Lastly, high-functioning alcoholics can often develop a serious brain disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, also known as wet brain. Wet brain is caused by vitamin B1 deficiency and is frequently seen as a complication in long-term heavy drinking. People who have lived with high-functioning alcoholism for extended periods often experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to quit. Alcohol withdrawal happens when the central nervous system has become accustomed to the effects of drinking. When it comes to treating high-functioning alcoholism, it is extremely important to teach stress management.

how to battle high functioning alcoholic

Through various personalized addiction programs and treatments, we provide everything you need to build a better life. It can help prevent further mental or physical health complications and ensure that your loved one can live a happy, healthy, sober life. For a mild alcohol use disorder, treatment is minimally disruptive. As we mentioned above, functioning alcoholics average five drinks in a day about every other day. They are generally working, older adults with stable social and familial relationships, more education, and higher incomes.

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Judy is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Maryland, and a National Certified Counselor. She earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling from Johns Hopkins University with an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland. She has served in both clinical and leadership positions in a number of roles, in inpatient and outpatient settings, as a Primary Therapist and Clinical Supervisor.

A high-functioning alcoholic can develop behaviors like drinking early in the morning, sneaking drinks in the workplace, and drinking on the commute home. A single occasion of drinking during the day is not a cause for concern, but be on the lookout if a pattern emerges. If you are not worried about your own alcohol use but you have a feeling that someone you love is a high functioning alcoholic, you may want to step in to do what you can to help them. The reality is, a person has to want to get sober in order to get and stay sober. And often, high-functioning alcoholics do not feel ready to admit they have a problem and stop drinking or seek treatment. After all, if their life is going somewhat okay, they most likely won’t want to give up the substance they use for relaxation, stress reduction, entertainment, etc.

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Dealing with a high-stress career can be a major trigger for alcoholism relapse. Additionally, functional alcoholics may need dual diagnosis treatment for depression. Lastly, feelings of shame and embarrassment are common among functional alcoholics.

Answer the following questions to see if you might be a high-functioning alcoholic. If you find yourself answering “yes” to at least two of the following questions, it may indicate an alcohol use disorder and that you could benefit from getting professional help. While the term “alcoholic” was used in the past but is now viewed as outdated and stigmatizing. Today, healthcare professionals would say that a person has an alcohol use disorder (AUD). While cirrhosis scars from excessive drinking are irreversible, quitting alcohol and leading a healthier lifestyle can help your liver heal from alcohol-related liver disease. The high-functioning alcoholic is an often-celebrated but problematic character type in the media.

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For those who aren’t familiar with this disorder first-hand, when they hear the term “alcoholic,” they might picture someone unable to hold a job or maintain healthy relationships because of their drinking. But having alcohol use disorder doesn’t necessarily mean a person is unable to function in their daily life. So how and when does one know if they or a loved one has a problem with alcohol. The term alcoholic is by nature very degrading and stigmatizing. Although some individuals in recovery find value in admitting that they are an alcoholic, it is something that many find difficulty in coming to terms with. Suggesting that one is alcoholic is suggestive that one fits into a one-size-fits-all demographic, which stereotypically conjures up images of a low-functioning individual.

  • Essentially, alcohol use disorder is an addiction to alcohol.
  • But early interference and treatment can save someone from years of struggles.
  • High-functioning alcoholics will claim they do not need an alcohol addiction treatment program.
  • I worked in construction prior to this field and needed a complete change in career as I was too suffering from substance addiction.
  • The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a division of the National Institutes of Health, describes more than seven drinks per week as heavy drinking for a woman.
  • By the time they admit the problem, their withdrawal symptoms—which can begin within a few hours after their last drink—can become more and more severe.

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