Stages of the High Functioning Alcoholic; Binge Drinking to Cope, Depression, Isolation & More

Many people use the term “functioning alcoholic”. Most use it an excuse to not get help for their drinking. Both a functioning alcoholic and a “stereotypical alcoholic” reality is that they are alcoholics. Unfortunately, it takes the bottom to drop out for the functioning alcoholic to realize it. Anyone can be an alcoholic; a successful business man with a seemingly successful family life down to the unemployed, broken home life individual. Many people that believe they are functioning alcoholic so to speak are those that have never totaled a car, never lost any relationships or have never negatively impacted their career due alcohol. The unfortunate truth is that they just haven’t gotten there yet, but they are on the path of doing it. Alcoholism is a progressive disease, often compared to cancer, as both no one chooses and both need professional treatment. Seeing the stages before the devastating consequences can be better for the functioning alcoholic. We at Meehab Addiction Recovery would like to list the common stages of alcoholism that might help you on your way to recovery.

Signs & Stages of a High Functioning Alcoholic

1) Binge Drinking. Generally, the average drinker is not drinking with the goal of becoming intoxicating. Most do not like to lose control of feeling oblivious to their surroundings. Alcoholics crave the feeling. Binge drinking doesn’t necessarily means you drink daily to achieve the goal, you can go days or even weeks continuing your normal day-today life, and drinking may not even consume your thoughts. However, when your purpose is to get intoxicated when you do drink, the binge drinking is taking root. If you need to continue to consume more alcohol to get to the point of being intoxicated suggests this sign as well. For functioning alcoholics, if taking your first drink leads to you having little to no control over how much you will consume, you are not functioning.
2) Drinking to Cope. There are a lot of people who drink some to unwind with a glass of wine or a cold beer. Relaxing with your significant others over some drinks throughout the weekend is not terrible. But if there is a mental obsession that you have before you get that drink, which might be a problem. Those that feel the only way to handle of the stress of the day are to drink alcohol and simply can’t wait to have start the evening with a cold beer and to feel better with a buzz could be on the road to alcoholism. Over time, there are no other ways to cope with life’s negative problems and alcohol will become the only answer, if it isn’t already. Some may even look it on the side, suggesting their happy mood is only amplified with alcohol and though they had a hangover the next day at work, they had a good time. For the “functioning alcoholic”, they excuse their behavior by still having a job, relationship still intact, and still have a functioning car and driver’s license, its ok you are using your alcohol to deal with stress, but you are also doing it to deal with success.
3) Depression, Legal Problems, Isolation. Some may realize their drinking management when people bring it to their attention, or perhaps people around you are questioning your life in general, state of mind, or other people you chose to spend with time with. Alcohol can slowly become your friend, until it is eventually your only friend. This stage effects people differently depending on the consequences your drinking has had.
• Depression: Alcohol acts like a depressant inside the mind as well as the body. In the chemical form, it will begin to make you feel down and sometimes hopeless. When people try to use alcohol to cope with the stresses of life, it can back fire and make depression deeper.
• Legal Problems: Perhaps by this point the “functioning alcoholic” has gotten their first DUI, resulting in them being left at home and drinking even more. Or maybe you haven’t gotten caught driving while drunk, but you wake up not remembering how you even got home. Now you are left to wonder if anyone was hurt as you drove while intoxicated.
• Isolation: By this stage, friends and maybe family have made you feel like your drinking needs to be kept a secret. After expressing their concerns for your drinking, or your behavior while intoxicated you start to close yourself off. In any case, turning to alcohol as your only friend increases your dependence.
More often than not, but stage 3 the “functioning alcoholic” may not realize they are not as functioning as they thought and their drinking needs to be managed.
4) Altered Appearance and Medical Consequences. By stage four the body is no longer what it once was. Flush skin, distended stomach or beer belly, are common physical changes. Blood pressure may have gone up; resulting in medication to keep it under control or your liver may be damaged. Additional medical issues could result in stomach problems, shaky hands, heartburn, stomach ulcers, even diabetes. It is not healthy to drink daily, and though you may feel well enough to work the next day, alcohol still takes toll on the body. Despite still having a job, close relationships, or even if you have managed to avoid legal problems, don’t convince yourself you are a “functioning alcoholic” if your body has changed both physically or medically.

Stay Sober with the Help of an Alcohol Addiction App

Regardless of how you see it, you have a dependence on alcohol and getting treatment is necessary to recover from the disease. With Meehab Addiction Recovery, you can get the treatment, help, and support you need to overcome it. We invite you to download our helpful app for free today. To learn more, click here. To download for free on android, click here. To download for free on iphone, click here.