What Are the Signs of Dating a High Functioning Alcoholic?

High Functioning Alcoholic - Harmony Place

Alcoholism can take a toll on family and friends as well as a person’s overall health and emotional well-being. Personal and professional relationships may also suffer. Many alcoholics manage to function properly while holding jobs and managing households but it takes a toll eventually to keep functioning at a high level while drinking excessively.

High Functioning Alcoholics

An alcoholic is not the stereotypical view as portrayed on television or in movies. High-functioning alcoholics may seem to have everything going. While the person drinks too much, success often works against that person in this sense because of the mirage that drinking behavior is controlled. Ultimately, a person may achieve many great things while under the influence of alcohol but eventually alcoholism catches up.


High-functioning alcoholics will rarely admit a problem exists. If a person has three or more drinks per day, the person may be consuming above the recommended amount. Moderate drinking is one per day for women and up to two for men. Binge drinking is having more than four beverages in one episode and five or more for men. Many of the individuals who drink excessively may function at a high level. The following are signs a person is a high-functioning alcoholic:

  • Drinking is restricted to certain times, situations or beverages.
  • Friends and family are asked to cover for the person such as calling into work sick, paying bills or lending money
  • The person self isolates while acting sociably and may seem outgoing to others
  • Personal commitments are broken to family and friends due to drinking behavior
  • Secret struggles with mental illness such as depression or an eating disorder may have taken over the person’s life

Functional alcoholics can be hardworking, well-educated and high level professionals with great careers. Professional status and success make it harder to approach the person typically about having a problem with alcohol. It is possible to quit drinking heavily and still achieve a high level of functioning but it takes admitting a problem exists to tackle the problem head on and deal with the ramifications.                                          

People from all walks of life can struggle with alcoholism or addiction. If you or a loved one may benefit from an intervention or support for a drinking problem, call Harmony Place. We are here to help support the transition from addiction to recovery and hope for a high-functioning life beyond addiction. Call us at 1-888-789-4330 to find out how we can help support you or your loved one in seeking treatment.

One thought on “What Are the Signs of Dating a High Functioning Alcoholic?

  1. Julie Emmitt

    I have a family member who recognized he was a binge drinker. He didn’t drink every day but when he did he could not stop. He has had counseling and the doctor put him on naltrexone. It really seems to be working. He said he can drink on occasion and have only a couple of drinks. What is your opinion of this drug?

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