Often alcohol, pills, marijuana, coke and other drugs are abused by people, generally every day, who manage to keep their employment and family intact. In fact, some of these people appear to be doing very well. These individuals are called high functioning addicts. Privately, however, they struggle with the disease of drug or alcohol addiction.
It may be hard to recognize but some of the signs of a high functioning addict are:
- Drinking or using more of the drug than intended
- Being preoccupied with drinking or using drugs
- Making plans for the next drink or drug ingestion
- Not being able to remember what occurred because of blackouts
- Behaving differently when under the influence
- Denying a problem exists
- Refusing to get assistance for an addiction
- Making excuses to drink or use drugs (to relieve stress, for example)
- Being unsuccessful with limiting drug use
- Sneaking drugs
- Ignoring or rationalizing the physical or psychological consequences of alcohol and drug use
- Failing to meet family obligations
The Hardest to Help
If a high-functioning addict is an executive, professional, celebrity or a person living a high-profile life, s/he is often the hardest to help. They may not have a traditional boss. They work under a lot of stress and tend to use drugs or alcohol as a reward for their hard work. A better than average income can shield them from financial consequences of their drug use.
Though real consequences exist in the form of financial loss, imprisonment, overdose/bad batch and serious health consequences such as damage to the liver, lungs and brain cells, high functioning addicts might view treatment for their addiction as sign of weakness. They might feel they are capable of treating their problem themselves. Often they live double lives—a successful executive by day and an addict by night. Because the high-functioning addict does not look like the stereotypical image of a drug abuser, friends and family often refuse to acknowledge or confront the problem. However, the secrets of their lives must be addressed so they can return to healthy functioning.
What makes it tougher to get help is, even if the high-functioning addict acknowledges they have a problem, they do not tend to seek drug treatment. They may think they are too valuable at work to spend time in rehab and sometimes use that as an excuse for not getting treatment for their addiction. They might also fear the stigma which might damage their reputation in the community.
Families can play a crucial role in getting the high functioning addict into treatment. The first step is to contact a professional interventionist or addiction specialist. That individual can assist the addict to recognize the extent of their drug problem and get them into a program that meets their needs.
If your loved one is a high functioning addict, contact Recovery First now for an immediate, confidential consultation. The health problems of an alcoholic, for example, can be undetectable until it is too late for them. Call us today for the help you need.