Whether it’s an over-sized plate or an overfilled glass, overindulgence is not unusual on Super Bowl Sunday. For a functioning alcoholic, this can be an excuse to overdo it on the drinks while blaming it on the game.
About half of those with a drinking problem are functioning alcoholics. A functioning alcoholic is someone who can hold down a job, pursue a career or care for children while continuing with his or her alcoholism. Some can do these things successfully, but the question becomes, how well are they handling their role of spouse, parent, driver, financial manager or community volunteer while under the influence?
In identifying a functioning alcoholic, it’s not one single event that people need to watch for, but whether there’s a pattern of behavior, according to Lori Dammermann, Executive Director, Gateway Carbondale.
“One night of over-drinking at a Super Bowl party doesn’t necessarily mean someone is a functioning alcoholic, although if this happens on a regular basis that’s a cause for concern,” Dammermann said.
One misperception about functioning alcoholics is that they drink every day. For some of them binge drinking is more common, especially among women.
Some key signs that someone could be a functioning alcoholic:
- Hides alcohol use from others
- Drinks more than they say or admit
- Drinks to reduce stress or boost self-confidence
- Drinks far more than others during social drinking
- Becomes irritable or anxious when refraining from alcohol
- Becomes defensive or angry if someone comments on their drinking
- Behavioral changes when drinking: from shy to social, from amiable to aggressive
It’s important for someone who is a functioning alcoholic to understand the health risks for them may be just as serious as they are for someone who has a more obvious addiction to alcohol. Many people do not know what are considered moderate drinking amounts. Learn about USDA moderate guidelines for drinking alcohol.
Are you concerned a loved one may be a functioning alcoholic? Learn more about functioning alcoholics online or call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers for a free consultation at 877-505-HOPE (4673).