This possibly places the HFA in a more dangerous situation than those traditionally viewed of an individual with an AUD. Many of these individuals experience functioning co-occurring mental health conditions while struggling with addiction. Many believe that that most individuals with an AUD are high functioning.

high functioning alcoholic

While binge drinking is not a direct path to alcohol addiction, it does put a person at greater risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. As alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe and life-threatening, it’s essential never to attempt to detox at home. Some of the most severe symptoms include high fever, severe tremors, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure.


Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention. Although an intervention can take many forms, many of these meetings open with each participant stating how the alcoholic’s behavior has harmed or disappointed them. The alcoholic is then presented with a plan of care, including a proposal of consequences if they decide to refuse. For instance, the alcoholic may be denied visitation rights or may be faced with a marital separation if he decides not to seek help. An alcoholic in denial may become extremely manipulative, tearful, angry or hostile when faced with the need for alcohol treatment.

Many alcoholics use denial or aggression as their chosen mode of avoidance, but others have a seemingly rational explanation for their behavior. It’s not uncommon to see high-functioning alcoholics replace meals with a few drinks. They tend to lose all interest in food, and instead, use mealtime as an excuse to start drinking again. There are many misconceptions about alcoholism that make it sound like an alcoholic is an easy person to spot, however, many alcoholics function effectively and lead relatively normal lives. Speaking to a medical professional and seeing the medical evidence for themselves might help a high functioning alcoholic realize that they have a problem and encourage them to enroll in a recovery program.

Typical Stages of High-Functioning Alcoholism

An intervention is a planned meeting in which the concerned parties confront the alcoholic about their behavior. If someone close to you is a high-functioning alcoholic, it’s just as important to seek support for yourself as it is to get help for your loved one. You likely have questions about how to deal with an alcoholic, or how to help an alcoholic. high functioning alcoholic Self-help organizations, church groups, and 12-step programs like Al-Anon and Alateen offer advice, hope and encouragement to people involved with functioning alcoholics. The chance of getting into a motor vehicle accident while under the influence is among them. Alcohol poisoning is a potential threat to high-functioning alcoholism, too.

high functioning alcoholic

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous can be effective options for those seeking alcoholism treatment. Additionally, family members or loved ones of individuals struggling with alcoholism may benefit from attending Al-Anon support groups. According to Giannotti, community AA meetings are the most successful option for preventing relapse and are available for free worldwide daily.