Signs of a Functional Alcoholic

There are people that satisfy the requirements for a medical diagnosis for alcoholism who are highly functional in culture and still have their jobs, houses, and also families. This type of drinker is referred to as a functional alcoholic, high-functioning alcoholic, or “currently-functioning alcoholic,” since it’s not most likely that you’ll remain functional (nor abuse alcohol) forever.

They rarely miss out on work and other responsibilities since of their alcohol consumption, although it does occur occasionally, as well as they usually stand out at their jobs and also careers. Commonly, they are brilliant and amusing individuals who succeed in numerous locations of their lives. To all but those that are closest to them, they give the outside look of being completely normal.

Risk Factors

While it’s unknown what triggers someone to become a “high-functioning alcoholic,” there are risk factors that enhance your possibilities of establishing an issue with alcohol, including:

  • Having a parent or close family member with an alcohol use disorder
  • Having a psychological illness, such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia
  • Experiencing high levels of stress
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Having more than 12 drinks (for women) or greater than 15 beverages each week (for men).
  • Binge alcohol consumption (more than 5 drinks per day).
  • Direct exposure to peer pressure to drink.


One of the primary reasons that people that abuse alcohol seeks help is the ultimate negative repercussions of their alcohol consumption. When the discomfort or humiliation obtains bad sufficient, they can no longer reject that their alcohol consumption requires to be addressed.

For the functional alcoholic, the denial runs deep, since they have yet to encounter outward unfavorable repercussions. They are most likely to work daily. They haven’t experienced financially. They have actually never ever been arrested. They tell themselves that they do not have a problem. Listen for reasons: ” I have a fantastic task as well as pay my expenses, so I can not have an issue with alcohol.” “I just drink expensive red wine.”.


The functional alcoholic consumes as much alcohol as any type of individual with an alcohol use disorder, they simply do not display the outward symptoms of intoxication. This is because they have actually developed a tolerance for alcohol to the point that it takes much more for them to feel the effects (consisting of hangovers). Consequently, they must drink progressively larger total up to get the same “buzz” they want.

This sluggish build-up of alcohol tolerance suggests the functional alcoholic is drinking at harmful degrees that can result in alcohol-related organ damages, cognitive impairment, and also alcoholism.1 Chronic heavy drinkers can show a functional tolerance to the point they show a couple of apparent indications of intoxication even at high blood alcohol concentrations, which in others would be incapacitating.

Are You a Functional Alcoholic?

Could it be that you have an alcohol use disorder although you remain to work well in culture? Could your drinking have slowly increased to the point that you have ended up being alcohol reliant without also knowing it? You should take the alcohol addiction screening test.

Below is an account of common functional alcoholic habits. See if anyone of these actions appear familiar. This profile is a woman, however, the same habits are common for males.

It’s important to keep in mind that “functional alcoholic” is not a formal medical term or medical diagnosis.

She Drinks As She Did in College.

When she remained in college, she was the very first to arrive and also the last to leave the party. She might drink everyone else “under the table.” Most of her buddies graduated, grew up, and stopped partying. Currently, in her mid-30s, she still drinks like a fresher away from home the very first time.

She Can Hold Her Liquor.

She can drink as much or greater than anybody, however seldom appears intoxicated. She seldom staggers or slurs her speech. She is greater than likely a “happy intoxicated,” seldom obtaining unpleasant or belligerent when alcohol consumption.

First One at the Bar.

She’s extremely functional at the office, however as quickly as the day is over, she’s the very first one at the bench, or she makes a beverage as quickly as she walks into her home to “relax.” She most likely drinks the first two or 3 beverages very quickly. If for some reason she has to unexpectedly remain late at work, she can end up being upset or cranky.

Drinking Is a Big Part of Her Life.

She discusses drinking a lot and also she is frequently the driving force behind office parties and alcohol consumption celebrations after work. She brags about her alcohol consumption bouts on her blog site and the majority of the pictures in her photo albums were taken in barrooms. She has a tendency to prevent events where no alcohol is available. She purchases the economy sizes as well as constantly ensures there is “enough” alcohol available.

Jokes Regarding Drinking.

She chuckles regarding her alcohol consumption and also alcohol consumption episodes with jokes like, ” I’m a drunk, alcoholics most likely to meetings.” The humor is an effort to validate that her drinking is a choice. If confronted about the amount she drinks, nevertheless, she may obtain defensive, upset, or hostile.

Friends Ignore the Symptoms.

Since she is typically well-liked and fun-loving, or perhaps since she remains in a position of authority, those around her likewise chuckle off her drunken escapades. But covertly, they understand she has a problem. They speak behind her back. However rarely is she faced directly regarding her drinking.

She Begins Participating in High-Risk Behaviors.

Although she may not get captured, she may start participating in risky habits consisting of binge alcohol consumption, driving drunk, drinking while caring for her children, or practicing hazardous making love.

She Begins to See the Effects.

Although she remains to be functional, it starts to obtain much more difficult to do. She starts to notice withdrawal symptoms when she’s not drinking, such as the shakes or uneasiness. She’s having much more frequent memory spaces. She requires more make-up to cover her purged face, grayish pallor, or dark circles. Her drinking shenanigans are ending up being much more extreme, harmful, or embarrassing.