High-Functioning Alcoholics

Alcoholics considered “high-functioning” might hold down jobs and family lives while struggling with an alcohol use disorder.

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Rebound Behavioral Health Hospital

Lancaster, SC

Multiple Levels of Care

855-336-7623

Twelve Oaks Recovery Center

Navarre, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-885-1218

Wilmington Treatment Center

Wilmington, NC

Multiple Levels of Care

877-257-1203

Amethyst Recovery

Port St. Lucie, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-965-6726

White Deer Run

Allenwood, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-638-3697

The Refuge, A Healing Place

Ocklawaha, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-990-1029

Life Healing Center

Santa Fe, NM

Multiple Levels of Care

844-285-2916

Cornerstone Healing Center

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-931-1105

The Recovery Team

Lake Park, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-999-2545

The Camp Recovery Center

Scotts Valley, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-282-5771

Pacific Grove Hospital

Riverside, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-801-1534

Park Royal Hospital

Fort Myers, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-763-3294

Recovery Unplugged Lake Worth Detox, Rehab, and Treatment Center

Lake Worth, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-283-0199

Recovery Unplugged Fort Lauderdale

Fourt Lauderdale, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

855-900-6613

Options Behavioral Health Hospital

Indianapolis, IN

Multiple Levels of Care

844-530-2836

Pocono Mountain Recovery Center

Henryville, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-589-1547

North Tampa Behavioral Health

Tampa, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-870-8069

Ambrosia Treatment Center

West Palm Beach, FL

Inpatient

866-970-0918

Recovery Unplugged Nashville

Nashville, TN

Full Spectrum of Care

877-463-0080

Sierra Tucson

Tucson, AZ

Full Spectrum of Care

855-889-6553

Sunflower Wellness Retreat

Osawatomie, KS

Multiple Levels of Care

888-411-9183

Beachside Rehab

Fort Pierce, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-452-3049

Huntington Creek Recovery Center

Shickshinny, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-892-1288

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Northeast

Philadelphia, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

Life Center of Galax

Galax, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-428-7940

Treasure Valley Recovery

Nampa, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

855-248-2193

Denver Recovery Center

Denver, CO

Multiple Levels of Care

855-729-4891

SUWS of the Carolinas

Old Fort, NC

Residential

844-811-2644

Delta Med Center

Memphis, TN

Outpatient

877-235-0382

Carus Recovery

Van Nuys, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

888-616-9024

Recovery First Treatment Center – Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-603-7860

