Menu Close

6 Signs That You Are a High-Functioning Alcoholic

Person considering the signs you're a high functioning alcoholic

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse cause many social, psychological, and physical problems, especially for high-functioning alcoholics. Alcohol poses a unique challenge, making it hard to distinguish between moderate and problem drinking. Problem drinking can escalate into alcohol use disorder (AUD). Some people manage to hide their alcoholism’s external signs, known as high-functioning alcoholics. Since alcoholism doesn’t always lead to personal or social issues, some continue to misuse alcohol, denying their addiction.

If you’re not sure whether or not you need alcohol addiction treatment, contact Ashwood Recovery online or call 888.341.3607 to speak with someone from our team to discuss recognizing the symptoms and signs that you’re a high-functioning alcoholic and also typical signs of alcohol addiction.

1. You Consume Alcohol to Cope

Signs of alcoholism vary, but consistently using drinking as a coping mechanism is a universal red flag. Usually, enjoying a few drinks weekly is common. However, it’s worrisome when alcohol is used to handle stress, lift spirits, or soothe anxiety. As a depressant, alcohol shouldn’t be a go-to for negative emotions or stress. Occasional drinking may seem harmless, but turning to alcohol for life’s challenges is a clear warning.

2. You Drink Alcohol in Every Situation

Social drinking becomes a problem when you feel the need for a drink in almost every situation. Moderate drinking means enjoying a glass of wine or a bit of whiskey to relax at the week’s end. However, it turns problematic when alcohol becomes the solution for everything: calming down, cheering up, falling asleep, or waking up. Alcoholism isn’t just binge drinking—it’s also having a ‘moderate’ amount of drinks every day.

3. You Consistently Drink On Your Own

This is perhaps one of the most evident signs that you are an alcoholic, high-functioning or not. Healthy drinking habits usually involve drinking in a social setting—with your friends, your partner, your family, and your loved ones. One of the significant signs of a high-functioning alcoholic is when drinking is done alone, sometimes even in secret. When you drink on your own, it can be a lot harder to limit the amount of alcohol that you consume.

4. You Drink Too Much Too Often

As noted, problem drinking doesn’t always lead to issues at work or home. You might manage work projects, care for your family, and not show significant negative behaviors like anger or withdrawal. Yet, there’s a clear standard for heavy drinking. For women, it’s up to three drinks a day or seven a week. For men, it’s up to four drinks a day or 14 a week. Drinking more puts you at risk for alcoholism.

5. Drinking Increasing Amounts of Alcohol as You Build Tolerance

No matter your behavior, consistent heavy drinking raises your tolerance for alcohol. Over time, you’ll need to drink more to get the same buzz or effect. This is particularly true if you can’t stop drinking once you start. Regularly finishing a bottle of wine after opening it is a sign of high-functioning alcoholism and also increases your alcohol tolerance, leading to a cycle of dependence.

6. Experiencing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Functional alcoholics may appear in control while drinking but struggle to maintain it after not drinking for a while. Withdrawal symptoms for alcoholics can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Extended fatigue

If you notice these symptoms when you’d typically start drinking, it’s a sign you’re a high-functioning alcoholic needing help.

Connect with Ashwood Recovery to Start Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Idaho Today

Alcoholism can be treated with the proper alcohol abuse treatment, and rehab can assist those struggling with this addiction to successfully withdraw from alcohol and manage the cravings and challenges of alcoholism. If you’re unsure about your alcohol consumption, consider taking our alcoholism quiz to assess your drinking habits. If you have questions or a story to share about being a high-functioning alcoholic, feel free to contact us online or call 888.341.3607 today.