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.