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The Myth of the Functioning Alcoholic

Recovery Centers of America

Authored by Recovery Centers of America

Some Insight from Our Alcohol Rehab Center

If someone asked you how you envision a “functioning alcoholic,” what characteristics do you think of? If someone asked you if you know any “functioning alcoholics,” does anyone come to mind? Further, do you wonder if you or a loved one has become dependent on alcohol? Does being a functioning alcoholic make the situation less severe? Consequently, most people do not put these terms together. Even someone who’s considered “functional” may be addicted to alcohol because they rely on it on a daily basis.

How do you know if you have a drinking problem?

The Centers For Disease Control identified moderate drinking as one drink a day for women, and up to two for men. However, the amount of consumption for beer, liquor, and wine varies according to the CDC. To illustrate, here are the suggested amounts. Any additional consumption of alcohol over these amounts is considered heavy drinking:

  • 1.5 ounces liquor
  • One 12 ounce beer
  • One 5 ounce glass of wine

What is the difference between an alcoholic and functioning alcoholic?

What sets a “functioning alcoholic” apart from an “alcoholic?” In television and movies, we see the media portray alcoholics as people whose lives are swirling out of control. Perhaps the person lost their job, spouse, fortunes, family, or everything. Contrary to popular belief, many alcoholics are successful individuals in their personal and professional lives. Therefore, it can be difficult for loved ones to realize someone close to them is an alcoholic. Even further, the functioning alcoholic may not even be aware of it.

A functioning alcoholic does not always consume alcohol every day. Instead, he or she may binge drink during certain times of the week. Consequently, the individual may not realize or acknowledge that this type of drinking is a form of alcoholism.

If you are trying to determine if you or a loved one is a functioning alcoholic, here are some signs to look for:

  • Requiring alcohol to relax or relieve stress
  • Drinking alone or in secret
  • Using alcohol as a reward
  • Blacking out from alcohol

What are the side effects?

The excessive use of alcohol contributes to many health problems therefore, it should be addressed with an alcohol rehab center. As a result, a person can experience liver damage or failure, inconsistent mood changes, weight gain, tremors, depressive mood swings, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and other additional physical effects.

Treatment Options for those with Alcohol Use Disorder

Recovery Centers of America acknowledges that all forms of alcoholism are chronic illnesses. A “functioning alcoholic” is in need of an alcohol rehab center just as much as the word-slurring drunk we see in the movies. At RCA, we understand each of our patients’ situations are different and require comprehensive assessments. For this reason, we offer and develop customized programs at our alcohol rehab centers that are suited for our patients. Accordingly, we take into account various aspects of physical, psychosocial, and medical background.

Here are a few examples of the recovery programs we offer:

  • detoxification
  • Intervention
  • Intensive outpatient Program
  • Recovery Support Services
  • inpatient/Residential Treatment

If you or someone you know is searching for more information and an alcohol rehab center, it is time to reach out to Recovery Centers of America. At RCA, we not only provide the best drug and alcohol recovery programs but, we strive to respect our patients, as well as their families, friends, and communities.

If you are ready to begin your recovery journey, please call us today.

Authored by

Recovery Centers of America

Recovery Centers of America



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