Characteristics of High Functioning Alcoholism

10/20/18: Alcohol Addiction

Characteristics of High Functioning Alcoholism

High-functioning alcoholics are invisible, and that is the way they like it. Statistically, there is probably a person that fits this profile in the room with you right now, and you simply do not know it. Furthermore, you could share an office or a life with a high-functioning alcoholic and not even know it.

The numbers are difficult to ascertain. According to some experts, as many as 90 percent of the nation’s alcoholics may be high functioning alcoholics who are functionally dependent on alcohol. These individuals and their families probably do not know what a difference alcohol rehab Arizona can make in their lives.

What is High Functioning Alcoholism?

Even today, the myth of the “skid row” drunk persists. Many people believe that these are the only people who really need alcohol rehab. Unless drinking has health, social, relational, professional, or other costs, many people will not get help. Indeed, some believe that alcohol rehab will not do any good unless they have hit rock bottom.

Most high functioning alcoholics have trained their minds and their bodies well. So, they do not suffer from many of the symptoms commonly associated with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Additionally, many of these individuals are quite successful. As a result, superiors, co-workers, and even family members may overlook their obvious drinking problem.

That attitude feeds denial, which is another classic symptom of a high functioning alcoholic. This denial runs deep, and there is a logic to it. For example, since s/he is not on skid row, s/he may deny that there is a problem. Other high functioning alcoholics make excuses, like “I only drink expensive liquor” or “My drinking hasn’t really cost me anything.”

Over the long haul, however, persistent drinking is simply not a viable lifestyle choice. The aforementioned health, relationship, and professional costs eventually set in. And, the sooner a person with AUD seeks alcohol rehab, the more effective that rehab will be.

How Do I Know I Need Alcohol Rehab Arizona?

At its core, denial prevents people from getting the help they need. High functioning alcoholics have denied their problem so many times before others that they often believe these denials themselves. So, a brief self-reflection quiz may be in order.

  • Volume: Clinically, a female heavy drinker has more than seven drinks a week and a male heavy drinker has more than fourteen drinks a week. If your consumption is anywhere close to that level, AUD may be an issue.
  • Limitless Drinking: Many high functioning alcoholics cannot stick to self-imposed drinking limits. If Ben tells his wife that he will only have three beers Friday night and he finishes the six pack, neither Ben nor his wife might think there is a serious issue. That’s especially true if Ben is successful at work and has a decent family life. But at that point, Ben’s drinking is clearly out of control. And, it will get worse without help.
  • Alcohol Consumption and Daily Schedules: Do you purposefully go to the darkest bar in the neighborhood so no one will see you? Do you keep alcohol at your desk and use breath mints to cover its odor? Do you plan your day around drinking? If any of these things are true, you may be a high functioning alcoholic.
  • Drinking is a Joke: Many of these individuals make frequent jokes about their drinking or say things like “If I keep this up, I may need to go to rehab.” These comments are signs of deep denial. In other words, this person believes that no one has a problem with alcohol no matter how much they drink.

Other high functioning alcoholism warning signs include using alcohol as a means to an end, combining alcohol with risky behavior, and frequent mood swings.

The Kinds of Help Available for High Functioning Alcoholics at Alcohol Rehab Arizona

AUD is unlike most other conditions. Typically, everyone who has the measles has basically the same symptoms. But that’s not true of the people who seek alcohol rehab. The symptoms are as varied as the individuals who attend these programs. But all these people have at least a couple of things in common. They all want to get help. Furthermore, they know that, eventually, problem drinking will destroy pretty much everything they have or hope to have.

At Arizona Addiction, we start with the things that people have in common. Then, we work to find the most appropriate recovery environment. That could be:

  • Outpatient: One of the biggest benefits of outpatient alcohol rehab is the freedom and lack of supervision. Many people respond very well to 12 Step style therapy and some other similar tools. But in other cases, outpatient therapy’s biggest plus is its biggest minus instead. That’s especially true if there are drinking triggers in the person’s everyday life, and that is often the case.
  • Inpatient: Physical dependence level is sometimes the dividing line between outpatient and inpatient treatment. Some withdrawal is practically inevitable. But if the symptoms are severe, medical intervention is usually required, and that means inpatient treatment. This type of therapy is definitely an investment of time and treasure, but the investment almost always pays very big dividends.
  • PHP: Partial Hospitalization Plans may be ideal for people who need a little more help than outpatient care provides but, for whatever reason, inpatient therapy is not a good option. Plan details vary, but generally, PHP involves a few overnight stays each week.

Most people respond to alcohol rehab treatment, and many people will relapse at least once. That’s especially true among high functioning alcoholics. At the risk of sounding trivial, alcohol relapse is like giving up a home run in baseball. These things happen. The important thing is not giving up the home run, but how you approach the next batter. You should expect setbacks on your road to recovery. However, you should also expect to overcome these setbacks.

If you are a high functioning alcoholic, you may need alcohol rehab. To see how professional alcohol detox therapy can help, contact alcohol rehab Arizona Addiction today. We accept most kinds of health insurance plans. Contact us now for more information.

Content for Arizona Addiction by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment and technology. Advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media

Content for Arizona Addiction Recovery Centers created by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment, technology and advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media


If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, contact 602-737-1619 or email info@arizonaaddiction.com to get the help you need. Our acclaimed recovery environment merges upscale, luxury accommodations with affordability, clinical expertise and an unwavering commitment to patient care and aftercare.

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