, unwind, or deal with stress.
  • They rarely appear intoxicated but may behave out of character when drinking.
  • When confronted, they’ll deny having a drinking problem.

Treatment for High-Functioning Alcoholics

Early diagnosis and intervention are important when dealing with high-functioning alcoholism. The earlier an individual goes into treatment the better the outcome.

Treatment for high-functioning alcoholism consists of detox, addiction treatment at a rehab facility (whether on a residential or outpatient basis), and attending support group meetings. The common treatment methods used at treatment facilities include individual and group counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and sometimes, medically assisted treatment.

Win the Battle Against Alcoholism

Struggling with alcoholism can leave you feeling drained and isolated. However, seeking professional help from a rehab center like the Robert Alexander Center for Recovery can help set you on the course to recovery. We offer both residential and outpatient treatment programs as well as a family program for those whose families have been affected by alcoholism.

So, if you’re looking for personalized, evidence-based alcohol treatment in Kentucky, give us a call.

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