Signs and Symptoms of Functioning Alcoholism

Alcoholism is an insidious disease that affects millions of Americans each year. It can be hard to tell if someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, as the signs and symptoms are often subtle. However, there are some key indicators that you can watch for if you suspect someone may be struggling with a drinking problem.

Patterns of Excessive Drinking


The first sign of functioning alcoholism is a pattern of excessive drinking. This is a serious issue that should not be ignored, as it can lead to serious physical, psychological, and social consequences. This is a key factor in figuring out how to tell if someone is a functioning alcoholic.

When it comes to excessive drinking, there are many different signs to look for. For starters, someone with an alcohol addiction may drink more than the recommended daily limit of one to two drinks. It can also be a sign that someone drinks too often, such as more than three or four days a week. Someone who is struggling with alcohol dependence may also drink during the day or in inappropriate settings, such as at work.

Behavior That’s Out of Character

The next sign of functioning alcoholism is an individual’s behavior when they’re drinking. For example, someone with an alcohol problem may become more aggressive or act out of character when they’re drinking. They may also have difficulty controlling how much they drink, and they may make poor decisions while they’re drinking.

A Dependence on Alcohol

When it comes to alcohol, there’s a fine line between casual drinking and having an alcohol problem. One of the most common signs of a functioning alcoholic is the individual’s relationship with alcohol. This means they’re able to maintain a lifestyle that looks normal on the outside, but they’re actually using alcohol as a coping mechanism to help them deal with the stress and problems in their life.

An individual who is a functioning alcoholic may make excuses for their drinking or become defensive when confronted about it. They may insist that they’re “just having a few drinks” or “it’s not a big deal.” This can be a red flag that the individual is trying to hide their addiction from themselves as well as from others. Functioning alcoholics may also have a hard time saying no to alcohol. They may feel a strong urge to drink, even if it’s not something they would normally do. This can be a sign that they’re using alcohol to cope with stressful situations or to relax.

Prioritizing Alcohol


Another sign of functioning alcoholism is that the person may begin to prioritize alcohol over other important aspects of their life. This can mean that the person begins to miss work or appointments, or that they may start to neglect their family or other responsibilities. It can also mean that they start to spend more money on alcohol than on other necessities, such as food or rent.

Physical Dependence

Someone with a drinking problem may also experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms. These can include feeling tired or drained, having a hard time concentrating, or feeling depressed or anxious. They may also experience changes in appetite or sleep patterns, or experience memory problems. They may also need to drink more to achieve the same effects as before.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these signs, it’s important to seek help. There are a variety of treatment options available, including therapy, support groups, and medication. It’s also important to remember that recovery is possible, and with the right help and support, it’s possible to manage an alcohol problem and live a healthy, happy life.

Functional alcoholism is a serious condition that can have major impacts on someone’s life. If you think someone you know may be struggling with a drinking problem, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms so that you can help them get the help they need.