It’s an unfortunate statistic that alcohol dependency and abuse affects over 17 million adults in the United States alone, making alcohol the most common addiction. It is no surprise that as these staggering number of addicts grows, so does their ability to function in society and sometimes blend in enough to avoid getting any help or negative attention. A high functioning alcoholic has the ability to abuse alcohol in a less detectable manner, this may seem like they are more safe and under control, however contrary to that belief, a functioning alcoholic is often just as dangerous or worse than the obvious addicts. Pay attention to these key signs that can help determine a high functioning alcoholic.
Nine warning Signs of Functioning Alcoholism
1.) Alcohol is their Diet
This terrifying sign comes when a person chooses alcohol over any other drink or food offered. Often a functioning alcoholic forgoes breakfast, lunch and dinner by replacing it with alcoholic drinks. Just as most people depend on their daily cup of coffee to wake up, or an afternoon snack to hold them over until dinner, a functioning alcoholic relies on drinks to get through the day.
2.) Low Mood Swings When Alcohol is Absent
Low moods include a wide range of emotions from anger, depression and irritability, all the way to sadness, nervousness and severe anxiety. When a person is disconnected from a substance they depend on, they are in a low state until they know it becomesavailable.
3.) Refusing Responsibility
Part of addiction is being overtaken by a substance or behavior, if an addict is questioned about their issue, they immediately turn to denial and refuse all responsibility. The reason for this refusal is because acceptance threatens their ability to continue without guilt.
4.) Secretive Behavior with Alcohol
Having a secret stash, a flask, or hiding spot for alcohol is a red flag for serious addiction. Secretive behavior is so the person can drink without being question and/or always have a security blanket knowing that they have access to a drink that nobody else can touch.
5.) Personality Switches
It’s very difficult for a person to live as an addict and maintain a balanced state of mind. Psychologically and emotionally they are dependent upon something for their happiness and stability, this means their personality revolves around the drink. A person who is mild mannered could become aggressive and agitated, whereas a normally angry person may become cheerful and mellow.
6.) Immunity to Side Effects
A person who is exposed to any substance begins to build their immunity to its effects. In the case of alcoholism, they may need alcohol in excess before they ever experience a hangover or dizziness. Someone who is dependent 24/7 may not even experience these symptoms at all.
Just as a person who has a food addiction, never senses the feeling of fullness, an alcoholic doesn’t sense when they’ve had too much to drink. Binges and alcohol in excessive amounts are what they chase.
8.) Irrational Reasoning
Excuses are a way of life for addicts, if questioned, an alcoholic will have a series of excuses ready to justify their behaviors. Often, their reasoning is completely irrational due to being under the influence.
9.) Mental Impairment
Perhaps one of the most terrifying effects alcohol has on people, is the ability to directly affect the nervous system, resulting in the impairment of brain functioning. After a binge, even a functioning alcoholic usually can’t recall conversations or events that took place during that time.
These warning signs aren’t just for acknowledgment; they are a means of alerting you or your loved ones to seek the path of help. There are endless groups, counselors, techniques and professionals who revolve around cases of alcohol addiction. It is possible to live a full life without this addiction, but the first step is understanding that the problem is present. These signs can assist in taking that initial step.
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