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Am I a Functioning Alcoholic? Here are 5 Signs to Consider

Alcohol Use Disorder, more commonly known as alcoholism, is a widespread problem nationwide. In fact, as of 2021, more than 11% of adults in the U.S. struggled with alcoholism. 

A necessary step in addressing any problem is acknowledging it. Many alcoholics, however, may not be aware that they struggle with addiction. Able to carry on with their daily lives in what seems to them to be a competent way, they may not feel that their alcohol use is a problem. 

In this blog, we explore what it means to be a functioning alcoholic, along with five common signs. If this sounds familiar, continue reading to learn more. The good news is that help is available for you, your friend, or your loved one. The first step is awareness.

What is Functional Alcoholism?

A functional alcoholic leads a seemingly successful life despite battling addiction. 

They often excel in careers and relationships but hide their struggles with alcohol overconsumption. 

Detecting their addiction can be challenging for loved ones, and admitting the issue poses challenges. Yet, they must acknowledge this hidden battle, seek assistance, and comprehend the risks. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 20% of U.S. residents are living with alcohol use disorder and fall into the “functional alcoholic” category, emphasizing the need for timely recognition and support.

Could you be a functional alcoholic? Here are five signs to consider:

Sign #1: You Wonder Whether You Should Cut Back on Alcohol Consumption 

You might sense the need to reduce your drinking but struggle to do so. Cutting back seems impossible despite attempts, or you’ve given up trying. This challenge in limiting alcohol intake is a sign worth acknowledging, as it’s a critical factor in alcoholism.

Sign #2: You Question the Need to Stop Drinking Often

Your job performance seems unaffected by alcohol and unnoticed by colleagues. But drinking heavily while functioning well raises concern. Rationalizing excessive drinking while excelling at other parts of your life may signal an alcohol-related issue. 

Functional alcoholics often excel outwardly, believing they’re fine. Yet, it masks a serious addiction under the surface. 

Sign #3: You Intentionally Hide Your Drinking From Others 

Do you find yourself wrestling with guilt over your drinking habits, resorting to concealment? 

Stashing bottles away, ensuring secrecy from your spouse, and preserving a polished appearance despite excessive drinking may signal deeper issues with alcohol consumption. Hiding your drinking from those closest to you could signify a potential struggle with alcoholism. 

Sometimes, if your friends or family haven’t picked up on these hidden habits, it might suggest functioning alcoholism. In this situation, one maintains an outward appearance of normalcy while grappling with a hidden problem. It’s a scenario where the issue remains veiled from those around you, yet it persists, needing attention and recognition.

Sign #4: You Justify Your Frequent Drinking With Random Reasons

Have you found yourself reaching for a drink early in the day to soothe nerves or kickstart your morning?

Sometimes, it might feel innocent—a way to ease into the day before heading to work, believing it helps you function better. You have that drink, but then you have a productive day at the office. It’s simply a little assistance to get started, right? Wrong. 

Relying on an early drink, often termed an “eye-opener,” can indicate an underlying struggle with alcoholism. While you might carry on with your day seemingly unaffected, this reliance on alcohol as a morning necessity remains a substantial red flag that shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.

Sign #5: Your Mind is Preoccupied with Alcohol 

Do you often find your thoughts drifting toward alcohol, even as you excel at your job or perform well in school? Despite your accomplishments, a significant portion of your mental space is consumed by thoughts of having a drink and ensuring a ready supply of alcohol is always available at home.

Constantly thinking about getting and drinking alcohol is a red flag. Even if you’re doing great at work or school, always thinking about alcohol is worrisome. Even if you seem focused, a functional alcoholic often can’t stop thinking about the next drink, showing a hidden problem that needs immediate attention.

Find Help for Functional Alcoholism at Alpine Recovery Lodge in Utah

If these signs of functional alcoholism resonate with you or someone close to you, it’s crucial to take them seriously. 

Alcohol use disorder can severely impact life and health. The good news? Support is out there. At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we specialize in treating alcohol abuse in Utah. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you or a loved one needs help. 

Contact us today to learn more and get the alcohol addiction treatment you need now.