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What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?

woman looking afar wondering what is a functioning alcoholic

Alcohol is one of the most ancient parts of human culture. Because alcohol is legal, it often seems more benign than other addictive substances. However, alcohol can be just as addictive and lead to many physical behaviors and mental health problems. It’s important to know the signs of alcoholism and how to tell if you or someone you love is becoming a functioning alcoholic.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse, Rally Recovery is here to help. Our Braintree, Massachusetts clinic provides Norfolk County with holistic, co-occurring disorders treatment with a range of outpatient treatment programs for mental health and addiction. Reach our staff at 781.412.1488 to learn more about alcohol addiction treatment.

What Is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction occurs when the brain and body rely on alcohol for chemical processing. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it immediately slows down the body’s functions. By slowing down, the body people experience loss of coordination, slow reaction times, and the “mellow” feeling that comes with a drink. Alcohol also depresses a person’s mood. Signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Mood swings
  • Craving alcohol
  • Thinking about alcohol
  • Secretive drinking
  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Confusion without alcohol
  • Chronic dehydration

While these sensations may bring temporary relief, the depression of the nervous system can make depression and other mood disorders worse when alcohol leaves the bloodstream. Chronic dehydration can worsen symptoms because necessary electrolytes become imbalanced. When a person becomes addicted to alcohol, their brain and body go through withdrawal symptoms when they go for too many hours without alcohol in their bloodstream.

Drinking alcohol can be a social or private way to self-soothe stress, difficult emotions, and traumatic memories. Social drinking implies enjoying alcohol with others, while drinking alone can be an early sign of addiction. Alcohol dependency occurs on a chemical level in the brain that cannot be treated by sheer willpower, making professional alcohol treatment programs necessary for recovery.

What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?

What is a functioning alcoholic? Understanding the behaviors of one could help you get your loved one the treatment they need. The behavior of a functioning alcoholic may be subtle or obvious. A functioning alcoholic may hide their drinking well or believe drinking enhances how they work or socialize. They may blatantly drink throughout the day and manage to function at work, school, or home despite intoxication. A functioning alcoholic may exhibit no signs of intoxication because they have developed a high alcohol tolerance.  They may take pride in their drinking or experience deep shame.

In most cases, they have trouble seeking help and need alcohol to function. Because functioning alcoholics have a very high tolerance, they are at greater risk for health complications and relapse. They also need professional detox support to prevent relapse, overdose, and other complications.

Start Alcohol Addiction Treatment Today in Massachusetts

Realizing it’s time for alcohol addiction treatment isn’t always easy. It’s hard to know when social drinking turns into habitual drinking and alcoholism. Craving alcohol and needing alcohol to get through the day are signs it is time for help. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol or showing signs of functioning alcoholism, don’t quit cold turkey. Our team can help. Rally Recovery’s holistic, trauma-informed clinic can help you find the right outpatient treatment plan for your needs and lifestyle. Our programs include:

  • Anxiety treatment
  • Depression treatment
  • PTSD treatment
  • Trauma therapy
  • Benzo treatment
  • Prescription drug treatment
  • Cocaine treatment
  • Meth treatment
  • Art therapy
  • Opioid and opiate treatment

Our Braintree, MA clinic provides Norfolk County with alternative and evidence-based therapies in a group, individual, and family settings to help you and your loved ones recover together.

Learn More About the Behaviors of a Functioning Alcoholic at Rally Recovery

Don’t let alcohol control your life. If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol problem, it’s time to get help. Rally Recovery offers comprehensive treatment for alcoholism, including detoxification, inpatient and outpatient care, 12-step support, and more. We understand that addiction is a severe disease and treat it as such. We aim to help you recover from alcoholism and live a sober, productive life. Call us today at 781.412.1488 to learn more about what is a functioning alcoholic and about the benefits of outpatient alcohol addiction treatment in Norfolk County.