Functioning alcoholism is a serious condition that can often go unrecognized because the individual may appear to be functioning normally. Those suffering from this disorder may be able to maintain their job, relationships, and lifestyle but are still engaging in behaviors that can lead to alcohol abuse and addiction. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at functioning alcoholism and explore how to help a functioning alcoholic. Keep reading to learn more.
What is functioning alcoholism?
Functioning alcoholism is a disorder that affects millions of people in the United States. It is a form of alcoholism in which individuals can maintain a seemingly normal life while still suffering from the effects of alcohol use disorder. People with functioning alcoholism may not appear to have an alcohol problem, as they may be able to maintain a job, a family, and good relationships. However, they are still suffering from the physical and psychological effects of long-term alcohol abuse.
Functioning alcoholics often deny that they have a problem and may even try to hide their drinking from others. They are usually able to maintain a strong outer facade and often engage in high-risk behaviors such as binge drinking or drinking and driving. They may be able to avoid legal or social consequences, but the damage they may be causing to their bodies and minds is still very real. Functioning alcoholism is a serious condition that can have a devastating impact on the lives of those affected.
What are the signs and symptoms of functioning alcoholism?
The signs and symptoms of functioning alcoholism may be difficult to detect since many of the warning signs are not immediately apparent. An individual with functioning alcoholism may appear to be just like anyone else, going to work, taking care of their responsibilities, and maintaining relationships with others.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include increased tolerance for alcohol, drinking more than intended, wanting to quit but being unable to, drinking to cope with stress, and drinking to feel better. Other signs and symptoms may include blacking out after drinking, drinking more than usual during social situations, having a strong compulsion to drink, and feeling guilty or ashamed about drinking. Additionally, changes in personal behavior due to excessive alcohol consumption might include irritability or mood swings when sober, neglecting responsibilities at home or work, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating.
Physical signs for a possible diagnosis of functional alcoholism include drastic changes in physical health, such as frequent illnesses, a weakened immune system, nutritional deficiencies, and other chronic conditions caused by long-term heavy drinking. Additionally, any symptoms related to liver damage, including jaundice coloring, abdominal pain, fatigue, and nausea, could also indicate a problem with alcoholism.
How can you help someone with functioning alcoholism?
Helping someone with functioning alcoholism requires patience and understanding. It is important to remember that this is a difficult and complex situation for the individual and that it is not an easy process for them to confront and deal with. A supportive environment is essential in order to assist the individual in addressing their alcohol dependence.
The first step in helping someone is to talk to them. It is important to create a safe, non-judgmental space in which they can open up and express their feelings and thoughts. Ask questions in a supportive and understanding manner. This can help the person to better understand the impact of their drinking and to start to identify the underlying causes of their drinking.
Encourage the individual to seek help from a qualified medical or mental health professional, and offer your support in finding the right resources. In some cases, it might be appropriate to get the person involved in a rehab program or facility. This is a process that will take time, and it is important to recognize that the person may not be ready to accept help or to make changes right away.
Understanding functioning alcoholism is essential to identify and address the significant impacts it has on an individual’s life and relationships. It is a complex disorder and requires a comprehensive approach to better recognize and treat it.