a person has a drink while at work possibly because they are a functioning alcoholic

What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?

Popular culture has helped shape an image of the “classic alcoholic.” Usually, people imagine an alcoholic as a middle-aged man who looks a bit disheveled and staggers in and out of bars all day and all night. He is so easy to recognize because he makes no effort to hide his drunken condition. This caricature of an alcoholic might work well in movies and TV, but is it accurate? Of course not. People who suffer from addiction can be of any age, gender, race, and socioeconomic class. Many go to great lengths to hide their alcoholism and never appear drunk. A functioning alcoholic is the most successful at keeping alcohol abuse under wraps.

The alcohol rehab center at Recovery Ranch Tennessee can help break the cycle of functioning alcoholism. Our team of professionals uses an evidence-based approach that combines clinical therapy with 12-step principles to provide the best possible treatment and recovery outcomes. Get started today by calling 1.844.876.7680.

Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic

A functioning alcoholic consumes far more alcohol than doctors recommend. Having a few glasses of wine every evening to relax may seem more sophisticated than binge-drinking beer at a bar. However, in terms of the amount of alcohol consumed, there is often little difference. Functional alcoholics might not get drunk very easily. However, this ability to “hold one’s liquor” does not exempt someone from alcoholism. In fact, it is a sign of tolerance to alcohol, which is a red flag for addiction.

A functioning alcoholic may feel anxious if something interrupts their usual drinking routine. These cravings are another sign of addiction. The key phrase is, of course, “functioning.” A functioning alcoholic does not experience many interruptions in work, life, or relationships due to their drinking patterns. But the problems may build slowly. These issues can include showing up late to work more often, being less productive, taking more sick days, and potentially even drinking on the job in hopes of quelling nerves and anxiety.

In some cases, functioning alcoholics have a lingering fear that their alcohol consumption will cost them their job, and they sink into a cycle of drinking to help with their anxiety. However, this can cause them to feel anxious because of their drinking. They are then stuck in an endless cycle where drinking may help them ease their short-term issues but creates more long-term problems for the individual.

The Consequences of Alcohol Addiction

The consequences of alcohol addiction can be dire. Alcoholism can lead to problems in personal relationships, at work, and with the law. It can also lead to health problems, both short- and long-term, including:

  • Liver damage – Alcohol is processed by the liver, which can become permanently damaged from alcohol abuse.
  • Heart problems – Drinking heavily can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
  • Increased risk of certain cancers – Heavy drinkers have a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as liver, breast, and mouth cancer.
  • Memory and cognitive impairment – Drinking can cause short-term memory loss or even lead to dementia in extreme cases.
  • Vitamin deficiencies – Alcohol blocks the absorption of certain vitamins in the body, leading to deficiencies and a weakened immune system.

To avoid these consequences and to find a better way of life, many people seek professional help at addiction treatment centers. There, licensed professionals provide personalized care tailored to the needs of each individual. Through evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and holistic therapies, individuals have the opportunity to become healthy, sober versions of themselves.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Recovery Ranch Tennessee

Functioning alcoholics may feel too proud to admit that they need help. They may deny they have a problem since they can hold a job. This is why it may even be more challenging for a functioning alcoholic to get help and enter treatment. Our Tennessee addiction treatment center offers many ways for people of varying addiction levels to get help. Someone who is a functioning alcoholic may benefit from an outpatient program, so they can still go to work and participate in treatment such as therapy at the same time. 

It is important to remember that alcohol consumption takes a heavy toll on bodies and minds. One day, it won’t be so easy to keep alcoholism a secret. Even if you can function in everyday life, you still need treatment to help you heal physically and mentally from addiction. Get help before it becomes an emergency. Contact us by calling 1.844.876.7680 for a confidential consultation.

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