Activities like binge drinking, which involves drinking 4-5 drinks within 2 hours, are widespread, with 1 out of every 6 adults binge drink at least 4 times a month. This can make it difficult to spot the signs of a functioning alcoholic, as drinking in excess is expected or encouraged in many environments. Although alcohol is a mainstay at countless social events, such as weddings, sports games, and concerts, it is a highly addictive substance that is prone to abuse. In fact, more than 15 million American adults struggle with alcohol misuse disorder annually. Ethanol, the active ingredient in alcohol that produces the effects of intoxication, is dangerous in large amounts and can cause damage to your liver.
What are the Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic?
Alcoholism develops when you compulsively drink, despite wanting to quit and experiencing harmful consequences as a result of your drinking. When you develop alcoholism, drinking also interferes with your day to day life and can lead to increased conflicts with friends and family members. Early signs of a functioning alcoholic can involve symptoms like drinking more than you planned or getting drunk alone. Other potential signs of a functioning alcoholic can include:
- Blacking out while drinking
- Doing or saying things while drunk that you later regret
- Getting in fights or arguments when you drink
- Driving drunk
- Showing up to work or school drunk or hungover
Drinking excessively even when you have obligations the next day or having to drink early in the morning are two other signs of a functioning alcoholic. Struggling with a drinking problem or alcoholism also increases your risk of experiencing legal problems. For instance, you may struggle with drunk driving or public intoxication charges. Even if you continue to balance your drinking with your career or family life, alcoholism is a progressive condition. In other words, it will continue to get worse until you stop drinking. Because alcohol can cause physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms can start within hours of your last drink. Connecting with a medically supervised detox center when you decide to quit drinking is an important way to protect your health during the early stages of recovery.
How is Alcoholism Treated?
Alcoholism can create major changes to your brain chemistry. Your brain associates alcohol and everything that reminds you of drinking with pleasure. As a result, you can face powerful cravings whenever you encounter triggers. Because alcohol is legal, it can make it very difficult to avoid during recovery. Inpatient and outpatient alcohol abuse treatment programs ensure that you learn how to cope with triggers and cravings in a healthy manner. During recovery, your brain has to relearn how to properly release neurotransmitters, which can take time. That means you may experience mood changes while your brain heals. These changes are normal during recovery but are difficult to manage without the proper supports. Identifying and changing negative thinking patterns is a core concept of recovery. Treatment centers use cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy to improve your ability to recognize and change negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Another important part of treatment programs is that they teach you how to avoid a relapse. Relapse prevention education ensures that you’re prepared to handle cravings and triggers following treatment. Treatment programs can include your family and loved ones in your therapy, which can improve your relationships.
Connecting with Treatment Today
Alcoholism can make you feel trapped, alone, and hopeless. When drinking becomes the most important aspect of your life, it can damage your health, emotional wellbeing, and relationships. The signs of a functioning alcoholic demonstrate how alcohol abuse can make it difficult to live a healthy life. To find out more about our alcohol abuse treatment program, contact us today at 1.713.528.3709.