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Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic

Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic

Are you or someone you know a high functioning alcoholic? While it may not be as readily apparent as the stereotypical image of an alcoholic, high functioning alcoholism is a real and often overlooked issue. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into the signs and symptoms of high functioning alcoholism and provide you with valuable insights into this hidden struggle.

What is a High Functioning Alcoholic?

A high functioning alcoholic is an individual who is able to maintain their daily responsibilities, such as work, family, and social obligations, while still abusing alcohol regularly. This designation may mask their addiction, making it challenging for others to recognize the problem. Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics that define high functioning alcoholics and the impact of their behavior.

Characteristics of High Functioning Alcoholics:

  1. Excessive Alcohol Consumption: High functioning alcoholics often consume large amounts of alcohol without appearing intoxicated. They may have developed a high tolerance, allowing them to drink heavily while appearing relatively sober.
  2. Denial: One of the hallmark traits of a high functioning alcoholic is denial. They may vehemently deny having a problem with alcohol and downplay their drinking habits, making it difficult for loved ones to initiate conversations about their behavior.
  3. Hiding Alcohol: High functioning alcoholics often go to great lengths to conceal their drinking. This may involve secretly drinking or hiding alcohol at home, in the office, or even in their car.
  4. Tolerance: Over time, high functioning alcoholics build up a tolerance to alcohol, meaning they need to consume more to achieve the desired effects. This escalation in consumption can be a dangerous indicator of their addiction.
  5. Withdrawal Symptoms: When they attempt to cut back on their drinking or abstain from alcohol, high functioning alcoholics may experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include irritability, anxiety, nausea, and even physical cravings for alcohol.
  6. Neglecting Responsibilities: Despite maintaining daily obligations such as work or family responsibilities, high functioning alcoholics may neglect other essential tasks, relationships, or even their own well-being. The drive to prioritize alcohol often leads to the neglect of important aspects of life.
  7. Increased Isolation: As alcohol becomes their primary focus, high functioning alcoholics may become more isolated from friends and family. They may choose drinking over social interactions, further deepening their addiction.
  8. Physical Health Issues: Long-term alcohol abuse can take a toll on the body. High functioning alcoholics may experience health problems such as liver damage, high blood pressure, digestive issues, and more, which can be indicators of their alcohol dependency.
  9. Legal and Financial Consequences: Engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence of alcohol can lead to legal troubles and financial difficulties. These consequences often serve as red flags for the individual’s addiction.
  10. Changes in Personality: Drastic mood swings, irritability, or becoming defensive when confronted about their drinking are common emotional and behavioral changes seen in high functioning alcoholics.

The Impact on Loved Ones

Living with or caring for a high functioning alcoholic can be emotionally challenging. It can strain relationships, create an atmosphere of secrecy and mistrust, and lead to feelings of helplessness among family members and friends.

Reaching Out for Help

If you suspect that you or someone you care about is a high functioning alcoholic, it’s essential to seek help. Remember, recovery is possible, and early intervention can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Call Denovo Recovery Today!

Denovo Recovery is here to provide support and guidance to individuals struggling with high functioning alcoholism. Our addiction treatment center in St. Joseph, MO, offers personalized treatment plans and a compassionate team of professionals to help you or your loved one on the path to recovery. Don’t hesitate to reach out today and take the first step towards a healthier, alcohol-free life.


What distinguishes a high functioning alcoholic from a regular alcoholic?

High functioning alcoholics can maintain their daily responsibilities and often hide their addiction well, while regular alcoholics may struggle to function in their daily lives due to their drinking.

Can a high functioning alcoholic recover?

Yes, recovery is possible for high functioning alcoholics. With the right support and treatment, they can overcome their addiction and lead a healthier life.

How can I help a high functioning alcoholic seek treatment?

Approach them with empathy and understanding, express your concerns, and encourage them to seek professional help. Denovo Recovery can provide the necessary assistance.

Is it necessary to go to a rehabilitation center for high functioning alcoholism?

While not always necessary, rehabilitation centers offer specialized care and support that can significantly improve the chances of a successful recovery.

What types of treatment does Denovo Recovery offer for high functioning alcoholics?

Denovo Recovery provides a range of treatment options, including personalized individual therapy, group therapy, counseling, and ongoing support to address the unique needs of high functioning alcoholics. Our experienced team is committed to helping individuals regain control of their lives and achieve lasting recovery.