Am I a High Functioning Alcoholic? Quiz

The term “high-functioning alcoholic” bears many misconceptions. It suggests that some individuals can maintain a successful, productive lifestyle while struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD). This concept can be misleading and may downplay the seriousness of alcohol addiction. Not an official medical diagnosis, ‘high-functioning alcoholism’ is a societal term for those who manage daily responsibilities alongside excessive alcohol consumption. Despite its controversial nature, understanding this concept can be useful in evaluating personal drinking habits and behaviors.

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Quiz: Am I a High Functioning Alcoholic?

This quiz is designed for self-evaluation purposes and is not a substitute for professional diagnosis. If you have concerns about your substance abuse or drinking habits, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for a formal assessment and advice.

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What is Alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite social, occupational, or health consequences. It ranges from mild to severe and is diagnosed based on specific criteria such as the inability to limit drinking, spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from alcohol use and experiencing cravings or a strong desire to drink.

AUD is more complex than simply drinking too much. This disorder involves a range of behaviors and physical effects. People with AUD might continue drinking even when it causes problems in their relationships or at work. They may also develop a tolerance to alcohol, meaning they need to drink more to achieve the same effects or experience withdrawal symptoms when not drinking.

AUD is a chronic disease similar to diabetes or heart disease and can affect anyone regardless of their lifestyle, background, or level of success. It is important to distinguish that this condition does not result from a lack of willpower or moral failings; it’s a health issue that requires medical attention.

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

A “functioning alcoholic” or “high-functioning alcoholic” is an informal term used to describe individuals who seemingly maintain their work, relationships, and other daily responsibilities while struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction. This term is not a clinical diagnosis but rather a societal label. Functioning alcoholics often do not fit the stereotypical image of an alcoholic; they might appear successful and in control, hiding their struggles with alcohol from others. 

Some common signs of functioning alcoholism, or that someone is abusing alcohol, may include the following:

The unfortunate truth is that being a functioning alcoholic doesn’t mean the individual is not at risk. They may still suffer from health issues related to alcohol, strained relationships, and the potential for their alcohol use to escalate.

If you or a loved one is concerned about problematic drinking patterns, it’s never too early to seek help. At Profound Treatment, we approach the concept of functioning alcoholism with a focus on the underlying issues of addiction, regardless of the individual’s ability to maintain certain aspects of their life.

Contact us today at (310) 929-9546 to speak with one of our experienced team members. We’re here to help as you decide what’s next. 

Signs and Symptoms of a High-Functioning Alcoholic

Identifying a high-functioning alcoholic can be challenging because they often present a well-kept, successful facade. However, there are some signs and symptoms to watch out for. These indicators can help in recognizing when someone close to you might be struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction despite apparent normalcy in their daily lives.

It’s important to note that these signs can vary in intensity and might not be immediately evident. At Profound Treatment, we understand the subtleties of addiction through every stage of its progression. Our alcohol treatment approach is to look beyond the surface and focus on healing the whole person, while providing the necessary support for a successful recovery.

The Risks of High-Functioning Alcoholism

High-functioning alcoholism, despite its outward appearance of normalcy, carries significant risks that can affect an individual’s physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. These risks are often underestimated due to the ability of the individual to maintain a facade of control and success. 


Chronic alcohol use, even in high-functioning individuals, can lead to a host of physical health problems. These include liver disease, heart disease, digestive problems, and an increased risk of certain cancers. Additionally, alcohol can negatively impact sleep patterns and immune system function, making the body more susceptible to illness.


There is a strong link between alcohol abuse and mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and increased stress levels. The use of alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress or emotional pain can create a vicious cycle, exacerbating underlying mental health issues.


High-functioning alcoholics may experience feelings of guilt, shame, and low self-esteem, particularly in moments of clarity about their dependence on alcohol. These negative emotions can be masked by drinking, creating a barrier to addressing and resolving emotional issues.

