Being an alcoholic is a stigma in society and it has an adverse impact on one’s social circle. It affects health in a serious way, causing major diseases to occur. It has devastating implications on the addict and his family. Some alcoholics keep the addiction secret from their elders and family. Others openly drink without hesitation. Those with a secret addiction are often called ‘functioning alcoholics’.
In today’s stressful lifestyle, where people rarely get time for one another, lack of sympathy and bad company is spoiling the young generation. The wide availability of alcoholic beverages is giving rise to its addiction. There are bars and wine shops everywhere.
In some communities, alcohol drinking is a status symbol. They proudly drink with their friends and enjoy the taste without even realizing its serious health effects.
If someone is able to function properly, being an alcoholic doesn’t mean there is no risk involved. Alcoholism is a terrible disease with a deadly end.
The signs of a functioning alcoholic are mentioned below. If someone shows these signs, they may be affected:
1. They take alcohol instead of food
Often, functioning alcoholics take their drinks as a meal. They have literally no interest in food. They consume alcohol at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and don’t eat very much actual food. The alcoholic seems to enjoy drinking more than the average person, and tends to like a wide variety of alcoholic beverages.
2. Rare hangover
Taking alcohol on a regular basis for a long time increases dependency on alcohol. It’s constantly in the blood of the alcoholic and never fully leaves their body. High-functioning addicts can easily binge drink without waking up with a hangover.
3. Irritability without alcohol
Psychologically, the alcoholic depends on alcohol. He becomes restless and irritable if he is asked to stay away from it for a day or two. When they are asked to abstain from it or can’t have at any time of the day, they become nervous, depressed and uncomfortable. They have a negative reaction in the body because of the sedative effects of alcohol. This abrupt abstinence causes anxiety, shaking, palpitations and sweating.
4. Excessive consumption
A functioning alcoholic does not get satisfied with one or two glasses of a drink. They indulge in a binge drinking habit. They always ask for one more. Their craving is always high when they get alcohol at the bar or a party. They drink heavily and behave as if they will never get another taste of alcohol again. They have a very high tolerance for alcohol because they have conditioned their body to function with copious amounts of liquor, beer, and wine.
An obvious sign of a functioning alcoholic is that he takes a drink in higher amounts than normal. Because he mainly depends upon alcohol to numb his emotions, he drinks too much.
5. Memory loss and weak brain function
Alcohol directly affects the nervous system. The addict can black out after taking too many glasses at one time. They are absolutely oblivious of what’s going on around them and indulge in their drinking habit. When you ask what happened at the bar, they will not be able to recall. Their memory is weak and impaired.
6. Denial of reality
When a person takes alcohol in an excessive amount, he never admits there is a serious issue with it. He often stays away from such conversation and is not willing to discuss his addiction with anyone. They frown when asked about the addiction or quitting it.
Because addicts don’t want to lose their favorite drink, they don’t admit that they are in a habit of binge drinking. They try to deny the reality and keep on telling a lie when they are asked about their awful habit.
7. Senseless justifications
Functioning addicts have excuses for their binge drinking. They give illogical reasons why they drink heavily. They drink because they have some work-related stress or they like to hang out with their friends. They will have a reason at the ready when they are asked about their addiction. If someone tells the health hazards and social implications of taking alcohol, they always come with excuses that are irrational and senseless. Some say, we are too depressed and we take a sip just to lift the mood. Others tell of the tasteful enjoyment it gives.
8. Hiding the alcohol
When an alcoholic is present in a house or an office, he usually keeps the drink at a secret place. He doesn’t want others to see his alcohol for various reasons. He may have a fear of getting the drink snatched by elders or relatives around. It will cause a disturbance in his addiction and enjoyment. So, he tries to keep the drink away from the eyes of the people. They usually drink alone where no one can see them. Some of them prefer having a drink in the car or the desk in the office. Hiding alcohol is a major sign of alcoholism, according to experts. They engage in binge drinking, taking more of it than people think. They want others to stay unaware of their addiction.
9. Behavior change
A person highly addicted to alcohol has mood swings. His behavior changes significantly when he drinks. A typically soft-spoken person becomes aggressive. He may also make impulsive decisions. He tries to spend time alone. His social circle is affected by his addiction. Because of some chemical changes in his body and mind, he becomes short-tempered.
Alcoholics are least interested in happiness or pain of people around them. They become careless and selfish, unable to feel emotions. It’s truly a serious sign that can affect one’s relationships.
It’s important to consult a health care professional if your family member is an alcoholic. To quit the habit of drinking, it’s recommended to get expert help. There are alcohol rehab services and centers all over the world. They specialize in treating alcoholics and other addicts. They have therapies, diet guidance, exercise classes, lifestyle modifications and other techniques. They create awareness in the addicts about possible health threats of consuming alcohol excessively. If you see the above-mentioned signs in anyone, immediately consult an expert to get him out of this trouble.