The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimated more than 15 million adults aged 18 years and older had alcohol use disorder in 2015. Therefore, about 6.2 percent of the adult population, which nearly 10 million men and 5.3 million women, struggled with alcohol use disorder. A sizeable number of those don’t fit the stereotype of what you might think of in a person who struggles with alcohol. This can lead you to wonder, “What is a functioning alcoholic?”
How Many People Are Alcoholics In The United States?
Many people have a certain conception of a person’s actions if they are an alcoholic. For instance, you might think that the person has financial woes, relationship issues, and cannot hold down a job. Perhaps you might think the person is either constantly intoxicated, hungover, and/or engaging in unhealthy behavior. But as many as one-fifth of those struggling with alcohol use disorder are functioning alcoholics. In some cases, you might hear someone talk about being functionally dependent on alcohol, which is the same thing.
What Is A Functioning Alcoholic?
A functional alcoholic is often an educated adult with a successful career and is married. Also, these individuals tend to be middle-aged and have a reputation for being responsible. In many cases, friends, and even their close family members don’t realize that these individuals are functioning alcohol.
During a typical day, their behavior might look much the same as anyone else’s. They get up in the morning, go to work during the day, hit the gym on the way home from work, and stop by the store to pick up milk before heading home. The primary difference that might make you wonder what a functioning alcoholic is is that the person drinks excessive amounts of alcohol regularly.
How To Tell If A Person Is A Functioning Alcoholic
Because this individual can hold down a job and take care of their responsibilities, it can be difficult to identify them as an alcoholic. In many families, it’s viewed as normal behavior that the person comes home each night and downs a bottle of wine or numerous cocktails. Their family members often don’t realize their behavior is troubling. They don’t even know what is a functioning alcoholic — in part because their family member doesn’t seem to fit the stereotypical profile of a person who is struggling with alcohol use disorder.
Signs That Answer The Question Of What Is A Functioning Alcoholic
One of the key ways that a functioning alcoholic veers away from the traditional stereotype is that they can overcome the negative effects of alcohol and still function well enough to meet their engagements. Other signs include:
- Occasional blackouts and/or memory lapses
- Joking refers to alcohol and alcohol consumption
- Using alcohol to relax and/or to relieve stress
- Drinking in secret and/or alone
- An inability to maintain drinking limits
- Sobriety periods that include restlessness, mood swings, irritability, and agitation
Because a person who is a functioning alcoholic will probably have challenging withdrawal symptoms, professional help is necessary to keep them at bay, if possible. AspenRidge Lakewood, located in the beautiful and serene mountains near Denver, is an addiction treatment and mental health center. Our compassionate team is passionate about helping people like you and your loved one recover from substance use disorder. Some of our services include the following:
- Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program
- Home-Like Atmosphere
- Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment Program
- Neurofeedback Therapy
- Holistic Treatment
- Aftercare Program
Speak to the caring staff at AspenRidge Recovery today at 866.977.8625 and learn about the support and resources we offer. We can also guide you through the insurance verification part of the process.