Am I a High-Functioning Alcoholic? Know the Signs

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It doesn’t matter if they’re a high functioning alcoholic or addict. You can educate yourself on and alcohol abuse and alcoholism (Alcohol Use Disorder), how to maintain your wellbeing, and offer support without enabling. It sounds like a manageable list, but it can be terrifying at first. Education, awareness and action are the best ways to help your functioning alcoholic spouse. In fact, functional alcoholics are often people who seem to ‘have it all; they maintain a busy social life, work hard at their careers and are often well-liked by their neighbors. These are people who tend to be well-educated and intelligent, and they are most likely in denial about the scope of their drinking problem.

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high functioning alcoholic husband

The reality is heavy consumption of alcohol is essentially counter-intuitive to maintaining a stable life with managed responsibilities. Eventually, the habit will catch up to them, perhaps resulting in embarrassing, frustrating, or dangerous disruptions of their life and the lives of their loved ones. If you’re asking yourself these questions, chances are your partner may be a functioning alcoholic. A functional alcoholic is someone who engages in alcohol abuse but who doesn’t show the usual signs of distress from the disorder.

What Will the Journey to Addiction Recovery Look Like for You and Your Family?

Table 2 depicts the problems faced by the wives of alcoholic clients in terms of frequency distribution of rating done by them. There were 70% wives who often felt anxious owing to the drinking problem of their husbands. More than 60% of wives also reported feeling mentally disturbed often. Despite such emotional problems, almost half of them never displaced their frustration on children and three-fourth of them never ignored their children. It was seen that only 7% of the wives reported that they often ignored their own physical health while 10% of them also reported sleep disturbances. There were 13% of wives who reported that their social visits get reduced often owing to their husband’s drinking and half of them reported feeling ashamed in society.

  • They pay their bills, hold down good jobs and maintain relationships with family and friends while they continue to drink.
  • You want to know that when (and if) he comes home, there won’t be alcohol on his breath.
  • What the statistics don’t reveal is how many spouses, partners, boyfriends and girlfriends are impacted when the person they are in an intimate relationship with is an alcoholic.
  • However, if the rehabilitation program is an inpatient one and the spouse who is the wage earner pays for it, that should be a consideration with any spousal support order.
  • Contrary to what is often portrayed in movies and on television, most people who are alcoholics are able to maintain a relatively normal’ lifestyle.

” There are ways to help your spouse while also helping yourself so that you both can be healthy and happy. You’ll need to choose a time when you are both sober in a good place emotionally. Above all, aim to have a conversation that is not fueled by anger or emotion but that openly and honestly conveys your feelings about your partner’s drinking. Regardless of how high-functioning high functioning alcoholic husband someone is under the influence of alcohol, it will eventually result in a breakdown in their professional lives and usually when it comes to the law. It’s important to note any problems they are having at work if there are reductions in pay or disciplinary measures. Being pulled over while intoxicated by a police officer should be a major red flag.

What Are the Signs?

We are referring to someone who continues to show the same consistent and often compulsive alcohol abuse. You don’t need yet another person advising you to pack up his shit; you’re tired of hearing it, which is why you rarely mention it to anyone unless you feel like you’ll break if you don’t. You don’t need someone to tell you you’re stupid for staying with him, because you wonder on a near-daily basis why you’re such a glutton for punishment. You don’t need anyone to say you’re enabling his behavior, because you know that too. You’re just as addicted as he is, only you’re addicted to his care, addicted to the intoxicating hope that he’ll get better and be the man you know he can be. All you want are evenings at home, as a family, where you don’t feel like you have to bribe him with something enticing enough to keep him there.

  • Families are frequently more fearful of confrontation because of guilt, shame, and past experiences.
  • Hopefully, you can persuade your husband to get help for his alcoholism.
  • As mentioned earlier, this form of alcohol abuse will have far-reaching, multifaceted consequences.
  • Alcoholism can take a heavy toll on a marriage, especially when codependency seeps in.
  • A high functioning alcoholic will frequently be the first person to head to a bar after work.