The Poseidon Method

Mykonos, Greece

Full Spectrum of Care

202-370-7462

Indiana Center for Recovery

Bloomington, IN

Full Spectrum of Care

866-657-4490

Cove Forge Behavioral Health Center

Williamsburg, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-6578

SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

888-341-1174

Clear Life Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

888-638-7182

1st Step Behavioral Health

Pompano Beach, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

844-334-8400

Timberline Knolls for Women

Lemont, IL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-200-8406

Starlite Recovery Center

Center Point, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

855-349-1116

Asana Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-899-6056

Mount Regis Center

Salem, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-539-2026

Southeast Addiction Center

Atlanta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-614-6174

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Westcoast

Beverly Hills, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

Future Now Detox

Palm Springs, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

877-325-0525

Recovery Unplugged Austin Treatment Center

Austin, TX

Full Spectrum of Care

844-291-5968

Silver Lining Recovery

Huntington Beach, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-940-0031

Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital

Valdosta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-692-1694

Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital

Tukwila, WA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-419-6205

Azure Acres Recovery

Sebastopol, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-872-7360

Bowling Green Brandywine

Kennett Square, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-797-7507

Keystone Treatment Center

Canton, SD

Multiple Levels of Care

855-417-3666

America’s Rehab Campuses

Tucson, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

877-484-7367

Oasis Behavioral Health Hospital

Chandler, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

855-338-0838

JourneyPure – Tennessee

Knoxville, TN

Multiple Levels of Care

(844) 899-9541

United Recovery Project

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

877-586-7043

Vermilion Behavioral Health Systems

Lafayette, LA

Multiple Levels of Care

888-494-6620

Recovery Unplugged Austin Rehab Center

Austin, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

844-817-9493

Enlightened Solutions

Egg Harbor City, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

855-408-7163

Riverwoods Behavioral Health System

Riverdale, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-246-8017

Wellness Counseling & Residential Detox

Stuart, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-937-0191

Oceanside Malibu

Malibu, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

866-275-3956

Northeast Addiction Treatment Center

Quincy, MA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-831-4406

Harbor Oaks Hospital

New Balitmore, MI

Inpatient

866-468-6148

Bradford Recovery Center

Millerton, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-769-9928

Recovery First Treatment Center – Hollywood

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-603-7860

Moonlight Mountain Recovery

Pocatello, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

866-831-4706

Right Path Addiction Treatment Centers

Virginia Beach, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-982-0704

Bluff Plantation

Augusta, GA

Inpatient

855-331-2490

Duffy’s Napa Valley Rehab

Calistoga, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-766-4576

The Harrison House of Northern Virginia

Annandale, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-734-4364

Dana Point Rehab Campus

Dana Point, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-944-2609

Acadiana Treatment Center

Sunset, LA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-548-6273

Phoenix Behavioral Healthcare

Hobe Sound, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-945-1119

JourneyPure – Florida

Melbourne, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

(844) 899-9541

Trustpoint Hospital

Murfreesboro, TN

Multiple Levels of Care

888-925-9448

Riverwalk Ranch

Mansfield, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

866-634-7479

Lakeview Behavioral Health Hospital

Norcross, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-337-9509

The Haven Detox

West Palm Beach, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-409-5866

Recovery Unplugged – Austin Detox

Austin, TX

Detox

855-958-1650

Northbound Treatment Services

Newport Beach, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

877-918-9085

Burkwood Treatment Center

Hudson, WI

Residential

844-251-2961

New England Recovery & Wellness

Concord, NH

Multiple Levels of Care

844-408-1433

Blue Ridge Mountain Recovery Center

Ball Ground, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-498-9407

Steps Recovery Center

Payson, UT

Full Spectrum of Care

877-696-0054

MeadowWood Behavioral Health

New Castle, DE

Multiple Levels of Care

855-609-4051

Pinnacle Peak Recovery

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-8937

Understanding High-Functioning Alcoholics

A high-functioning alcoholic  is someone who habitually drinks an unhealthy amount of alcohol while maintaining some level of professional and personal success. According to a government survey, about 20% of alcoholics in America are high-functioning alcoholics. Many of them are successful at work and at home, and sometimes their friends and family don’t even know that they have a problem.

A high-functioning alcoholic might hold down a job and have a family despite an underlying struggle with alcohol addiction.
High-functioning alcoholics often hide the severity of their abuse from friends and loved ones.

Many high-functioning alcoholics will deny their struggle with alcohol addiction. Some might even think alcohol helps them achieve success by making them more social or charming. High-functioning alcoholics are often unaware of their behavior’s impact on those closest to them.

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It is important to understand that these people’s achievements are earned in spite of — not because of — alcohol use. Regardless of personal success, prolonged alcohol abuse carries serious health risks and poses many negative consequences. Unfortunately, a combination of denial and a lack of support from their family and friends often prevents high-functioning alcoholics from ever getting treatment. Nevertheless, high-functioning alcoholics face medical and legal risks from drinking excessively. For example, high-functioning alcoholic are more likely to drink and drive and develop cirrhosis from binge drinking.

High-Functioning Alcoholism in Popular Culture

The high-functioning alcoholic is an often-celebrated but problematic character type in the media. Popular TV programs like Mad Men depict advertising executives, lawyers, bankers and financial advisers balancing success and heavy alcohol use without consequences. The stereotype becomes more troublesome when contrasted to its counterpart, the rock bottom alcoholic. This contrast suggests acceptable, “charming” types of alcohol disuse as well as unacceptable, “bad” ones. This cannot be further from the truth.

There is no “best form” of alcoholism.

Regardless of success or personal achievements, everyone is vulnerable to alcohol’s mental and physical harms. These might include liver and brain damage, various forms of cancer and stroke. Learn the extensive side effects of alcohol abuse and addiction.

Signs of High-Functioning Alcoholism

High-functioning alcoholics often hide their struggles from loved ones and may be in denial. High-functioning alcoholics have built a resistance to alcohol’s sedative effects so they may not appear intoxicated. There are signs of alcoholism to look for in friends or loved ones, including:

  • Drinking to feel confident or relax
  • Hiding alcohol, denying heavy drinking, or becoming angry during confrontations
  • “Morning drinking” or drinking alone
  • Losing close friends or missing work or school
  • Causing friends and family to make excuses for or worry about their drinking
  • Having lapses in memory while drinking
  • Joking about alcoholism or about having a drinking problem
  • Drinking when they hadn’t intended to

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders outlines criteria identifying substance use disorders. Learn how professionals diagnose an alcohol problem.

Confronting a High-Functioning Alcoholic

It can be difficult to acknowledge that a friend or loved one is struggling with an alcohol addiction. After recognizing that someone needs help, it is important to approach them about their behavior. An intervention specialist can help a defensive high-functioning alcoholic see the truth about their addiction. Learn more about staging an intervention.

It is important to remember to confront high-functioning alcoholics when they are sober. During an intervention, you should be assertive and clearly explain how your loved one’s alcoholism has negatively impacted you, them, and everyone else you both know. However, avoid making accusations or seeming judgmental. After all, you are trying to help this person and convince them to seek treatment. Emphasize to your loved one that they will suffer even worse consequences from their alcoholism in the future if they fail to change. When the high-functioning attempts to make excuses, engage in denial, or attack you, respond with calmness and honesty. Eventually, your loved-one will realize that they have a problem, if they haven’t realized it already, and they might agree to try rehab.

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Start Treatment for Alcoholism Today

Overcoming an alcohol addiction can be challenging, but not impossible. The first step is to enroll in a recovery program. Treatment centers offer inpatient and outpatient programs and allow for detox under doctor supervision. Community groups like Alcoholics Anonymous can provide ongoing emotional support.

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