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What is a high-functioning alcoholic?

When thinking about alcoholism, most people imagine a person without a home, job, or family that has lost everything to his or her addiction. However, this is not true for the vast majority of alcoholics. A high-functioning alcoholic is a person who is able to keep life together for the most part while also abusing alcohol. It's crucial that you're able to recognize the signs of alcoholism so that you or your loved one can seek out assistance before devastating consequences occur.

The first step is to know the signs of an alcohol use disorder. How much you drink is often an indicator of alcoholism. For men, four drinks or more in a day is considered excessive. For women, three or more drinks in a single day are considered problematic. People with alcohol issues also experience a number of negative consequences in their lives. Problems with interpersonal relationships are quite common. Despite these problems, a person may continue drinking. This can lead to legal issues, including OVI charges. 

People who drink to excess also experience blackouts. These are periods of extreme drunkness where a person may do things and not remember them the next day. People who abuse alcohol also need to drink first thing after waking or do so when alone. When questioned about use, an alcoholic often lies or denies that he or she has an issue.

Drinking not only causes problems in one's personal life or with their job, they can also cause serious health effects. Liver disease is a huge concern in this case, but alcohol also affects brain function and blood pressure. When drinking gets out of control, seeking outside help is the best option. Rehabilitation, counseling, and 12-step programs can all be useful for breaking one's addiction to alcohol. 

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