High-functioning alcoholic

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A high-functioning alcoholic (HFA) is a person that maintains jobs and relationships while exhibiting alcoholism.[1]

Numbers from the Harvard School of Public Health show that 31 percent of college students show signs of alcohol abuse and 6 percent are dependent on alcohol. Doctors hope that the new definition will help identify severe cases of alcoholism early, rather than when the problem is fully developed.[2]

Many HFAs are not viewed by society as alcoholics because they do not fit the common alcoholic stereotype. Unlike the stereotypical alcoholic, HFAs have either succeeded or over-achieved through their lifetimes. This can lead to denial of alcoholism by the HFA, co-workers, family members, and friends. Functional alcoholics account for 19.5 percent of total U.S. alcoholics, with 50 percent being smokers and 33 percent having a multigenerational family history of alcoholism.[3]


  1. ^ Benton, Sarah Allen (2009). Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic – Professional Views and Personal Insights. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-35280-5. 
  2. ^ Sanderson, Megan (May 22, 2012). "About 37 percent of college students could now be considered alcoholics". Daily Emerald. Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  3. ^ Press release (June 28, 2007). "Researchers Identify Alcoholic Subtypes". National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 

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