Alcohol is an embedded part of American culture. Plenty of people can drink alcohol without developing a problem. However, recent studies indicate that as many as 15 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Recognizing the need for alcohol addiction treatment can be challenging. It is critical to remember that addiction is a disease, not a character defect. A drug rehab center can help assess your AUD. When you are ready to accept help, you may need to withdraw in a medically supervised drug and alcohol detox center, depending on the severity of your AUD. After detox, you can receive treatment from an inpatient alcohol rehab center.
The terms abuse and addiction are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. While both are detrimental, not everyone who abuses alcohol will develop an addiction. However, they are at increased risk. Alcohol use disorder occurs on a spectrum. To that end, inpatient addiction services should meet you where you are to accommodate your unique treatment needs.
What Is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?
A functional alcoholic, or high-functioning alcoholic, abuses or depends on alcohol but can still function in society. Some people use the term currently-functioning alcoholic because these individuals are not likely to remain functional indefinitely. In other words, eventually, their alcohol abuse will become full addiction and start to impair their health and ability to function.
For these individuals, drinking rarely causes them to miss work or other obligations. They can manage daily responsibilities and outwardly appear fine or even successful. However, internally, they struggle with uncontrollable cravings, obsessive thoughts about their next drink, and unsuccessful attempts to quit drinking. In many cases, high-functioning alcoholics are aware they struggle with AUD but do not seek help because they have not yet faced serious consequences from their alcohol use. Still, others point to their ability to function as proof that they do not have a problem, leaving them in denial.
Signs You Are a High-Functioning Alcoholic
Most people have difficulty being objective or honest about their alcohol use, especially if they abuse or are addicted to it. Surrounding yourself with others who regularly consume alcohol can lead you to justify your level of drinking. Most high-functioning alcoholics point to the fact that they have not hit rock bottom as evidence that they do not need AUD treatment.
The classic portrayal of an alcoholic as a person who always drinks too much and whose life is falling apart only pertains to a portion of people with AUD. A significant number of people appear outwardly fine, even though they abuse alcohol. While some signs of alcohol addiction are easy to spot, others may be less so. Many people seem to drink moderately in public but make up for it secretly or alone.
Mild alcohol abuse and binge drinking are often overlooked as problematic. However, this type of drinking can quickly spiral out of control, especially if predisposed to addiction. If you question whether or not you are a high-functioning alcoholic, consider these signs:
- You continue to drink despite awareness of problems
- You are unable to stop drinking once you start
- Friends or family have confronted you about your drinking
- You need a drink to relax or feel comfortable
- You joke about having a drinking problem
- You drink in the morning, throughout the day, alone, or hide your level of alcohol use
- You have lapses in memory or black-out while drinking
Often, high-functioning alcoholics are afraid to admit their problem for fear of the stigma of alcoholism or of losing their job. Inpatient alcohol rehab, offers a solution. You can receive the treatment you need while maintaining your regular daily life.
What Is the Definition of a Functioning Alcoholic?
The terms functioning alcoholic and high-functioning alcoholic are not medical but are common unofficial descriptions of someone with alcohol use disorder (AUD). The current standards for moderate drinking are no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. A functioning alcoholic typically drinks more than this daily or regularly engages in excessive or binge drinking episodes.
While a functioning alcoholic might not meet all of the diagnostic criteria for AUD, they usually meet several and can benefit from some level of professional alcohol addiction treatment.
Discover Options for Alcohol Rehab
It’s critical to remember that AUD occurs on a spectrum, and just because you do not fall in the severe range does not mean you do not need alcohol rehab. The simple fact is that if you are questioning your alcohol use, you likely have a problem. If you recognize the signs of alcohol use disorder in yourself or a loved one, do not put off getting help.