When most people hear the term, “alcoholic,” they are likely to picture a person who is unable to function in day-to-day life. They may have issues holding down a job, or being able to afford a house or a rental. But in many instances, some people with alcohol use disorder are able to function while still struggling with an alcohol dependency issue. These individuals are referred to as high-functioning.
High functioning alcoholism should not be confused with a lack of adverse consequences. While high functioning alcoholics may be able to hold down a steady, good job and maintain their finances and avoid alcohol-related legal issues, they are still putting their health and well-being at risk. Friends and family members may be lulled into a false sense of security if their loved one is “high-functioning.” It’s crucial that alcoholics of all levels on the functioning spectrum get help for their disease.
Alcohol use disorder can range from mild to moderate, to severe. Just because someone has a mild case of the disease, does not mean there isn’t a problem. In all actuality, getting help for alcoholism while it is in the milder stages makes it easier for the patient to achieve lifelong sobriety and avoid many of the health problems associated with alcohol abuse.
Functioning alcoholics do not act like most people imagine an alcoholic to act. Functioning alcoholics are usually productive. Sometimes, they may even appear as high-achievers, or occupy positions of power in their careers. Outside successes can also cause loved ones to overlook the functioning alcoholic’s dependence on drinking. This is a huge mistake.