What is a highly-functioning alcoholic?

19.05.2021 - Addiction, Alcohol, Articles

The stereotypical image of an alcoholic is one of someone with their life crumbling around them, never far from a bottle and seemingly with nothing positive in their life.

But that couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Some people seem fine in the way that they may not seem intoxicated, nor do they seem like they have a substance dependency. Individuals with these traits are often referred to as “functional” or “high-functioning” alcoholics.

Those with a well-paying job, a loving relationship, strong family bonds and a healthy work/life balance may still abuse alcohol for a variety of reasons. In fact, individuals with well-paying jobs and those in positions of power often develop alcohol dependencies after it becomes the go-to way to unwind.

Signs & symptoms of functional alcoholics

Reactive with aggression or denial when asked about their alcohol consumption are common signs of functional alcoholics. While the physical symptoms are the same as regular alcoholism, high-functioning alcoholics may also drink before work, drink when looking after children, or often joke about being an alcoholic.

Other social problems like problems with the law due to behaviour under the influence of alcohol, poor decision making and forgetting responsibilities are significant signs of a high- functioning alcoholic.