The Signs of a High-Functioning Alcoholic

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Because drinking alcohol is seen as a social behavior, it can be hard to spot someone who has a serious problem with alcohol.

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that affects millions of people a year in the United States. There are some people who appear to be fine in a social setting even though they are deeply suffering from the disease at home behind closed doors. These people can be labeled as high-functioning alcoholics and it can be difficult to understand their struggles. It’s important to know the kinds of symptoms to look for in a high-functioning alcoholic and how you can help a loved one seek treatment. Our drug and alcohol treatment center in Illinois can help all alcoholics overcome this disease.

A high-functioning alcoholic is someone who can still maintain a job and appear to have healthy relationships even though they are suffering from substance abuse. These individuals still need the proper treatment before it’s too late. Signs of a high-functioning alcoholic include:

  • Having a hard time limiting the amount of alcohol consumed each time you go out with them
  • Experiencing frequent blackouts
  • Almost always drinking or making plans that involve drinking when you hang out with them outside of work
  • Constant denial about their unhealthy drinking patterns
  • Being deceptive about their drinking in order to make it seem like they are drinking way less than they are
  • Becoming extremely defensive when you bring up concerns about their drinking habits

It’s important to sit your loved one down and express your concern about their drinking. It may be best for you to plan an intervention since many high-functioning alcoholics are in denial that they even have a problem. Because they are able to maintain a certain level of normalcy, it can be hard to help them realize the damage they are causing on their body. A professional interventionalist can assist you during this process to increase the chances of a successful outcome.

If you are seriously concerned about your loved one’s drinking behaviors, contact Banyan Treatment Center Chicago today at 888-280-4763. We provide alcoholism treatment in Chicago and our care is completely customized.


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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.