Understanding the Functional Alcoholic Person: Definition, Challenges, Living with a Spouse

A functional alcoholic might sound like a contradictory term. Although the phrase “functional alcoholic person” may sound paradoxical, it describes a reality that many people, along with their loved ones, must deal with. In this article, we will thoroughly define the challenges faced by the person and their loved ones.

Understanding Functional Alcoholic

A functional alcoholic person is an individual who routinely consumes too much alcohol while leading a typically ordinary life, including a successful profession, a happy household, and interactions with others. Functional alcoholics, in contrast to the typical stereotype of an alcoholic, frequently seem to be in command of their personal affairs. Their alcohol consumption is still obsessive, though, and it poses serious health hazards. The notion of a functioning alcoholic refutes the widespread belief that alcoholism invariably results in observable declines in one’s quality of life.

Obstacles Faced

Functional alcoholics have particular difficulties. Because they can keep up the appearance of regularity, they frequently fail to acknowledge the extent of their dependency, which causes denial in both themselves and those surrounding them. This denial raises the possibility of chronic medical conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver and brain disorders, and can delay getting care. Furthermore, alcohol effects of withdrawal can vary in severity among functional alcoholics, ranging from minor tremors and anxiety to more severe issues like delirium tremens (DTs).

Living with a Functional Alcoholic Spouse

Cohabiting with a functionally intoxicated partner can be mentally taxing and difficult. A spouse may feel a variety of sentiments, such as anxiety, rage, and remorse, in addition to rejection and guilt. Everyone in the family may experience mental suffering, financial difficulties, and strained relationships as a result of the functional alcoholic’s actions. Couples must seek help, whether from peer groups, counseling, or trusting in dependable family or close friends.

Talking to a functional alcoholic person

It might be challenging to talk to a functioning alcoholic regarding their drinking, mainly if they may be hiding their issue. Expressing your worries indirectly is critical, concentrating on particular actions and their consequences rather than categorizing someone as an alcoholic.


It is essential to comprehend the behaviors of a functional alcoholic person to identify and treat drunkenness in its less evident manifestations. Even while active alcoholics might seem to have things under control, their drinking habits carry serious hazards and consequences. Achieving healing and more beneficial connections requires recognizing the issue and getting the proper assistance.