Last Updated on November 21, 2021 by Ben Lesser
A functional alcoholic is person who seem to have his/her life in good shape but in real, they face a lot of problems in private. It is also true that if you have no relationship with alcohol, you seem like a functional alcoholic. However, people living that kind of life on the outside often have personal relationships with alcohol. This report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) suggests a significant increase in functional alcoholics for some time now, and the National Institute of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDHA) support this conclusion. In the age bracket between the ages of 15 and 24, the number of economically active people is estimated to be close to 16 million, which concerns economic experts.
Highlights on Functional Alcoholism
- A functional alcoholic is a person who practices a high level of alcohol abuse is thought to live with a lifestyle consistent with what the state of mind for the person is supposed to be;
- A Functional alcoholic`s behavior is widely considered as alcohol addiction is considered to be fundamentally destructive to relationships since it causes several issues at the individual and family levels. These setbacks include moral degradation, physical abuse, depth of addiction, conflicts, and intimacy issues.
- There has been a serious downward trend in the number of people who work, and functional alcoholics represent a significant number of those who have lost their jobs due to continued low-quality production. Functional alcoholics affect the people dependent on these persons and bring on sudden stress and anxiety, a sense of isolation, uncertainty about their future, and health complications for the dependents.
- Unsold Alcohol is Not a Bad Drug: Everyone who drinks has to pay for their costs with money they do not have; however, it has no intrinsic re-education value in the case of alcohol since the consequences are far greater.
- A Poor Health Condition: this causes an accumulation of health-related debt, including the debt for medical bills incurred by health issues that slow a functional alcoholic down either physically or mentally. Such conditions include liver cirrhosis, heart problems and diabetes.
- The Constant-State Type of Intoxication: while it allows the consumption of greater quantities of alcohol during a given period, in general, it causes mental disorders or disturbances in behavior during excessive consumption.
Many individuals seeking treatment to overcome the alcoholism use disorder do not fit the criteria underlined below. The expert usually classifies them as functional alcoholics while they can truly be called functionally attached to alcohol or functionally dependent on it. That is according to the post on Everyday Health. As individuals seem to lead a relatively normal life, I think it is more likely that there have been fewer cases than reported in most cases. This concerns me because the statistics I acquired suggest that there may be fewer cases.
Based on findings reported by Psychology Today, the number of individuals who are functional alcoholics can range anywhere between 20% and 25%, with estimates as high as 75-90 per cent in the cases reported, making a significant difference to the number of individuals in the United States who suffer from alcohol abuse.
It is unfortunate to report that many functional alcoholics seem to live the normal life of a successful individual, such as one with a successful career, a wife/husband and a family, instead of being lonely and desolate. It may seem hard for family members, and even some friends, to point out the effects of one’s lifestyle since it is nearly impossible to point out their various effects because everything happens in a normal individual’s life, which is more commonly regarded as normal.
The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that the misuse of alcohol across this age range is responsible for an increase in deaths and disabilities and health problems amongst persons in the active population of between 15 and 45 years old.
As opposed to normal alcoholics, functional alcoholics can skip a day or two of drinking, making them ideal for leading a “divided lifestyle,” one that includes a time when they use alcohol at work and not at work. While this does not necessarily mean they do not drink heavily every day, they are still susceptible to experiencing problems if their drinking levels increase drastically.
Alcohol Abuse has numerous negative consequences, in most cases, not detected immediately.
In general, the NIAAA believes that alcohol misuse is a major contributor to the death and disability rate, especially among people ages 15-49.
How to Spot a Functional Alcoholic
As defined above (confirm the first page), the life of a functional alcoholic seems to be normal. However, that does not mean they have no problem with alcohol abuse or alcohol use disorder. In most cases, functional alcoholics find themselves in the chains of thirst (drink more, get satisfied more), which in uncontrolled levels may lead to some symptoms if they have not taken alcohol.
Some of The Signs May Include:
- Stress leading to depression
- Memory loss
Lack of concentration in any given task, which may be education, work or family issues that more often is a sign of alcohol addiction. However, a functional alcoholic may not experience these problems, as they are well accustomed to them. Nevertheless, this does not guarantee the individual long-term functionality as alcohol tends to break down the normal mental operation that leads to low productivity.
Signs to Watch in Case You Suspect One Is a Functional Alcoholic
The Most Common Signs of This Are:
- A Breakdown in Thinking: Alcohol Causes a Loss of Memory.
- Increased levels of forgetfulness
- cannot recall properly the task given
- Uncontrollable Drinking: The people whose drinking habits are out of control to have to drink much fewer than normal in a single sitting than normal. Secretive drinking – secret drinking is mostly a response to proving to others that the person is good at alcohol management.
- High Mood Swings: when functional alcoholics are withdrawn from accessing Alcohol or the subject of prohibition resulting from underage drinking. They tend to be more aggressive and hard to control.
- Requires Alcohol as a Stimulant: functional alcoholics most often tend to cool down their stress, anxiety with a glass of Alcohol. Being the leading cause of deaths, Alcohol tends to reduce a person’s life by almost 30 years, according to the national institute of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, which has also caused the deaths of 3.3 million patients in the United States alone in 2012 either directly or indirectly.
How to Discuss Health Issues with A Functional Alcoholic
- Talk when They Are in A Good Mood: This step includes understanding that a functional alcoholic`s anger comes from denial most of the time and that it is good to learn when to speak with them. It is important to make your intentions clear at a time when they are not ripe for misunderstanding.
