While alcohol dependence is a devastating disease that can destroy lives, a few people who battle with it manage to hold down big responsibilities and stressful jobs. From the outside, these so-called high-functioning problem drinkers seem to have it all together. They can drive great cars, live in good neighborhoods, and make a substantial income.
Just because they're high-functioning doesn't mean that they're immune to the effects of alcohol. They're still at risk of harming themselves and others around them. A pilot nursing a hangover, a surgeon with unsteady hands, or a financier handling large sums of money are each at-risk of inducing horrible disasters if they stay on their dysfunctional course.
Here are some warning signs that can really help in identifying these time bombs:
1. They consume alcohol in place of eating.
Alcoholics will regularly remove and replace meals with a couple of drinks, lose interest in food altogether, or use mealtime as a reason to start consuming alcohol.
2. They can get out of bed without having a hangover, even after several drinks.
Consuming alcohol routinely over a substantial period of time can induce the physical body to become dependent on alcohol. Commonly high-functioning alcoholics manage to drink a great deal without having the same hangover that plagues the occasional drinker.
3. Abstaining makes them grouchy, nervous, or uncomfortable.
If an alcoholic is required to avoid drinking, his or her physical body commonly responds negatively, as they are dependent on the tranquillizing effects of alcohol. Sudden quitting can trigger anxiety, uneasiness, sweating, a rapid heart rate, and even seizures.
4. Their behavior patterns alter significantly while under the influence of alcohol.
When they drink, alcoholics may alter significantly. A generally mild-mannered individual may become aggressive, or make impulsive choices.
5. They cannot have just two drinks.
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A problem drinker has trouble stopping, and may even finish others' drinks. Booze will certainly never be left on the table, and there is always a pretext for one more round.
6. Time spans of memory loss or "blacking out" are common.
Many problem drinkers will take part in activities that they have no recollection of the following day. They may not appear significantly intoxicated at the time, but they're unable to remember events that happened.
7. Attempts to talk about drinking behavior are met with hostility and denial.
When confronted with matters involving their drinking, alcoholics will generally retreat to denial or aggression, making conversation difficult.
8. They typically have a good explanation for why they drink.
Most problem drinkers will have a seemingly rational explanation for their actions if flat denial or aggression is not the chosen mode of evasion. Stress at work, problems in the home, or an abundance of social events are common excuses to explain their destructive behavior.
9. They hide their alcohol.
Many alcoholics will drink alone, or sneak drinks from a bottle in a desk or in their vehicle. This type of hidden drinking is an enormous warning and there is no other explanation for this behavior apart from alcohol addiction.
Let's try to keep our community productive, safe, and sober by keeping our eyes open for problematic actions to get these troubled colleagues, family, and friends the assistance they need.
Indications of a High Functioning Alcoholic
From the outside, these supposed high-functioning alcoholics appear to have it all together. They can drive nice cars, live in great neighborhoods, and make a substantial income.
Just because they're high-functioning does not mean that they're invulnerable to the effects of alcohol. A pilot nursing a hangover, a surgeon with unsteady hands, or a financier handling large amounts of money are each at-risk of causing horrendous disasters if they stay on their destructive course.