Signs of a functioning alcoholic are not always easy to identify. One reason for this is that some people are good at hiding their addiction. Another reason may stem from our preconceived stereotypes of how an alcoholic looks/acts. Still, another reason is that most people do not know what to look for. The classic personification of an alcoholic is someone who displays destructive behavior that destroys their life. However, this is not always the case. An alcoholic can lead you to believe that everything is okay and even project a positive self-image. However, underneath, they’re struggling to keep it together. Therefore, it is important to identify and address the signs of a functioning alcoholic.
Examples of Alcoholism Signs
Sometimes those closes to an alcoholic may still be unaware of the extent of the problem. Therefore, if you believe that someone may be suffering from alcoholism, then look for common signs of alcoholism such as:
- Denial that they have a problem regardless of how obvious it is
- Ignoring responsibilities at home, work, or with their personal life
- Sudden changes in behavior, appetite, or sleep
- Legal problems associated with their drinking
- Causing those around them to worry about their condition
- Getting drunk even when they did not intend to
Another sign of alcoholism is blacking out from binging. Blackouts occur when a person has no memory of what happened while they were drunk. Some people pass out when they blackout. Others may appear that they are still functioning.
Why People Deny That They Have a Problem
If you point out a person has a problem with alcohol, one of their initial reactions may be to deny the problem exists. As such, you may have to point out why you believe they have a problem. However, this does not guarantee you will convince them. In spite of the signs of a functioning alcoholic, there are numerous reasons why people deny their alcohol problem, including:
- Rationalization: Many alcoholics believe that they do not have a drinking problem. They may try to rationalize their behavior by saying things like, “I only had a couple of drinks,” or “it’s been a while since my last glass of wine.”
- Avoiding a Discussion: If you try to bring up the problem, the alcoholic may dismiss it or tell you that you are overreacting. They may turn the issue back on you and point out your problems. Or, they may try to change the subject or avoid you every time they see you. They may be a functioning alcoholic. However, they still need to address the problem.
- Assigning Blame: One of the most common alcoholism signs is the alcoholic blaming someone else for their excessive drinking. They may try to blame a spouse, family, work, or other circumstances in their life. If they can keep from accepting responsibility, then it allows them to continue functioning while drinking.
- Hiding the Alcohol: The alcoholic may try to conceal the alcohol in the home, at work, or even at events. They may resort to using a flask or lying about the smell on their breath. Or, the user may try to use excuses to explain their behavior.
Other common tactics include making comparisons, agreeing to a false contract, or getting defensive when you confront them. These common signs of alcoholism should raise a red flag.
Learn the Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic
The first step in addressing the signs of a functioning alcoholic is to get clean at a detox center. The Ranch PA offers a full addiction treatment program in Pennsylvania. To find out more about your treatment options, call us at 717.969.9126. We are here to help you get on the road to recovery.