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While alcohol dependence is a devastating illness that can ruin lives, a number of people who struggle with it manage to hold down big responsibilities and stressful jobs. From the outside, these so-called high-functioning alcoholics seem to have it all together. They can drive great cars, live in great communities, and make a substantial income.

Simply because they're high-functioning doesn't mean that they're immune to the effects of alcohol. They are still at risk of harming themselves and others around them. A pilot nursing a hangover, a surgeon with unsteady hands, or a financier managing large sums of money are each at-risk of inducing horrendous disasters if they stay on their dysfunctional course.

Below are some clues that can really help in recognizing these time bombs:

1. They consume alcohol rather than eating food.

Problem drinkers will commonly replace meals with a few drinks, lose interest in food completely, or use mealtime as a reason to start consuming alcohol.

2. They can get out of bed without having a hangover, even after numerous drinks.

Consuming alcohol routinely over a substantial period of time can trigger the physical body to become addicted to alcohol. Regularly high-functioning alcoholic s are able to drink a great deal without having the same hangover that tortures the occasional drinker.

3. Abstaining makes them cranky, anxious, or uncomfortable.

If an alcoholic is forced to abstain from drinking , his or her body often responds adversely, as they depend on the sedative effects of alcohol. Abrupt quitting can induce tension and anxiety, nervousness, perspiration, a quickened heart rate, as well as seizures.

4. Their behavior patterns transform dramatically while under the influence of alcohol.

Problem drinkers may change noticeably when they drink. For instance, a generally pleasant person may become belligerent, or make impetuous choices.

5. They cannot have just two drinks.

An alcoholic has a problem stopping, and may even finish others' drinks. Alcohol will certainly never be left on the table, and there is always a pretext for one more round.

6. Periods of memory loss or "blacking out" are typical.

Many problem drinkers will participate in activities that they have no recollection of the following day. They may not seem significantly drunk at the moment, but they're unable to recall activities that occurred.

7. Attempts to discuss drinking behavior are met with aggression and denial.

When faced with problems surrounding their alcohol consumption, heavy users will generally retreat to denial or hostility, making discussion difficult.

8. They always have a good explanation for why they drink.

If flat denial or aggression is not the chosen mode of avoidance, most problem drinkers will have a seemingly reasonable explanation for their actions. Stress and anxiety at work, problems at home, or an abundance of social functions are prevalent excuses to explain their destructive behavior.

9. They hide their alcohol.

Many problem drinkers will drink alone, or sneak drinks from a bottle in a workspace or in their car. This type of hidden alcohol consumption is a tremendous red flag and there is no other explanation for this behavior other than alcohol addiction .

Let's try to keep our world productive, safe, and sober by always keeping our eyes open for problematic behavior in order to get these struggling colleagues, family, and neighbors the assistance they need.

Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic

From the outside, these so-called high-functioning alcoholics appear to have it all together. They can drive cool cars, live in great neighborhoods, and make a substantial income.

Just because they're high-functioning does not mean that they're immune to the repercussions of alcohol. A pilot nursing a hangover, a surgeon with unsteady hands, or a financier handling large amounts of money are each at-risk of inducing horrendous disasters if they stay on their destructive path.

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