Alcoholism is a devastating disease that can destroy your life. Some people who have a hard time with alcoholism manage to hold onto stressful jobs and heavy responsibilities, it is called functional alcoholism. From the outside, these so-called functional alcoholics seem to have everything under control. A functional alcoholic person can have good cars, live in large neighborhoods, and have a significant income.

However, just because they are high performers does not mean they are immune to the effects of alcohol. They may still be at risk of hurting themselves and others around them. For example, a pilot with a hangover, a surgeon with shaky hands, or a banker handling large sums of money, are at risk of terrible disasters if they stay on a dysfunctional path.

9 signs of a functional alcoholic person

Here are some signs that can help identify these time bombs:

1. They drink instead of eat

A functional alcoholic person often replaces meals with a few drinks, loses interest in food altogether, or uses mealtime as an excuse to start drinking.

2. They can wake up without a hangover, even after several drinks

Drinking alcohol regularly over a long period of time can cause the body to become dependent on alcohol. Active alcoholics are often able to drink heavily without the same hangover that plagues the occasional drinker.

3. Not drinking makes them irritable, nervous or uncomfortable

If a functional alcoholic is forced to abstain from drinking, their body often reacts negatively, as they rely on the sedative effects of alcohol. Abrupt withdrawal can cause anxiety, nervousness, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and even seizures.

4. Their behavior changes while they are under the influence of alcohol.

Alcoholics can change significantly when they drink. For example, a normally personable person may become aggressive, or make impulsive decisions.

5. An alcoholic person cannot have only two drinks

An alcoholic has trouble stopping, and may even finish other people’s drinks. There will never be any drink left on the table, and there will always be an excuse for “another round.”

6. A functional alcoholic hides in alcohol

Many alcoholics drink alone, or will take their drinks from a bottle kept on their desk or in their car. This type of hidden drinking is a huge red flag and there is no other explanation for this behavior other than alcoholism.

7. Periods of memory loss or “blacking out” are common.

Many alcoholics do various activities in the day of which they have no memory the next day. They may appear not very intoxicated at the moment, but are unable to recall events that occurred.

8. During attempts to discuss the behavior with drinking, they deny and assault

When faced with problems related to their drinking, heavy users will typically regress to denial or aggression, making the discussion difficult.

9. They always have a good explanation of why they drink

If outright denial or aggression is not the way they choose to avoid arguing, most alcoholics have a seemingly rational explanation for their behavior. Stress at work, problems at home, or a large number of social activities are the most common reasons for their disruptive behavior.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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