Addiction | 6 min read

What Does High-Functioning Alcoholism Look Like & How Do You Know If Someone Is Hiding An Addiction?

Medically Reviewed

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

On August 27, 2022

Written By

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

On March 28, 2022

High Functioning Alcoholotics
Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you are looking to start doing some high-functioning alcoholism, it can feel like your life is barely out of control. Somehow, you can get done most of the things you need to do every day, but you are reliant on substances, particularly alcohol, to get you through your daily life.

High-functioning alcoholism is no way to live and can seriously impact your social life, physical health, mental health, academic career, and job. In addition, it can affect your interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, including your partner, family, friends, co-workers, and children.

You may think that high-functioning alcoholism does not affect the people around you because you can function under the influence, but that is not true. Alcoholism is an addiction that has a ripple effect on the people around you and many facets of your life.

Any addiction is worth treating and addressing to get your life back. Whether it is high functioning or not, alcoholism is an addiction and can be treated with the proper treatment plan. You can get your addictions, but it is important to know if you are addicted to something or are a high-functioning alcoholic.

You may want to learn more about high-functioning alcoholism and how it can affect your life and other people’s lives. If that is true, then please read on to learn more.

What Does High-Functioning Alcoholism Look Like? What Are The Signs?

Alcoholism, particularly high-functioning alcoholism, can show itself in many different ways. There are several symptoms and signs of high functioning alcoholism that you may be able to see in your daily life or in that of a loved one.  Please read on to learn what some of these signs are.

For starters, there are several characteristics of an alcoholic. The first is persistently focused on alcohol in their life. If alcohol is consumed in your daily thoughts, you may have an alcohol addiction. If you wake up in the morning thinking about alcohol, go to work thinking about alcohol, and come home from work thinking about alcohol, you may want to address why you were thinking about the substance so much.

What Does High-Functioning Alcoholism Look Like? What Are The Signs? 

Another characteristic of a high-functioning alcoholic is constantly making excuses for blaming others for their mistakes while drunk. Alcoholics, including high-functioning alcoholics, find it difficult to take responsibility and internship for their actions. They tend to blame other people and other things in my life for why they acted poorly or misbehaved while under the influence of alcohol.

Many alcoholics have financial difficulties because they cannot stop buying and drinking alcohol. This can also translate to being out of control with drinking and uncontrollable purchasing alcohol. An alcoholic, including a high-functioning alcoholic, may have a lot of alcohol at their house or constantly attend bars and parties.

Another symptom of alcoholism is reckless/impulsive decision-making or impulsiveness in general. Many alcoholics make poor or impulsive decisions while under the influence of alcohol.

The signs of somebody with high-functioning alcoholism may be as follows.

  • Able to handle daily tasks
  • Maintains good hygiene
  • Can generally manage their finances
  • Participates in social gatherings and activities
  • Is an active member of their family unit

However, even though the person can function at a high level and maintain normal adult activities, they are still preoccupied and controlled by alcohol. Therefore, even if your day-to-day life is not affected by alcoholism, you can still benefit from a treatment program designed to help get you and your life back on track.

Many high-functioning alcoholics suffer from underlying mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or unresolved trauma that causes them to self-medicate using alcohol. Better treatment methods are scientifically proven to help mitigate these mental health conditions that are much safer and healthier than drinking alcohol.

Dangers of High-Functioning Alcoholism & Other Side-Effects of Hiding An Addiction

Hiding an addiction is not mentally good. Keeping secrets from yourself and others can only result in a detrimental and explosive confrontation. If not a confrontation, then a resolve to cut out people. Many alcoholics do not want to confess that they need help and are addicted to alcohol. There is a stigma around alcoholism, but you must suffer alone and in silence, but that is not the case.

Because of the stigma, many high-functioning alcoholics will not reach out for help and suffer in silence until they succumb to alcoholism or claw their way out. However, becoming a victim of alcoholism is not something that you should aim to do. Extreme physical and mental health illnesses can come from being an alcoholic and can end your life early.

The primary health concern from alcoholism is cirrhosis of the liver. The liver is what filters out alcohol from your body and helps to maintain safe blood alcohol levels. If your liver is overrun with too much alcohol in one sitting, it cannot flush out these toxins, which puts you at incredibly high risk for alcohol poisoning.

Over time, the collection of these toxins in your body can result in liver cirrhosis, liver damage, internal organ damage, lowered brain function, and increased body aging.

One of the biggest dangers of high-functioning alcoholism is the ability to drink unhealthy and dangerous amounts of alcohol nearly daily and still perform well in all facets of life. That is why many people who are high-functioning alcoholics do not realize that they have a diagnosable disease.

Alcohol use disorders, including high-functioning alcoholism and alcohol addiction AR incredibly dangerous if left untreated. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from alcohol use disorder, please make sure that you reach out and help them get the treatment they deserve and need to survive.

Why You Need To Get Help For Alcoholism Even If You’re High-Functioning

Any form of alcohol use disorder is unhealthy. It has extremely detrimental effects on your life that you may not notice because you are dealing with the majority of your life well. However, your social life may be suffering, your internal body may be dying, and your liver may be going into liver failure.

Why You Need To Get Help For Alcoholism Even If You’re High-Functioning

You may not know the reason, but there is often an underlying reason for alcohol use disorders. Typically, they are anxiety, depression, or unresolved and untreated trauma. With the proper help, you can address the root cause of your alcohol use disorder, even if you are high-functioning, and help fix your life and feel better.

You can live longer by treating your alcoholism, and discovering the root cause of your alcohol use disorder can help your life flourish even if you can take care of the basic needs of your disorder. You deserve a life free from addiction, free from the hold of alcohol, free from the burden of a dangerous and life-threatening secret.

How To Get Treatment Help For High-Functioning Alcoholism

Getting treatment for an alcohol use disorder is not as hard as you think it may be. The first step is to tell the people closest to you. Tell your innermost circle of friends, partner, family, or some of the people that you trust about what is happening in your life. Ask them to be a part of your support system to help you navigate this daunting aspect of your life.

Having a support team of trusted people who know you are incredibly valuable when overcoming an alcohol use disorder. Some alcoholics often don’t seem like they need help, so reaching out to people and telling them that you need help is a great way to gain support and have a team cheer you on as you navigate treatment and get sober.

Finding external treatment plans and support groups is another great way to treat alcohol use disorder. Getting in touch with a rehabilitation facility, an alcoholism therapy group, or another type of clinical support is a great way to discover the treatment plan that is right for you.

High-functioning alcoholics are unique because they do not appear to need help. That is why it is up to you for your loved one as a high-functioning alcoholic to advocate for the help they need. However, if you are a high-functioning alcoholic, you may not feel the need to advocate for yourself because you are addicted to a substance. When you are addicted to a substance, the substance controls you and your thoughts. That is why a proper treatment plan is necessary to help you recover.

If you believe that you or a loved one suffers from high-functioning alcoholism, please contact a premier detox facility now. Here you can get the help you deserve and need to live a full and satisfying life.

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  1. NHS. Cirrhosis. Published June 29, 2020. Accessed August 27, 2022.