Many people think of an alcoholic as someone who is always stumbling over themselves. The alcoholic is often seen as someone who is always drinking. The truth is there is something called a functioning alcoholic. There are many stereotypes surrounding alcoholism. It is good to know more about how the functioning alcoholic lives and how alcohol affects them. Before getting further into this, if you are addicted to alcohol, get into addiction treatment immediately. Even if you are a functioning alcoholic, you would still benefit from a sober lifestyle.
When thinking about someone who struggles with an alcoholic lifestyle, you might see a person that always yells at their loved ones. You might envision someone who is homeless and doesn’t take care of their appearance. While those things can be true of some alcoholics, it isn’t true for all them. Some functioning alcoholics may end up that way, but that doesn’t mean they have always been like that. This is not justifying functioning alcoholism. It is to help people get a better understanding of the different ways alcohol can affect someone. It is to help functioning alcoholics see they can still get help, even if they aren’t the stereotypical alcoholic.
The number one note to remember is that even functioning alcoholics have still lost control due to alcohol abuse.
How Can You Recognize a Functioning Alcoholic?
Do you think someone is abusing alcohol, even though they don’t seem like the stereotypical alcoholic? There are still some ways you can tell if they are an alcoholic to an extent. Some of the things you might notice with a functioning alcoholic are the following:
- Drinking instead of eating all meals
- Getting defensive when someone says they might be an alcoholic
- Can’t remember things they did when drinking
- Trying to control their drinking but fail to do so
- Drink before even going out
- Trying to hide their drinking
- Drinking alone, early in the morning, or over the course of the entire day
- Joking about alcoholism
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Many people aren’t aware that alcoholism isn’t a choice, it is a disease. It happens over a period of time. The progression from that first drink to full-blown alcoholism isn’t the same for everyone. There are stages of alcoholism that many people experience when developing functional alcoholism.
What Should You Know About Sporadic Alcohol Abuse or Binge Drinking?
Knowing more about the first stage can be helpful. The first stage of alcoholism is when someone sporadically drinks. They may also binge drink as well. Many people who are in this stage are just experimenting with alcohol. They may not have tried all the forms of alcohol yet. Maybe they drank beer before, but never vodka. They may push themselves to try everything.
The goal with this stage is usually drink until you are drunk. Many alcohol abusers will use the substance for self-medication. They may be trying to numb emotional or physical pain. Some people are trying to hide their emotions. Stage one is how the drinking problem begins. After some time, the alcohol abuser needs to drink even more, to achieve the intoxication level they used to get.
Some other things you should know about this stage of alcoholism include:
- Every day drinking isn’t necessarily happening here
- Still capable of completing daily errands and activities
- User has a perception of functioning because of still holding a job or keeping up with relationships
- Have difficulty controlling drinking
If you are in this first stage of alcoholism, today is the day to get into an alcohol detox center. If you get into detox and treatment before the alcoholism progresses, you have a much better chance of overcoming the alcohol abuse or addiction.
What Should You Know About Increased Use of Alcohol as a Method for Coping?
Stage two of alcoholism is generally when the drinker start using more. They may be drinking as a method for coping with something in their life. Many people who are in this stage become obsessed with the thought of when they will drink again. Many of those who are drinking in this stage do it to feel relaxed. They may drink to relieve the stress in their mind and life.
Some other things you should know about stage two of alcoholism include:
- With time, coping skills disappear and alcohol seems to be the only answer
- All feeling or negative thinking seems to only be resolved with alcohol
- Users are psychologically dependent upon alcohol
- Some may be physically dependent upon alcohol, but not all drinkers will be
- Outward appearances may stay the same
- User is hungover a lot more than during stage one
- Drinking to “just party and have fun”
If you are in this stage of alcoholism, getting treatment now would be the best route. The quicker you get into detox and treatment, the sooner you can relearn healthy coping skills. You will also be able to overcome alcohol abuse and addiction.
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What Should You Know About Drinking Problems Beginning to Appear?
During stage three of alcoholism, consequences begin appearing due to the drinking problem. People around the drinker may start showing their concern. The loved ones and friends may tell the drinker they have a problem. People who have an alcohol abuse problem try to manage consequences related to drinking.
During this stage, the drinker might try to set limits on their alcohol use. The drinker might decide they can only have two drinks and then they will quit. They may decide they will only drink light beer instead of vodka. They usually won’t stick with those boundaries. Drinkers in stage three usually feel like they have functioning alcoholism, even with the consequences that have happened. They may have lost a job or some friends.
Drinkers in this stage, usually won’t see themselves as a full-blown alcoholic, because they aren’t that homeless drunk they have seen. They aren’t getting drunk every single day. They aren’t the stereotypical alcoholic. Some of the consequences that often happen during this stage include:
- Feel uncomfortable when drinking around their loved ones or friends
- Get embarrassed when someone talks about their drinking
- Get a DUI or drunk in public charge
- Start drinking alone more often
- Experience increased depression or anxiety
- Experience amplified negative feelings or emotions
If you are in stage three of alcoholism, don’t wait any longer to get alcohol rehab treatment. Don’t wait until life gets so bad and you have an even more difficult time putting down a drink. Treatment is available for you today.
What Should You Know About Psychological and Physical Changes When Drinking?
During stage four of alcoholism, more psychological and physical changes occur due to the alcohol abuse or addiction. Even when someone is a functioning alcoholic, the longer they drink, the more negative changes that will occur. At this stage of alcoholism, the drinker’s body starts to look and feel much different. They may not recognize themselves as they were before they begin drinking. They may have a larger stomach or irritated skin.
During stage four of alcoholism, alcoholics still feel they can function because they have a job. However, that doesn’t change the fact they have a disease. Some alcoholics are not even aware that alcohol is negatively impacting their insides. Other changes that might occur during this stage include:
- Raised blood pressure
- Damage to the liver
- Shaking hands
- Daily drinking to avoid withdrawal
- Reduced performance in many or all aspects of life
- Takes all they have to act and feel “normal”
If you are in stage four of alcoholism, alcohol rehab centers have programs that can help you. You don’t have to suffer with this disease for any longer.
Even functioning alcoholics need help in overcoming alcohol abuse or addiction. Get the help you need today.
Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-371-4198 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.