Some people addicted to alcohol show apparent signs that they have a drinking problem. However, others affected by alcoholism may be harder to recognize. That’s true because they still seem to remain generally functional in daily life. People in this second category are sometimes known as high-functioning alcoholics. But make no mistake, high-functioning or not, anyone dealing with alcoholism needs the help provided by alcohol addiction treatment. Can you tell if you have high-functioning alcoholism? It’s possible if you look for certain potential signs.
How to Spot a Functioning Alcoholic
1. Signs of a High-Functioning Alcoholic – A Pattern of Regular, Heavy Alcohol Use
People addicted to alcohol typically have an established pattern of heavy drinking. This fact is true for those obviously impacted by alcoholism. It’s equally as true for those who seemingly retain more of their ability to function.
What qualifies as heavy drinking? Men meet this definition by regularly consuming more than four drinks a day or 14 drinks a week. As a rule, alcohol use impacts women more potently than it does men. For this reason, women have a much lower threshold for heavy drinking. You cross that threshold if you consume more than three drinks a day or seven drinks a week.
Binge drinking is another common measure of heavy alcohol use. You participate in binging whenever you drink enough to get legally drunk in two hours or less. Most men must consume at least five drinks to get drunk this fast. Most women must consume at least four drinks.
2. High-Functioning Alcoholic Symptoms – Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcoholism may be hard to detect in a high-functioning person who is actively drinking. However, the situation can change if that person rapidly cuts back on their alcohol use or gives up drinking altogether.
In anyone addicted to alcohol, both of these actions can lead to the onset of withdrawal symptoms. Classic symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Rapid mood changes
- Unusual anxiousness, irritability, or nervousness
- Jitteriness or jumpiness
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Clammy, sweaty skin
- Abnormally pale skin
- Muscle tremors, especially in the hands
- An inability to think clearly
You may not experience every single one of these problems. However, if you notice several of them, alcoholism may be their underlying cause.
3. Are You a High-Functioning Alcoholic? – A Daily Routine That Revolves Around Drinking
People affected by alcoholism often develop daily routines that center around things related to drinking. For example, you may devote lots of time to buying beer, wine, or liquor. You may also spend much of the day actually drinking alcohol. In addition, you may spend significant amounts of time recovering from the effects of alcohol use. These are all potential high-functioning alcoholic symptoms. That’s true no matter how functional you seem in other areas of life.
How to Spot a High-Functioning Alcoholic – Other Considerations for Women
Women who drink heavily tend to develop alcoholism faster than men. This pattern means that, as a woman, you may need alcohol treatment sooner rather than later. Your apparent ability to function does not alter this critical fact.
Get More Information on High-Functioning Alcoholics at Women’s Recovery
Are you concerned you may be affected by alcoholism? Talk to the experts at Women’s Recovery. We help women from all walks of life assess their alcohol use daily. We also help them detect telltale signs of alcohol addiction.
Women’s Recovery is here for you if you’re affected by addiction. Our treatments work specifically to meet women’s unique needs. They can also fit the details of your personal situation. To learn more about how this approach supports the recovery process, call us today at 833.754.0554. We’re also available through our online message form.