Everyone has that one friend that loves to drink, but there’s an enormous difference between social drinking and alcoholism. While roughly 88,000 people dying each year from alcohol-related causes, it’s hard to spot an addict when they are high functioning.
These individuals are able to remain undetected by friends and family, making their addiction that much tougher to manage. They struggle behind closed doors, but are able to maintain healthy relationships while holding down a job and tackling all of life’s obligations. If you have someone you’re worried about, then here’s how you can spot a high functioning alcoholic.
Risk factors may or may not play a part, but they can help you begin to uncover the signs of alcoholism. Individuals at risk include those with a family history of alcohol abuse, legal troubles related to drinking, and those who start consuming alcohol at an early age.
People who have experienced trauma or those who work high stress jobs are also at risk. Other risk factors include individuals who easily succumb to peer pressure, have high anxiety, or dabble in other substances.
High Functioning Signs
Before your friend or loved one needs a vehicular assault attorney, there are signs to be aware of so you can get them help. The first is that their desire to drinks seem unlimited. They might always want one more or continue to drink after everyone else has stopped. High functioning individuals have a difficult time leaving a partial drink, as well.
More serious signs include frequent blackouts, whether the person seems intoxicated or not. They might also experience sudden changes in behavior, becoming overly defensive or aggressive. As with any addiction, the person will also deny there is any problem if the issue is brought up in conversation.
They might joke about their drinking, miss appointments or be late for work regularly, and rely on alcohol to relax. Attempts to hide drinking are also serious signs of a high functioning alcoholic, as is drinking at any time of day.
When drinking becomes a regular part of their daily routine, they might also skip meals in favor of alcohol. You’ll also notice that they never have a hangover after a night of heavy drinking, even when everyone else does.
The legal issues they face are often the most obvious sign, but you might not know about these instances until they ask for help recovering damages from a car accident or for assistance with legal fees. Keep in mind that high functioning individuals have the money to afford their habit, but might not have enough for the high costs of a DUI.
Addressing this issue is difficult, especially when they are going to deny that any such problem exists. Try to pick a time when the person in question is not currently drinking to hold an intervention. Tell them about how their drinking impacts those around them as well as their own behavior, and always ensure them that you’re only saying anything because you care.
Keep in mind that, despite your efforts, a person must want help to receive it unless a court orders them to seek treatment. Do your best to convince them they need to detox and seek therapy, but don’t expect a miracle.