Five Signs of Functional Alcoholism

Five Signs of Functional AlcoholismA functional alcoholic can consume high levels of alcohol on a daily basis with few people recognizing the signs. These functional alcoholics defy alcoholic stereotypes in the following ways:

  • They rarely miss work or school due to drinking
  • They never stumble or slur their speech
  • They are often the life of the party

While they may not have the same outward signs of addiction as others, these drinkers will eventually face the same mental and physical consequences that any alcoholic faces. They may be in a more dangerous place, as their ability to “handle” their disease keeps them from seeking help until their addiction is very advanced.

The Secret to Functional Alcoholism: Tolerance

People develop a tolerance to alcohol relatively quickly. This means that they must drink larger quantities more frequently to feel the “buzz” they once felt after just a drink or two. Functional alcoholics have built up extremely high tolerance levels. They can have three or four drinks and barely feel a thing. Even though they may not exhibit the classic symptoms of drunkenness, the effect on their brain and internal organs is the same.

Recognizing the Signs of Functional Alcoholism

The following symptoms are potential signs that a person has become a functional alcoholic:

  • They need a drink (or several) right after work
  • If they are not able to drink at their regular time, they may exhibit signs of withdrawal including shaking hands or irritability
  • If confronted about their drinking, they dismiss concerns, deny that they have a problem and make light of their drinking lifestyle
  • They must always have a supply of alcohol available or they will feel anxious
  • Every social event or celebration must include alcohol

If you are concerned about your own use of alcohol ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you go without any alcohol for a week? A month? A year? Have you tried?
  • Do you find yourself investing increasing amounts of time and energy toward covering up signs of your drinking?
  • Is there a history of alcohol abuse or addiction in your family?

If you are concerned about your drinking, please call our toll-free helpline any time of night or day. Our counselors can discuss functional alcoholism with you in depth, provide a free assessment and help you determine if it’s time for you to get some help.

The Eventual Results of Functional Alcoholism

If left untreated, the “functional” part of alcoholism eventually unravels. The alcoholic needs alcohol throughout the day but feels no euphoric effect. Relationships become strained and broken. Performance at work or school suffers. Finances become depleted. Tremors, seizures and organ failure are eventualities. Functional alcoholism may seem like a lighter form of the disease, but in truth it is often much scarier.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, please call our helpline right now. Don’t let your disease talk you out of making the call and getting more information. Help is available right now.