Functioning Alcoholism and Denial

One of the most significant challenges in addressing high-functioning alcoholism is the pervasive presence of denial. This denial is not just from the individuals themselves but can also be echoed in their social and professional circles due to their ability to maintain certain aspects of their lives and outward appearance of normalcy. Understanding the dynamics of this denial can be helpful for recognizing and addressing high-functioning alcoholism.

  • Self-denial: Functioning alcoholics often convince themselves that they don’t have a problem since they can maintain their jobs, relationships, and other responsibilities. This self-denial is reinforced by their ability to continue functioning somewhat effectively in daily life, unlike the stereotypical image of an alcoholic.
  • Rationalization: They tend to rationalize their drinking by attributing it to work stress, social engagements, or as a reward for their hard work and success. This rationalization serves as a justification for their continued alcohol use.
  • Minimizing concerns: When confronted about their drinking habits, high-functioning alcoholics are likely to minimize concerns. They might compare themselves with others with more apparent struggles, suggesting their situation is not problematic.
  • Professional and social reinforcement: The professional and social success of high-functioning alcoholics can inadvertently reinforce denial. Colleagues, friends, and family might overlook the signs of alcoholism due to the individual’s success and ability to cope seemingly well.

At Profound Treatment, we focus on creating an environment where individuals feel safe to confront their denial, understand the impact of their alcohol use, and take the necessary steps to recover.

Seek Help for Alcoholism at Profound Treatment in Woodland Hills, CA


Recovery is not just about quitting alcohol; it involves significant lifestyle changes and often requires ongoing support. Asking for help is a critical step towards recovery and there are numerous ways to receive support for those struggling with alcohol dependence. At Profound Treatment, the journey to recovery from alcohol addiction is structured through a series of well-defined levels of care, each tailored to meet the unique needs of our clients. Our drug addiction treatment process is designed to be comprehensive and flexible, providing the necessary support at every stage of recovery.


The first step is a thorough assessment to understand the individual’s specific circumstances and needs. This includes medical, psychological, and lifestyle evaluations to create a personalized treatment plan.


For those who require it, a medically supervised detoxification process ensures safety and comfort while managing withdrawal symptoms. This stage sets a stable foundation for the rest of the treatment.


Clients may then transition to our residential treatment program, receiving round-the-clock care. This immersive environment focuses on intensive therapy, skill-building, and establishing healthy routines.


There are various levels of outpatient care for those who can manage recovery with more independence. These programs include regular therapy sessions and support groups, allowing clients to integrate their recovery with their daily lives.


Recognizing that recovery is an ongoing process, many rehabs and treatment facilities provide continued support after program completion. This includes alumni groups, counseling, and resources to maintain sobriety and manage relapse triggers.

Throughout each level of care, clients at Profound Treatment have access to various therapies and support services, including individual counseling, group therapy, family therapy, and holistic treatments. 

Begin Healing with Profound Today

Recognizing the signs and seeking help are the first steps towards recovery. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Call us now at (310) 929-9546 or visit our website to verify your insurance. Your recovery is our priority. 

FAQ's About "Am I an Addict?" Quiz

High functioning alcoholism is a colloquial term which refers to individuals who maintain their responsibilities and lead a seemingly normal life while struggling with alcohol addiction. It’s not a clinical diagnosis but a societal term.

A habitual drinker may consume alcohol regularly but doesn’t necessarily have the compulsive need or alcohol dependency that characterizes addiction.

It’s difficult to determine an exact percentage, as high-functioning alcoholic behavior often goes unrecognized due to its very nature. Estimates vary, and many cases may remain undiagnosed.

Individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) or alcohol use disorder (AUD) often have co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, though the specific conditions vary from person to person based on a number of outside variables.

Traits like impulsivity, low frustration tolerance, seeking excitement, and a tendency towards risk-taking behaviors are sometimes linked to substance and alcohol use disorders. This is largely related to the symptoms they exhibit while in active addiction. 

Offer non-judgmental support, encourage them to seek professional help, and educate yourself about alcoholism to understand their challenges better.

Read more about how to help a loved one or family member with addiction. 

The process involves a thorough evaluation, including medical history, psychological assessment, and substance use patterns, often using criteria from the DSM-5 or similar diagnostic tools.

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