A high functioning alcoholic can be self-diagnosed. Using some standard criteria can help you determine if you or someone you know fits the definition. The awareness of that diagnosis can be the foundation to begin recovery efforts with a medically-supervised detox center.
What is a high-functioning alcoholic?
A high-functioning alcoholic can drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol routinely, yet still appear successful in their professional life and stable and satisfied in their personal life. They may excel in their industries and be considered leaders in their communities. The public perception of their heavy drinking may be colored by their ability to remain productive and reliable.
How much drinking makes me a high-functioning alcoholic?
The answer comes from how heavy drinking is defined. It differs among genders. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines it as the following:
For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week
For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week
Binge drinking is a part of heavy drinking activity. NIAAA defines it as “a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent – or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male), or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours.”
Seven Signs of a High-Functioning Alcoholic
1. They hide the severity of alcohol abuse from friends and loved ones
The high-functioning alcoholic may drink alone frequently, avoid making alcohol purchases visible, or hide empty containers in an effort to lessen others’ awareness of how much and how often they’re actually drinking.
2. They need alcohol to relax or feel confident.
The high-functioning alcoholic may drink the moment the workday ends, have a drink before dinner, or have several drinks before meeting friends as a way to calm themselves or prepare for social interactions.
3. They forget what they did while drinking.
The high-functioning alcoholic may have lapses in their memory from drinking episodes. They may not be able to recall what they did or said or where they went.
4. They project their drinking problem onto others.
The high-functioning alcoholic may mention people in their work or social circles who drink “too much” to keep the focus on other people.
5. They become defensive when confronted about drinking.
The high-functioning alcoholic may vehemently deny they have a problem or make an aggressive joke about it. They may attempt to back up their claim that they have their drinking under control by recalling times they were able to take care of themselves after a night of binging.
6. They lose close friends due to drinking.
The high-functioning alcoholic may suddenly stop spending time with close friends with no explanation of what happened. Those relationships may be ended by the drinker’s risky choices, aggressive behavior, or hurtful words in the presence of their friends.
7. Legal problems related to drinking (DUI arrest, etc.) emerge.
The high-functioning alcoholic may be able to successfully hide their drinking problem until they are arrested for driving under the influence or face some other legal problems connected to their behavior while intoxicated.
Reasons to Use Medical Detox for Alcohol Abuse
If you’re wondering “can I detox at home?“, it’s important to note that the process of detoxing from alcohol can present serious risks to a person’s health. Medical detox eliminates those risks. While under the care of medical professionals, a person in detox may experience a less intense version of symptoms with minimal discomfort. The medical team also may prescribe medications as part of treating certain withdrawal symptoms.
Medically-supervised detox provides round-the-clock monitoring for a patient as they experience each withdrawal stage. The medical team can manage these symptoms in real time as they appear, day or night. The team also can address co-occurring physical and mental health conditions. Mental health concerns can include anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress.
Underlying physical and mental health conditions can be diagnosed during medical detox. These previously undiagnosed disorders may be inhibiting a patient’s work to start recovery. In doing so, a patient can be set up for a better chance for success when transitioning from detox to an inpatient or outpatient facility.
Restored Path’s Solution
Restored Path is DFW’s premier location for alcohol detox in Dallas and surrounding areas. Conveniently located in Frisco, we provide a safe sanctuary for healing that is also a state-of-the-art detoxification facility for a wide range of substances. Our compassionate physicians and therapists want you to get well and are committed to removing any existing barriers to your care. Restored Path’s team of board-certified physicians and highly qualified RNs have extensive critical care experience and are available to monitor your detox program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.