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Signs you could be ‘functioning alcoholic’ – hidden booze to housework reward

Enjoying a tipple at the end of a hard day's work could be one of the best ways to end the day for some, but experts have warned it could be a worrying sign.

If you're known for enjoying a glass of wine once you've completed your daily tasks, experts have warned that this, along with various other habits, could indicate that you're a functioning alcoholic.

The term – functioning alcoholic – refers to a person who suffers with a form of alcohol addiction but is still capable of continuing with everyday life.

According to private rehab clinic Delamere, these people will be able to go to work, maintain a good role within their family life and, to many people, will appear to be coping.

This is why it's easy for someone to remain oblivious that they're suffering with the condition, as they don't always fit the "stereotypical" mould of what people think an alcoholic looks like.

The clinic has said that the summer months give many people the opportunity to drink more socially as, on average, most adults admit to consuming more alcohol than during the winter months.

A recent survey revealed that one in three Brits increase drinking during warmer weather.

To help people through this period The Sun published a list of common signs to look out for with the help of addiction specialists at Delamere.

What are the signs to look out for?

  1. Regular binge drinking after daily chores are completed
  2. Claiming that drinking is a way of unwinding after work, a way of relaxing following a hectic day with the kids or as a reward
  3. Often getting drunk or smelling of booze
  4. Feeling no sense of control when it comes to alcohol
  5. Hiding booze in odd places such as the car or in the garage
  6. If you find yourself drinking in between work hours and appointment times
  7. If you find you become quite irritable if you're unable to have a drink
  8. Drinking during the morning, and at other odd times of day on a regular basis
  9. Not being able to say no to drinking at social events, as well as "preloading" before heading to an event
  10. Refusing to attend events or functions where alcohol isn't on the cards
  11. When booze becomes a problem at home – you may even find yourself drinking alone at times
  12. You become really sensitive when someone questions you about your drinking habits
  13. Total denial
  14. Alternating between drinking and consuming prescription pills
  15. Becoming totally different – or even angry – when under the influence of alcohol
  16. Finding it difficult to remember things that happened while you were drunk and, sometimes, experiencing an "alcoholic blackout"
  17. Taking big risks, such as deciding to get behind the wheel to get to work or do the school run while over the limit

What can you do to help a functioning alcoholic?

If you already think it's easy to spot some of these symptoms in yourself, it's likely that others have also noticed your drinking habits too.

According to the NHS, if you think you have a drug addiction the best place to head first is your GP.

Your doctor will be able to talk you though the services that could help you, and this will all depend on your level of alcohol misuse.

Methods of treatment could include both medication and counselling, and there are various charities that can help too.

But, if you feel someone may be showing these symptoms, Delamere says it's essential that you get them to acknowledge it as soon as possible.

If you have already tried to approach the topic, but they became both angry and defensive, there are some things you could do that could help to better the situation. Here is some guidance from the experts.

1. Make some time to talk to them when they're free, and they're in no rush to get away, so you can really get your thoughts across. It's best to try and do this when they haven't had a drink but, if they're dependant on alcohol, try and opt for a time before they start consuming too much.

2. It can be really useful to speak to them about their drinking habits shortly after they have been through something negative as a direct result of their drinking.

This way they are more likely to be sorry for their actions, and will be less able to refuse that they have a problem.

3. Share with this person what you know about the condition and what the signs and symptoms may mean. When a person is diagnosed as an alcoholic, this does not mean they automatically get to lose everything.

4. Tell them that alcoholism is progressive, and can be medically recognised as both a mental and physiological disease.

It's important they don't feel shame about it, so make sure they understand it's an illness that needs treatment in order to become better.

5. No matter how they react when you approach them about the topic, you need to try and stay calm and refrain from arguing.

Exchanging harsh words will only give them reason to walk away and continue drinking, so try and be as empathetic as possible and offer as much support as you can.

6. Tell them exactly how their drinking habits are affecting people close to them, and give examples of when their behaviour has caused you to worry.

7. Explain to them that the condition probably affects a lot more people than they realise, and tell them many people would have experienced the same things.

Make it clear to them that people who go through an alcohol use disorder are unlikely to be able to get out of it alone.

8. Explain to them the negative impacts a non-functioning alcoholic can be forced to face as a result of drinking, such as losing jobs or relationships.

9. Show them there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and that alcoholism can be treated. A professional detox and rehabilitation programme will offer them the treatment and time they need to work their way to better health.

When you have the chat, if it seems to go well, you need to act fast as soon as the person admits to having a problem.

Experts who work in addiction treatment refer to this period as the "window of opportunity."

It can be a very short amount of time before they turn back towards denial and, if they don't seem to be playing ball, change the subject and try talking about it again on another day.

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