12 Signs Someone Is Hiding an Alcohol Addiction

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on November 10, 2020.

Movies and TV are filled with countless stereotypes of alcoholics. These people stumble through life, messing up relationships, flunking out of school or facing severe legal consequences. Real life is seldom that simple. With nearly 15 million people struggling with an alcohol use disorder, many manage to live their lives hiding this serious condition. Some people refer to these individuals as high-functioning alcoholics.

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What Is High-Functioning Alcoholism? 

Not everyone struggling with alcohol addiction hits rock bottom. They never appear hungover, they don’t get in fights and they’ve never been pulled over for driving under the influence. These individuals are often referred to as high-function alcoholics or functional alcoholics.

High-functioning alcoholism is when someone can maintain the appearance of normalcy while hiding an alcohol use disorder. Your loved one may have a serious addiction to alcohol and still maintain their personal life, keep up with their work responsibilities and seem completely healthy. Often, functional alcoholics drink moderately throughout the day to curb cravings or keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. Others may binge drink at night or on the weekends.

12 Signs Someone Is Hiding an Alcohol Addiction 

How do you tell if your loved one has an alcohol addiction when they’re high functioning? While their condition may be harder to recognize, the red flags are there. Here are 12 twelve of the most common signs to look out for:

  1. They use alcohol to relax or as a reward.
  2. They drink in the morning.
  3. They drink alone.
  4. They hide bottles of alcohol around the house.
  5. They lie about how much they drink so others won’t know.
  6. They miss school or work for unexplained reasons.
  7. They drink too much at one time.
  8. They continue drinking even after they say they’ll stop.
  9. They avoid social outings where alcohol won’t be present.
  10. When questioned about their drinking habits, they make excuses or seem defensive.
  11. They joke about having a drinking problem.
  12. They experience regular blackouts.

How to Help a High-Functioning Alcoholic 

High-functioning alcoholism is not sustainable. Eventually, the consequence of their actions will catch up with them. It may come in the form of DUIs, trouble at work, relationship problems or severe health issues.

The best way to help your loved one is to encourage them to seek help before the disease of addiction progresses too far. When confronting your loved one, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Be vigilant: Functional alcoholics are often in denial about their problem and may try to continue hiding the severity of their addiction.
  • Stage an intervention: Have an honest conversation with your loved one to help them understand that their health, relationships and livelihood are at risk because of their drinking.
  • Seek help: Find a comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment program that includes medical detox, such as the alcohol detox program at Diamond House Detox. Professional treatment will ensure your loved one can safely quit alcohol without suffering life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Get Your Loved One the Help They Need at Diamond House Detox

Whether your loved one is barely holding things together or they’re effectively hiding their addiction, alcohol use disorder is a serious disease that requires professional care. At Diamond House Detox in Sacramento, our alcohol detox and rehab center is committed to getting your loved one the help they need.

Freedom from addiction is possible. Contact us today to learn more about our private, inpatient alcohol detox facility.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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