- They Relaxed when They Understand Their Physical and Emotional World: In this state, they are more likely to take what you’re saying as part of their daily regimen than they normally are.
- Share Your Past Knowledge: To bring them into your world, it is important to share a story of some of your past experiences, normally of a similar nature. However, be sure to keep your story short not to lose them in the process.
- Stand Firm with Your Words: The majority of functional alcoholics or substance abuse tend to use third parties to sabotage their recovery process. In general, this is intended to cause you to feel empathy for them. Usually, the main reason for telling them is when you do not want them to live with them. Standing in the middle of the problem and addressing it requires superiority.
- Always Use a Compassionate Tone to Pass Your Message: Show people compassion and show sensitivity to the individual’s situation and be mindful that s/he is under stress / ashamed, showing compassion and making sure you understand the situation.
- Leave Immediately: Having finished your main reason for the meeting, you need to leave the room immediately because there might be a chance that the functional alcoholic may eventually recognize that they are the problem and become angry and .aggressive
Downsides of Being a Functional Alcoholic
In many situations, the immediate family and the affected individuals have found themselves unable to identify or deny that functional alcoholics is not a problem.
It is Health Advisable to Report Any Cases as Soon as Possible Since if Not Immediately Looked at May a Cause;
Almost 80% of functional alcoholics have used alcohol to cope with stress, whether it comes from their work or personal lives. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), this is true for functional alcoholic individuals and their families. People with mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, inattentiveness, and attentional problems are increasingly invisible, mainly because these individuals have not been reported as published on Everyday Health.
Healthcare-wise, most functional alcoholics are likely to receive help if quality health muster immediately. A dual diagnosis is a treatment used when individuals simultaneously suffer from more than one disorder. Dual diagnosis treatments are generally offered when two problems are present simultaneously. It has been widely documented that depression is one of the most significant causes of mental breakdowns, so it calls for a coordinated effort from mental health and medical professionals, which tends to be resisted by most affected individuals.
Functional alcoholics can accomplish many family members and friends work together, just not before receiving support by attending education sessions throughout the year at work. It is very important to consider the alcohol detox process. It is extremely hazardous if not done correctly and as directed.
In most cases, functional alcoholics seem to face the hardest challenge of going through the withdrawal symptoms. As a result, it is important to seek attention in medical centers for special treatment. Others may prefer the residential treatment program, which can be very rigorous.
A functional alcoholic individual’s capacity to think changes immediately after drinking, so whether he’s participating in drinking significantly alters how he conducts himself on a day-to-day basis. It is most common in those who have consumed alcohol to such a degree that their bodies cannot normally work due to the stimulant. When functional alcoholics are symptomatic, they may be engaged or distracted at work or home while doing their own lives, leaving no time to complete tasks given to them.
Living in The State of Denial
Functional alcoholics tend to conceal their private affairs, using a statement like ‘I am not vulnerable, I will not tell you everything. They might not comprehend how drastically their health and family are affected by something seemingly insignificant. Low-income families have savings that are eaten up by unnecessary medical expenses and an uncertain future in most cases. Thankfully, developmental programs can assist Functional alcoholics in fulfilling their potential and experiencing a sense of community and support.
How and When to Seek Help
There is a strong association between denial and functional alcoholics and their families. The first step toward recovery may be recognizing the signs and admitting a problem. Often, friends and family members may not realize a person has a drinking problem until the individual does, and that may take some extra effort to convince them otherwise. When a sober loved one feels regret for their drinking or angsty, it may be preferable to speak up. Don’t be overly aggressive, and avoid sounding like you’re judging or blaming the recipient of your email. If you’re having trouble convincing your a functional alcoholic to enter a treatment program on their own, you may benefit from seeking the help of a professional interventionist.
People suffering from alcohol abuse are often also suffering from depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. These people also tend to use alcohol to relieve mental illness symptoms temporarily. According to a recent report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), as much as three-quarters of all current drinkers also have a mental illness. According to Everyday Health reports, functional alcoholics are more likely to suffer from major depression.
Functional alcoholics may underestimate the severity of mood disorders. Undiagnosed mental illnesses can make it more likely that a person will make those episodes or drink heavily. The success rate for dual diagnosis recovery may be higher when people with two diseases are treated concurrently. Integrated medical and mental health treatment through dual diagnosis helps a functional alcoholic overcome both illnesses simultaneously.
Addiction treatment tends to include counselling, therapy, and support groups, as well as a period of detoxification. Detoxing from alcohol can be extremely difficult and even downright dangerous. This is why functional alcoholics are recommended to be performed in an environment where all routine medical needs are covered round the clock.
Your dependency on alcohol, family history or medical history, and the length of time you have abused alcohol will affect the best treatment program. Functional alcoholics may recover with outpatient treatment. They can attend an outpatient treatment program, participate in group therapy, counselling, and education, and then go home at night to sleep. People who need a more intensive, more comprehensive approach to treatment may glean the most benefit from a residential treatment program. It is important to note that a functional alcoholic will need to participate in peer or 12-step support programs for them to succeed for someone to succeed.
Get the Help You Need Right Now
Are you or is your loved one a functional alcoholic or suffering from substance abuse and mental illness? If so, then Call us today at 615-490-9376. Our staff is highly trained to help with treatment using evidence-based methods in a range of issues including functional alcoholics.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.