Disheveled. Homeless. Broke. Out of control. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when people think of someone who struggles with an alcohol addiction. However, these words don’t always reflect the reality of alcoholism. In fact, some people that are suffering from an alcohol addiction can look perfectly normal from an outsider’s perspective. This paradox is so common experts even have a name for it- functional alcoholism. Functional alcoholism hits close to home for many individuals who struggle in silence with alcohol use under the guise that they’re still showing up to work or picking the kids up from school on time. But in most cases, the only person that believes they are truly functioning is the person suffering from alcoholism- everyone else can see the writing on the wall. If you’ve ever wondered if you are suffering from functional alcoholism, you’ve probably turned to today’s most trusted resource, Google, to answer some of the below questions.
#1. Is drinking wine every night bad for you?
The short answer- no. However, if you find that you always finish a bottle of wine once it’s open, it could indicate that you have a problem. Not only does is show that you’re drinking too much, it could also imply that you’re struggling to control the amount you drink in one sitting. There is a big difference between having a glass of wine every night versus an entire bottle every night. The objective limit for heavy drinking for women is three drinks per day or seven drinks in a week. For men, the limit is four drinks per day or 14 drinks in a week. If this limit is exceeded, you are considered to be at risk for alcoholism. While you may still be making it to the gym every day, if you’re consistently surpassing the daily or weekly limits- it’s a warning sign of alcoholism. [middle-callout]
#2. Why do I always black out when I drink?
To put it simply, you’re drinking way too much, and way too often. The average drinker who doesn’t suffer from alcoholism does not black out every time they drink- because they do not aim to get drunk every time they have an alcoholic beverage. They don’t like to feel out of control or have so much to drink that they have no memory of the night before. For someone who suffers from alcoholism, drinking to oblivion is the objective of every glass of wine, bottle of beer, or drink of liquor. If you’re drinking so much that you’re blacking out regularly, it’s time to consider the root cause of your excessive drinking. Blacking out is not required to have a good time, so why do you keep doing it? On the outside, it might seem like you’re still functioning. You still have a job and you’re managing your relationships, but the harsh reality is- you have no control over how much alcohol you consume.
#3. Is my “wind-down wine” habit turning me into an alcoholic?
While the signs and symptoms of alcoholism vary based on the person, drinking excessively to cope with stress and anxiety is a universal sign of alcoholism. Drinking can start to spiral out of control when you begin relying on a substance to help you relieve stress, feel happy, or reduce anxiety. If you’re using alcohol to unwind, it could be an indicator that there is a larger problem that needs to be explored and dealt with without alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant and should never be used to cope with other negative emotions. While you might feel better while you’re drinking, the emotional aftermath of drinking excessively can make you feel worse than before. Additionally, the relief that alcohol provides is only temporary. Meaning the more you rely on it as an emotional crutch, the more alcohol you will start to consume. This cycle can quickly become addictive and destructive.
#4. Why does it take more drinks to get me drunk?
If you start noticing that it’s taking more drinks than usual to get you drunk, it’s a definite sign that you could be suffering from alcoholism. When your body is exposed to alcohol regularly, it will adapt to cope with this behavior. Whether you’re going for a buzz or trying to get drunk- as your body’s tolerance for alcohol increases you will have to drink larger quantities of alcohol to reach the same levels of intoxication. This is especially concerning if you also consistently finish off a bottle of wine after it’s been open. Not only is it a sign of alcoholism, but drinking heavily will also rapidly build up your tolerance for alcohol and make it harder for your body to function without it. The more you drink, the more alcoholic it will take to get you drunk. The more you’re drunk, the more your body will begin to rely on alcohol to perform daily tasks, such as driving to work or going to friend’s birthday party. As this cycle deepens, the control you have over your alcohol consumption will diminish- leaving you to deal with the consequences of your excessive drinking.
#5. How do I know if I have a drinking problem?
If you’re asking the question, it’s a pretty good sign that you don’t feel in control of your alcohol consumption. While all of the behaviors listed above are good indicators that you could be suffering from high-functioning alcoholism, some others signs include:
- Lying about or hiding your drinking
- Drinking alone
- Neglecting responsibilities to drink
- Having trouble in your relationships
- Trying to quit but being unable to
- Experiencing withdrawal from alcohol
Unfortunately, alcoholism is a progressive disease. So today, you might still have your job. You might still be driving a nice car without a DUI on your record. You might still be managing your relationships with relative ease. You might still look and feel like you’re functioning normally- but the longer you’re not in control of your drinking, the worse it will become. If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol addiction, call our alcohol detox treatment specialists today at 844-451-0263.