A Few Clues Of A High Functioning Alcoholic (HFA)

While alcoholism is a devastating condition that can ruin lives, a number of people who battle with it manage to keep big responsibilities and stressful jobs. From the outside, these so-called high-functioning alcoholic s seem to have it all together. They can drive great cars, live in great communities, and make a substantial income.

Even so, just because they are high-functioning doesn't mean that they are immune to the repercussions of alcohol. They are still at risk of harming themselves and others around them. A pilot nursing a hangover, a surgeon with shaky hands, or a banker managing large sums of money are each at-risk of inducing terrible disasters if they stay on their dysfunctional path.

Below are a number of warning signs that can really help in identifying these time bombs:

1. They drink rather than eating.

Alcoholics will commonly remove and replace meals with a couple of drinks, lose interest in food altogether, or use mealtime as a reason to start drinking.

2. They can wake up without a hangover, even after numerous drinks.

Drinking alcohol regularly over an extended period of time can trigger the body to become addicted to alcohol. Regularly high-functioning alcoholics manage to drink a good deal without the same hangover that afflicts the not habitual drinker.

3. Abstaining makes them cranky, jittery, or uncomfortable.

If an alcoholic is required to avoid drinking, his or her body regularly responds negatively, as they depend on the tranquillizing effects of alcohol. Abrupt quitting can cause tension and anxiety, nervousness, perspiration, a quickened heart rate, and even seizures.

4. Their behavior patterns change dramatically while under the influence of alcohol.

Problem drinkers may transform noticeably when they drink. For example, a generally mild-mannered individual may become belligerent, or make impulsive decisions.

5. They can't have just two drinks.

A problem drinker has a problem stopping, and may even finish others' drinks. Alcohol will never be left on the table, and there is always an excuse for one more round.

6. Time spans of amnesia or "blacking out" are common.

Many problem drinkers will take part in activities that they have no memory of the next day. They may not seem significantly intoxicated at the moment, but they're not able to remember activities that happened.

7. Attempts to discuss drinking behavior are met with aggression and denial.

When faced with problems surrounding their drinking, heavy users will typically retreat to denial or hostility, making discussion hard.

8. They never fail to have a good explanation for why they drink.


Most problem drinkers will have a seemingly rational explanation for their actions if flat denial or hostility is not the chosen method of avoidance. Anxiety and stress at work, troubles at home, or an abundance of social events are prevalent reasons to explain their damaging behavior.

9. They hide their alcohol.

Many problem drinkers will drink alone, or sneak drinks from a bottle in a desk or in their car. This type of covert alcohol consumption is a tremendous warning and there is no other explanation for their actions other than alcohol addiction.

Let's keep our society productive, safe, and sober by keeping our eyes open for questionable actions in order to get these troubled coworkers, family members, and friends the help they need.

Symptoms of a High Functioning Alcoholic

From the outside, these so-called high-functioning alcoholics appear to have it all together. They can drive cool cars, live in great neighborhoods, and make a significant income.

Simply because they're high-functioning does not mean that they're invulnerable to the effects of alcohol. A pilot nursing a hangover, a surgeon with shaky hands, or a banker handling considerable sums of money are each at-risk of causing terrible disasters if they stay on their destructive path.

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