a woman confronting her friend about the signs of a functioning alcoholic

Five Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic: Is Your Loved One Struggling?

Did you know that nearly 20 percent of all alcoholics in America are considered high functioning? In other words, they don’t fit the typical stereotype you may envision when you think of someone who suffers from alcohol use disorder. Rather, a high-functioning alcoholic is typically successful. Signs of a functioning alcoholic may be difficult to notice because they maintain a steady job. They may successfully rent or own a home. They may have a car to take them from place to place. And like many others who battle with alcohol use disorder, they likely have people who love and care about them. Consequently, if you worry that someone you love may struggle with alcohol use disorder in or near Tennessee, Recovery Ranch in Nunnelly can help.

Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic

Still, if you look carefully, there will always be signs that someone is struggling with alcohol. They’re easier to spot in someone else than they are in yourself, however. Additionally, they’re also easier to notice in someone with whom you live. Five major signs of a functioning alcoholic include:

1. Denial

A highly functioning alcoholic may make jokes about drinking too much or may rationalize that they don’t have a problem because they only drink expensive wines or beers. As a result, when you try to talk with them about their drinking, they may redirect your conversation or become angry. This is because they truly don’t believe they have a problem and that they can stop drinking whenever they want. They’re not pretending that everything is okay. On the contrary, they honestly believe it.

2. Memory Loss

The functioning alcoholic in your life, while seemingly having it all together, may not remember small details such as when they last saw you or how they got home the night before. This is because severe alcoholism causes memory loss, blackouts, and lost time. Someone who drinks enough to lose time is in the serious stage of addiction and should seek help right away.

3. Drinking Alone or at Odd Times Throughout the Day

If your loved one often drinks alone or can enjoy alcohol at any time of the day, they may have alcohol use disorder. Ultimately, frequent or constant drinking is one of the signs of a functioning alcoholic. If they have a drink in their hand every time you see them, encourage them to seek treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in Tennessee.

4. Legal Issues

Though your father, spouse, or sibling may appear to have it all together, they may often find themselves on the receiving end of chronic legal and financial troubles, including:

  • Fines
  • Court appearances
  • Revoking of their driver’s license
  • Charges of public intoxication
  • Charges for domestic violence
  • Frequent collection calls
  • Garnishment of wages

Alcohol use disorder causes chaos and distress in the lives of those it affects, and it impacts their families, friends, and loved ones as well. Accordingly, chronic problems with the law are one of the signs of a functioning alcoholic.

5. Difficulty Relaxing

A functioning alcoholic may feel most at ease when pleasantly buzzed. In fact, it may be difficult or impossible for them to relax without the help of a drink. If you see or visit your loved one when they’re not drinking, you may notice signs of withdrawal that include:

  • Irritability
  • Hand tremors
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety

These are the earliest signs of withdrawal, and they can happen as early as six hours after someone’s last drink.

Recovery Ranch in Tennessee Treats Alcohol Use Disorder

If you notice the signs of alcohol use disorder in someone you love, regardless of how subtle, encourage them to reach out for drug and alcohol addiction treatment in Tennessee, like that offered at Recovery Ranch in Nunnelly. Without delay, the compassionate staff at Recovery Ranch will lead your family members gently through detox and treatment to minimize withdrawal symptoms. We’ll teach them newer, healthier coping skills and provide them with the recovery behaviors they need to achieve lifelong sobriety. If you know someone who needs help, encourages them to contact us today at 1.844.876.7680. Once they ask for help, we’ll take the reins and steer them to a brighter future.

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