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Am I A Functioning Alcoholic?

Francisco Church
Chief Editor of - Recovery Ranger

Francisco Church is a rehabilitation specialist and the chief editor of Recovery Ranger. He creates this site to offer guidance and support to individuals seeking...Read more

Are you a functioning alcoholic? Do you drink heavily and still manage to juggle work, family and other responsibilities? If so, you may be a functioning alcoholic. In this article, we’ll explore what it means to be a functioning alcoholic, the dangers of this behavior, and ways to seek help if you feel you may be in this category.

Am I a Functioning Alcoholic?

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

A functioning alcoholic is someone who is able to maintain a job and appear to have their life together despite having an alcohol addiction. This type of person is often called a “high-functioning alcoholic” because they are able to carry on with their day-to-day responsibilities while still drinking large amounts of alcohol.

Functioning alcoholics may be able to hide their addiction from friends and family. They can often go to work and do the job well, while still drinking heavily at night. They may be able to continue to perform their daily responsibilities, even when they are under the influence of alcohol.

However, a functioning alcoholic is still an alcoholic, and they are still at risk of the same health consequences as someone who drinks heavily but is not able to control their drinking. This includes an increased risk of liver damage, heart disease, depression, and other serious health problems.

Spotting Signs of a Functional Alcoholic

Functional alcoholics may be able to hide their drinking from family and friends, but there are still some signs that can be spotted. If someone is a functioning alcoholic, they may display signs of irritability, depression, or anxiety when they are not drinking. They may also have a pattern of drinking heavily and then trying to hide it.

The person may also be secretive about their drinking, hiding it from family and friends. They may also be drinking at inappropriate times, such as drinking in the morning or at work. Additionally, they may be drinking more than usual or more than what is considered to be a “safe” amount of alcohol.

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Physical Signs of a Functional Alcoholic

Functional alcoholics may also display physical signs of their drinking. For example, their skin may appear flushed or their eyes may be bloodshot. They may also have a heightened tolerance for alcohol, meaning that they can drink larger amounts of alcohol without becoming intoxicated.

Additionally, the person may display unexplained weight loss or changes in their eating habits. They may also experience memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, or have difficulty sleeping. These are all signs that someone may be a functioning alcoholic.

Risk Factors for Developing an Alcohol Dependence

There are certain risk factors that can increase someone’s chances of becoming a functioning alcoholic. These include having a family history of alcohol use disorder, having a mental health disorder, or being exposed to alcohol at a young age. Additionally, people who have a high stress level or have limited access to social support may be more likely to become a functioning alcoholic.

Treatment Options for Functional Alcoholics

There are a variety of treatment options available for people who are struggling with an alcohol addiction. The most effective treatment is often a combination of medication, counseling, and support groups.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications to help reduce alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These medications can help to reduce the urge to drink and can make it easier to abstain from alcohol.

Counseling and Support Groups

Counseling can be an effective way to address underlying issues that may be causing someone to drink heavily. A qualified counselor can help the person identify and address the root causes of their drinking.

Support groups can also be a helpful part of treatment. These groups provide a safe space for people to talk about their struggles with alcohol and to get support from people who are going through the same thing.


Functional alcoholics are people who are able to maintain a job and appear to have their life together despite having an alcohol addiction. There are certain signs and risk factors that can indicate someone is a functioning alcoholic, and there are treatment options available to help them overcome their addiction.

Top 6 Frequently Asked Questions

What is a functioning alcoholic?

A functioning alcoholic is someone who continues to drink alcohol despite the negative effects it may have on their lifestyle and health. This person usually has a high tolerance for alcohol and may be able to maintain a job and relationships while drinking. They may even appear to lead a normal life, but deep down, they are struggling with their addiction.

What are some signs of a functioning alcoholic?

Some signs of a functioning alcoholic include drinking alone, becoming aggressive or irritable after drinking, having blackouts or memory lapses, drinking to cope with stress, and drinking more than what is considered a moderate amount. They may also experience physical symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and weight loss.

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How can I determine if I am a functioning alcoholic?

If you think you may be a functioning alcoholic, it is important to be honest with yourself and seek help. Consider talking to a professional to assess your drinking habits and if they are negatively impacting your life. You can also take a self-assessment test to help you determine if you are a functioning alcoholic.

What are the risks of being a functioning alcoholic?

Being a functioning alcoholic can have serious risks to your health, relationships, and career. Long-term alcohol use can lead to serious health complications such as liver disease, heart disease, and cancer. It can also cause problems in relationships and at work due to difficulty concentrating, poor decision-making, and mood swings.

What are some treatment options for a functioning alcoholic?

Treatment options for a functioning alcoholic depend on the severity of the addiction and can range from therapy, support groups, and medication to inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. It is important to find a treatment plan that works for you and to have a support system in place to help you stay on track.

How can I prevent myself from becoming a functioning alcoholic?

The best way to prevent becoming a functioning alcoholic is to be aware of your drinking habits and to practice moderation and self-control. It is important to set limits for yourself and to avoid binge drinking or drinking when you are feeling stressed or anxious. If you find yourself wanting to drink more than you should, it may be time to seek help.

Alcoholism Recovery Help: Am I a Functioning Alcoholic?

After taking an honest look at your behavior and considering the criteria of a functioning alcoholic, it is clear that this is a question only you can answer. If you are drinking more and more to cope, it is important to seek professional help and make changes to your lifestyle to ensure your physical and mental health. Remember, the earlier you take action, the better the outcome.

Francisco Church is a rehabilitation specialist and the chief editor of Recovery Ranger. He creates this site to offer guidance and support to individuals seeking to overcome addiction and achieve lasting sobriety. With extensive experience in the field of addiction treatment, Francisco is dedicated to helping individuals access the resources they need for successful recovery.

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