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What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?

a person sitting framed by light in shadow represents a functioning alcoholic

Drinking is so normalized in our culture that we often do not recognize the signs of a functioning alcoholic until it is too late. Alcoholism is a serious disease that slowly damages one’s physical and mental well-being and even adversely affects one’s relationships with loved ones. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, reach out to Attain Behavioral Health in Cleveland, Ohio, for effective alcohol addiction treatment.

You might be wondering, “What is a functioning alcoholic?” After all, the word “functioning” seemingly implies that the person has got their act together. But that is far from the truth. If you suspect someone you care about is a functioning alcoholic, you should urge them to seek professional help.

To know more about the signs of a functioning alcoholic and our addiction treatment programs, call us at 888.442.2323.

What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?

The term “functioning alcoholic” isn’t a formal medical diagnosis. Instead, it is used in conversations to refer to someone who drinks heavily or is dependent on alcohol but can still function in society.

They appear healthy, doing well in their jobs or careers, and have good relations with their loved ones or colleagues. If asked whether or not they have a drinking problem, they will likely brush off the concern with a smile and a joke.

But these are warning signs. Just because they seem to be functioning well in the present doesn’t mean they will remain functional soon. Although they may not show it, they might be having obsessive thoughts about alcohol or waiting impatiently for their next drink.

Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic

These are some tell-tale signs of a functioning alcoholic:

  • They look forward to getting off after work to drink with their friends or visit bars.
  • They are only interested in parties or plans where alcohol is served.
  • They often drink on their own, especially after getting home from work.
  • They might secretly stockpile liquor.
  • They are in denial about their drinking problem—if confronted, they may make jokes or get defensive.
  • They refuse to go for health check-ups.
  • They occasionally miss work or an appointment because of a hangover.
  • They might engage in risky behavior while drunk.
  • They turn to alcohol as a negative coping mechanism when stressed or unhappy.
  • Even if they regret a binge-drinking session, they are still ready to do it again.
  • They occasionally have blackouts or memory issues due to alcohol consumption.
  • Sometimes, they might even go to the office hungover.
  • Alcohol consumption is hampering their career and family life, although they are unwilling to acknowledge it.

A person showing one or more of these signs may not even know what a functioning alcoholic is or that their life is in jeopardy. So, if someone you love is displaying these symptoms, urge them to contact their healthcare provider or seek professional care for their alcoholism at a quality addiction treatment center.

Get Help and Support at Attain Behavioral Health

At Attain Behavioral Health, our mission is to guide people on their healing journey. No matter how severe the situation, overcoming addiction and living happy and healthy lives is possible.

Since there is no single method for addiction treatment that works for everyone, we offer a range of programs and therapies that cater to a diverse set of needs. From partial hospitalization to intensive outpatient treatment, our world-class services are guaranteed to get you back on your feet in no time.

It is never too late to change your life for the better. There is always support at the ready to help you or a loved one heal. Call us at 888.442.2323 to book an appointment today.