While alcohol dependence is a devastating illness that can destroy lives, a number of people who struggle with it manage to hold down stressful jobs and big responsibilities. From the outside, these so-called high-functioning alcoholics seem to have it all together. They can drive great cars, live in great communities, and make a substantial income.
However, simply because they are high-functioning doesn't mean that they are immune to the effects of alcohol. They are still at risk of hurting themselves and others around them. For example, a pilot nursing a hangover, a surgeon with shaky hands, or a banker handling large sums of money are each at-risk of triggering horrible disasters if they remain on their dysfunctional course.
Here are a few clues that can really help in identifying these time bombs:
1. They consume alcohol rather than eating food.
Alcoholics will commonly remove and replace meals with a couple of drinks, lose interest in food completely, or use mealtime as justification to start drinking.
2. They can wake up without having a hangover, even after a number of drinks.
Drinking alcohol regularly over a long period of time can trigger the body to become dependent on alcohol. Regularly high-functioning alcoholics manage to drink a lot without having the same hangover that tortures the not habitual drinker.
3. Abstaining makes them cranky, jittery, or uncomfortable.
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If an alcoholic is forced to avoid drinking, his or her physical body regularly responds negatively, as they are dependent on the sedative effects of alcohol. Abrupt quitting can cause tension and anxiety, uneasiness, sweating, a quickened heart rate, as well as seizures.
4. Their behavior patterns alter noticeably while under the influence of booze.
Alcoholics may alter dramatically when they drink. A typically mild-mannered individual may become aggressive, or make impetuous decisions.
5. They cannot have just two drinks.
A problem drinker has difficulties quiting, and may even finish others' drinks. Booze will never be left on the table, and there is always a pretext for one more round.
6. Time spans of amnesia or "blacking out" are typical.
Many problem drinkers will take part in activities that they have no recollection of the next day. They may not appear significantly intoxicated at the moment, but they're not able to recall activities that took place.
7. Efforts to discuss drinking
-alcohol-socially">drinking habits are met with hostility and denial.
When faced with matters involving their drinking, alcohol abusers will generally retreat to denial or aggression, making discussion difficult.
8. They never fail to have a good explanation for why they drink.
Most problem drinkers will have a relatively rational explanation for their behavior if flat denial or aggression is not the chosen method of evasion. Anxiety and stress at the workplace, troubles at home, or an abundance of social functions are prevalent excuses to explain their destructive behavior.
9. They conceal their alcohol.
Many alcoholics will drink alone, or sneak drinks from a bottle in a desk or in their car. This kind of covert alcohol consumption is an enormous red flag and there is no other explanation for this behavior other than alcoholism.
Let's keep our society productive, safe, and sober by always keeping our eyes open for dubious actions in order to get these struggling colleagues, family, and friends the help they need.
Symptoms of a High Functioning Alcoholic
From the outside, these supposed high-functioning alcoholics seem to have it all together. They can drive nice cars, live in great communities, and make a significant income.
Just because they're high-functioning does not mean that they're invulnerable to the repercussions of alcohol. A pilot nursing a hangover, a surgeon with trembling hands, or a banker managing large sums of mon