People often imagine alcoholics as someone with traffic offenses, jobs that are quickly lost, and frequent domestic problems. A professional person that does well at work and has an untroubled home life may not fit the image of an alcohol abuser. However, experts from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimate that about 32 percent of alcoholics fall into the functioning category. Learn more about signs of addiction in a functional alcoholic.
Avoids Helpful Changes
A good indicator of a problem with alcohol is when someone delays their treatment for an infection because alcohol and antibiotics interact dangerously. The individual may put off a visit to the doctor longer than they should or refuse to begin their medication until after a holiday, party, or weekend so their drinking binge stays unaffected.
Failures with weight loss plans due to drinking could also be a sign. Someone that has the determination to work out and eat healthily but refuses to give up the empty calories in their martini may have a problem. Addiction is likely if you cannot meet healthy goals because alcohol stands in the way.
Hides the Evidence
Functional alcoholics may not realize why they started certain routines. These people may shop for liquor in another town or throw out wine or liquor bottles instead of leaving them in the recycling bin. Functioning alcoholics use excuses that may sound reasonable. For example, the distant liquor store is quieter, so it is easier and faster to stop there. Another excuse might be that alcohol bottles use up too much room in the recycling bin.
People who suspect that they may be a functioning alcoholic should consider why they mix drinks when no one is looking, drink late at night, or tuck bottles away in unused cupboards. Get help if the real reason these habits began was so that the neighbors, a spouse, or others would be unaware of the amount of alcohol usage. Adults that have a healthy relationship with alcohol will rarely feel the need to hide when they want a drink.
Ignores Medical Concerns
Long-term alcoholism causes liver disease, depression, and pancreatitis, but health issues related to alcohol overconsumption arise even sooner. Asthma and allergies can worsen despite medical treatment, high blood pressure can become a frequent problem for people that overindulge with alcohol, and ulcers may develop.
The usual treatments may not have any benefit when someone makes the problem worse by adding alcohol. People may even need to take medication they could have avoided otherwise if they had stopped their habit. A functioning alcoholic should acknowledge that their drinking is the cause of these medical issues to avoid more serious health consequences later in life.
Builds a Tolerance
Functioning and high-functioning alcoholics can keep their normal outward appearance and behavior even after binging. These people are the ones that can continue to walk and talk normally even after consuming what would make others visibly intoxicated. The ability to keep a sober-seeming appearance only helps this type of alcoholic hide their problem longer and to drink more.
Unfortunately, the constant drinking builds up the tolerance to alcohol, so the individual must consume more to feel the same enjoyment they once had from a drink or two. The higher consumption puts someone even more at risk of alcohol-related health problems. Higher consumption can also affect finances because the individual needs such a large amount of liquor to feel satisfied.
Someone can be an alcoholic even if they have a successful career and wonderful personal relationships. In fact, the ability to hide the problem so easily may put someone more at risk because it takes longer before those around the alcoholic become involved. At Clearview Recovery Center we want to help before health issues or family conflicts begin. Contact us to learn how to get help.