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Functional Alcoholics and Codependent Wives

Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. In essence, codependent relationships feature one party who is the perpetual taker and one who is the over-the-top giver. They usually deeply resent each other but are caught up in a cycle that satisfies some defective need for control.

The participants in an intervention could include the alcoholic’s spouse or partner, children, parents, friends, coworkers, employer, friends and other individuals who have been affected. A substance abuse counselor, family therapist or spiritual advisor may also attend to provide an objective presence and keep the agenda on track. If you live with a functioning alcoholic husband, you know that alcoholism comes with a dark side. Mood swings, inability Guilt and Grief: Making A Living Amends to control alcohol consumption and failure to make good choices while drinking could eventually take a toll on your marriage—even if it’s functional. American Addiction Centers offers a range of treatment services in facilities across the country to help treat alcohol use disorders. With our help, patients don’t only appear to function normally, but feel and experience life to its greatest potential as a sober and recovering individual.

Are You a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

That sense of loneliness can be compounded if your high-functioning alcoholic husband withdraws emotionally or is overbearing and controlling—unable to communicate with your partner, you may start to feel hopeless. That is a signal that you, and your husband, need the hope that alcohol rehabilitation treatment can bring. As the spouse of a high-functioning alcoholic, life can be stressful for you, too. Emotionally, your household may tend to be in chaos most days. You may be dealing with your husband’s mood swings, or lies, or excuses—every day can be a series of ups and downs, and you never know what to expect.

functional alcoholic husband

Perhaps the safest method of approaching someone with a suspected substance use disorder is to perform a substance use disorder intervention. A substance use disorder intervention is a method of attempting to get an individual into treatment, orchestrated by the person’s family members and close friends. Individuals who might fall into the “functional” subclass of alcohol use disorders are often not readily going to admit that their alcohol use is problematic for them.

Alcohol Contributes to Stress

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the common signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction if you think your partner has a drinking problem. This can help you gauge when your husband needs help or intervention. HFAs are less apt to feel that they need treatment or help for their alcoholism and often slide through the cracks of the health care system, both medically and psychologically, because they are not diagnosed. Sadly, according to the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, only 25 percent of alcoholics ever receive treatment—indicating a serious problem of denial on a societal level. These are just a few of the stereotypes about alcoholics that are pervasive throughout society.

  • We have addiction treatment specialists standing by to offer their professional services to you and your husband.
  • Alcohol use disorders, binge drinking, problematic drinking, and alcoholism can be devastating to families and relationships if allowed to continue.
  • The treatment for a high-functioning alcoholic is the same as for any other type of addict, Benton says.
  • Families can get stuck in a holding pattern or waiting game while waiting for the day they address the admitted problem.
  • If (or when) they do, you’ll want to know what options are out there for the treatment of AUDs and what to look for in a treatment provider.

Admitting a problem is the first step to changing it, and positive recognition from a functional alcoholic when they do is a huge first step. A “functional alcoholic” (or “high-functioning alcoholic”) isn’t a formal medical diagnosis, but a term used colloquially to describe a person who is dependent upon alcohol but can still function in society. The term “currently-functioning” may be used since it’s not likely they will remain functional (and not misuse alcohol) indefinitely. People who are functional, or high functioning, alcoholics try hard to hide their disordered drinking from family members, colleagues, and friends. Even if someone might approach them asking if there is a problem, they will likely deny it. Denial protects themselves from the stigma of alcoholism, or from appearing weak and not in control.


It is a standardized tool developed by Oxford et al (1976).[4] There are totally 30 items in the scale. The tool yields mean scores in three forms of coping, namely, engaged coping, tolerant coping, and withdrawal coping. The mean scores can be obtained by simply summing up the individual items score on each subscale. The tool was translated into Hindi and retranslated into English after seeking validation from language experts.

  • Alcohol is the HFA’s best friend and it is hard for anyone to compete with that relationship.
  • No one can fully appreciate how much you shoulder, because ironically, you spend so much time making it look like things are easy.
  • The third commonly employed coping strategy was that of withdrawal coping.
  • Almost 43% of participants had education up to secondary level while 26% were educated up to graduate level.

Their professional status or personal success can make it hard to approach them about having a “problem” with alcohol. Nearly 20% of alcoholics are highly functional and well-educated with good incomes. Because these types of users appear stable and mostly unaffected by their drinking, the steps to effectively confront a functioning alcoholic and work with them on their behaviors can be even more difficult. It is important to learn how to approach and discuss this delicate situation with your loved one. Becoming educated on what an alcohol use disorder is, how to identify a drinking problem, what treatment options are available, and how to take care of yourself if your husband is an alcoholic can help. Quality addiction treatment centers can help you and your loved one overcome your struggles and break free of alcoholism for good.

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