Understanding Addiction with Reflections Recovery Center

Signs You're Living with a Functional Drug Addict
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Signs You’re Living with a Functional Drug Addict

Addicts are generally depicted as people who have turned to illegal substances and have hit rock-bottom. They have been stereotyped as individuals who come from dysfunctional households, earn meager income, and are school dropouts. Addicts are usually assumed to be violent and angry people who are either high or just coming down from one. This is far from true. There are actually addicts who do manage to do things normally and successfully, or so they say.

What is a High-Functioning Addict?

Signs You're Living with a Functional Drug AddictA high-functioning addict can be the family doctor, a preschool school teacher, the successful lawyer with the nice office, or the busy and very personable soccer mom. A high-functioning addict may seem to be living a happy, balanced, and successful life. They have a caring and loving family, friends, a great a job, is active in church and the community, and has interests and hobbies for them to de-stress. The reality is that they secretly use or even abuse a mind-altering substance to help them function through the day.

A high-functioning addict is highly capable of keeping their addiction a secret from everyone. They become skilled in going through their daily activities without their addiction getting in the way. Most high-functioning addicts believe that they do not have a substance abuse problem. They think that they can handle their substance addiction, unwittingly jeopardizing themselves for psychological and physical health problems.

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What is Addiction?

Addiction is a state in which an individual is compelled to repeatedly use an illicit substance or engage in an activity that he finds rewarding. A person can be addicted to substances such as prescription drugs, alcohol, cocaine, and more, or in activities such as gambling.  Scientific studies indicate that the addictive substance or behavior strongly activates that brain center of reinforcement and reward, involving the dopamine neurotransmitter.

Individuals who develop an addiction are not readily aware that their tolerance to the pertaining substance or behavior has increased. The brain’s executive functions are affected, which is why someone in the throes of an addiction does not realize that their behavior is harming themselves and those around them.

Recognizing a High-functioning Addict

Individuals turn to drugs for various reasons. For example, a college student may use stimulants to enhance his focus while studying, or an athlete may use prescription painkillers due to an injury, or a stay-at-home mom may turn an occasional wine before dinner into a devastating alcohol addiction.

Are you living with an addict? If he or she is a high-functioning one, then being able to easily spot the signs of their addiction is not as easy. High-functioning addicts can readily hide or disguise their drug problems without family and friends knowing any better. However, there are ways to discern and unmask one.

Denial is a key sign of addiction. High-functioning addicts may not use drugs on a daily basis. They may prefer to drink only the finest wines and do designer drugs. They can effortlessly manage their family and career, fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities easily. They may even feel entitled to indulge in their substance of addiction as a means of rewarding themselves for their hard work. Recognizing that they have an addiction problem is farthest in their mind. Their friends and loved ones sometimes fail to recognize the addiction problem even if they are presented with facts.

Changes in Behavioral Patterns. No matter how many functional addicts rationalize that they do not have an addiction, they will still experience the consequences.  Subtle changes in their behavior uncharacteristic of them may appear. They may have the tendency to isolate themselves, refusing to interact socially and failing to do family obligations. Professionally, they may show lack of focus in doing tasks, miss deadlines, and might frequently call in sick. They may show some physical signs of addiction such as paranoia, insomnia, and unsteadiness in their movements.

Master of Excuses. A high-functioning addict is a master in making excuses for their unusual behavior and strange occurrences. Coming home drunk or high, they will usually cook up a seemingly realistic story to cover their condition.

Double Life Situation. Leading a double life becomes the norm for high-functioning addicts. They are, on the inside, the exact opposite of the person they showcase to the outside world. They often exude confidence, success, and everything that is truly remarkable. However, when the curtain is drawn and they are by themselves, their true selves are revealed. On occasions, they feel the burden of their lies and deception, but this does not mean they are ready to admit their addiction and seek rehabilitation. Hitting rock-bottom seems to be the thing that could motivate them to seek treatment.

Being in a relationship with a high-functioning addict is not easy as they do not fit the typical drug addict or alcoholic.  Their job is often their anchor of keeping sane as it offers them financial stability to support the addiction. The regular working hours offer them consistency and structure. The job gives them a sense of being someone else, and not an addict. They are mostly at work, which it makes it easy to do drugs or alcohol away from the eyes of family.

Of great concern is that, unless they admit their addiction, they continue to be a liability to themselves and to those around them.

Tell-Tale Signs of Addiction

As a chronic brain disease, addiction will ultimately lead to lower quality of life, health issues, financial problems, work problems and family/relational problems for the addict. Are you in a relationship and not quite sure if your partner has addiction problems because of their weird actions? Here are some signs that you are dating an addict:

  • Your partner can’t seem to limit their drinks or “recreational drugs”.
  • They claim that they are feeling just a bit under the weather and needs to drink or take drugs to feel nice and comfy.
  • You notice that something is not quite right with their behavior, and then they attempts to weave stories and lies about their consumption.
  • They have not introduced you to their friends, and you discover that those individuals do drugs or binge on alcohol
  • After a tasking work is done, your partner rewards themselves by binging on alcohol or drugs.

Addiction has repercussions, and an addict will most likely attribute their addiction-related problems for other reasons. Their thoughts are preoccupied with the substance of their addiction, always finding ways to get a hit. Since high-functioning addicts can deceive their family, the very same family became enablers–defending and making excuses for them. Until they hit rock-bottom, a high-functioning addict will rarely seek help.

The question now is: “How to help a functioning addict?”

For family and friends, it is important to support and understand the person with an addiction problem. There are various reasons why they started abusing substances and condemning them at this point will not be constructive. Intervention and treatment are the solutions. Now!

Reflections Recovery Center offers detoxification and rehabilitation for anyone with substance abuse problem. Unlike a sterile-constricting hospital setting, our facilities offer a young and edgy vibe that inspires patients to get well.

We may be located in Arizona, but we accept men from all over the country!

Contact us today!

What real clients have to say about Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona
Reflections provided me with the tools that got me where i am today with 14 months sober.
— Ricky A, Long Beach CA
Reflections gave me a life and an opportunity to become part of society. They challenged me and shaped me into the man I want to be.
— Dyer K, Gilbert AZ
I learned how to stay sober, found my best friends and created a new life at Reflections
— David S, Phoenix AZ

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