Untreated alcoholism can rob a person of the ability to moderate their behaviors. But some people who struggle with an addiction to alcohol retain a modicum of control and stability. People who do this are often said to have high-functioning alcoholism.
To determine if someone meets the criteria for alcoholism or another form of addiction, most clinicians in the United States refer to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-5). This reference book includes the following criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder (which is the clinical term for alcoholism):
According to the DSM-5, a person only needs to meet two of the criteria listed above to be diagnosed with an addiction to alcohol
People who meet fewer than five of these criteria are often described as having mild or moderate alcohol use disorder. Depending on which criteria a person meets, and how severely they are affected, individuals who have mild or moderate alcohol use disorder may also be referred to as having high-functioning alcoholism.
The term high-functioning alcoholism is not included as either a diagnosis or a qualifier in the DSM-5, but it is still often used by clinicians, addiction counselors, and other experts to provide a general description of how a person has been impacted by compulsive alcohol abuse.
A person who has high-functioning alcoholism may only have a few symptoms. Also, they may go to great lengths to hide these symptoms from friends, family members, and colleagues. This means that it can be extremely difficult to tell if someone in your life has this form of addiction.
If you suspect that someone you know may have developed high-functioning alcoholism, you may want to keep an eye out for the following signs and symptoms:
Someone who exhibits these types of signs and symptoms may be in crisis and should seek professional care. Thankfully, high-functioning alcoholism is a treatable condition. In many cases, outpatient treatment can be the start of the path toward an alcohol-free future.
Inner Voyage Recovery Center offers three levels of outpatient care for individuals who have been living with high-functioning alcoholism. Depending on the nature and severity of your struggles with alcohol abuse, you may benefit from receiving services at one or more of the following levels:
Within these levels of care, you may participate in the following types of therapies and services:
Inner Voyage Recovery Center is a trusted source of personalized outpatient treatment for adults who have developed high-functioning alcoholism and other forms of addiction. When you choose to begin your recovery journey at our treatment center near Atlanta, Georgia, you can receive quality care from a team of skilled and compassionate professionals.
With our help, you can overcome the constraints of high-functioning alcoholism, regain control of your behavior, and start living a much healthier and more authentic life. To learn more about our programs and services, or to schedule a free assessment, please either visit our admissions page or call us today.