CHRISTMAS is just around the corner, and for most people it comes with extra helpings of booze.
But if you’re able to guzzle gallons of mulled wine or Santa stout without feeling bleak then it could mean you’re a functioning alcoholic.
Functioning alcoholics can keep up their daily commitments – which makes it hard to spot if they have a problemCredit: Getty
Experts define a functioning alcoholic as someone who suffers from alcoholism, but is still able to keep up daily activities such as work and social commitments.
It’s because people are able to live a seemingly normal life that it can be hard to spot a functioning alcoholic.
CEO of Delamere health and addiction specialist Martin Preston said those that suffer from alcoholism are exceptionally good at hiding their condition.
He said: “With few apparent negative consequences, a functioning alcoholic is unlikely to want to change whilst they feel they still have time.
“Alcohol addiction is at the chronic end of the spectrum of alcohol use disorders for which there is no cure.
“It can, however, be successfully treated and the sooner treatment is undertaken the better for the individual concerned and their loved ones.”
But what are the signs you need to know?
1. A constant supply of booze
People who are functioning alcoholics will always make sure they have booze nearby or they have access to alcohol.
This can be difficult to spot during the Christmas period as there always seems to be prosecco or mulled wine flowing freely.
Martin said that functioning alcoholics are likely to hide alcohol in strange places such as their garage, at the office, in bushes or in their car – so that they know where it is when they need it.
2. Change in behaviour
Martin said that becoming irritable, anxious, restless and unable to sleep if they are unable to drink is a sign of a functioning alcoholic.
He also said that functioning alcoholics may become erratic, spontaneous, angry or change their character completely while intoxicated.
3. Drinking at strange times
Again, many people are partial to a glass of buck’s fizz on Christmas morning – which doesn’t always mean you have an issue.
But Martin says regularly drinking in the morning before going about their day, or at odd times of the day such as lunchtime in order to avoid alcohol withdrawal symptoms, is also a sign.
He also said that drinking between work times or appointments, or drinking just enough to keep their alcohol levels topped up if they are alcohol dependent is a key sign that someone is struggling with their booze.
If someone you know, or you yourself has started to become defensive or flippant when challenged over drinking then it could be cause for concern.
When someone justifies drinking as a way of unwinding after work, a busy day with the kids or as a reward on a regular basis, then it could be a sign of a functioning alcoholic.