Look at the list of AUD symptoms at the beginning of this article and determine how many of them your partner has so you can get an idea of the severity of the problem. Many people with AUDs will have difficulty admitting they have a problem. Substance use disorders (SUDs) have such stigma in today’s society and people with SUDs want to believe they’re in control of their life. Admitting to an AUD would upend the mythology they’ve created for themselves. According to a 2017 report, approximately 10.5 percent (7.5 million) of U.S. children ages 17 and younger live with a parent with AUD.

What is the DSM 5 criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder?

“Always approach a loved one from a place of support and desire to help them, instead of leading with judgment or anger,” says Omar Elhaj, MD, a senior medical director at LifeStance Health. All experts agree that when talking to your loved one, it’s best to be patient and compassionate. According to Conroy, it may be easy to get caught in denial with AUD if you subconsciously feel something is wrong with you at your core. It also might mean admitting that they don’t have it all together, and their exterior (and interior) world is crumbling. “In some families, drinking too much is seen as comical, not a big deal, or a must during celebrations,” she adds. Consequently, many people may not realize their drinking has become a genuine problem.

When a loved one has a drinking problem, it’s hard to know how to help, especially if they are in denial. Alcohol abuse is much more common in men than in women, and it affects them in different ways. Being able to drink a lot is seen as a sign of masculinity in much of the world.

Alcohol Contributes to Stress

Talk to our recovery specialists today and learn about our integrated treatment programs. Ultimately, being in a relationship with an alcoholic is a physically and emotionally draining experience. You have to remember that, ultimately, it is not your burden to carry. However, it’s not something that you can control or cure, and it’s certainly not something that you have caused.

If we can’t help ourselves, there’s no way we can help another person. Alcohol can contribute to long-term stress, as it often inhibits the proper sleep cycle and can exacerbate issues such as depression or anxiety. Thus, it will be leaned on cyclically as stress increases in the life of a functional alcoholic.

It’s likely never talked about between you, and you keep quiet because you think you’re helping. For others, it takes a years of quiet abuse before the effects start to take place. Some people may appear to have it together while they secretly cope with high functioning alcoholism. Besides the convenience, in-home detox programs are the most discreet and private of all the options. When speaking to your spouse about treatment, this privacy component could be a major selling point that could mean the difference between them saying yes or knowing.

  • We can help you learn about enabling, recovery, relapse prevention and the importance of honest communication in relationships impacted by AUD.
  • Alcohol is the HFA’s best friend and it is hard for anyone to compete with that relationship.
  • Keep in mind that even if you have the best of intentions, there’s a good chance your alcoholic partner might not be receptive to your offers of help.
  • Although detox is the best initial step in recovering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD), it seldom suffices to enable someone to maintain long-term sobriety.
  • In the early stages, an alcoholic may want to set a party atmosphere or a very open environment in the house that supports their habit.

You may begin to feel isolated and alone, and that can be detrimental to your overall health. That sense of loneliness can be compounded if your high-functioning alcoholic husband withdraws emotionally or is overbearing and controlling—unable to communicate with your partner, you may start to feel hopeless. That is a signal that you, and your husband, need the hope that alcohol rehabilitation treatment can bring. As the spouse of a high-functioning alcoholic, life can be stressful for you, too. You may be dealing with your husband’s mood swings, or lies, or excuses—every day can be a series of ups and downs, and you never know what to expect. That means you are always on your guard, and that can be exhausting.

Anytime a substance user moves from the precontemplation to the contemplation stage is a victory. In simple terms, precontemplation is not being aware there is a problem, and the contemplation stage is being aware there is a problem. There are times when they will admit there is a problem and be unwilling to pursue treatment for their addiction. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) has 11 questions to help determine the severity of an alcohol use disorder.

What are the 5 A’s of alcoholism?

Clinical guidelines recommend addressing adolescent alcohol use in primary care; the 5 As (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange) may be a useful model for intervention.

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