Are you able to get through the day, make your boss happy at work, and meet your obligations at home even though you’re using drugs and alcohol regularly? You may have money in the bank and feel as though you’re doing okay as a parent. Or maybe you hope you’re pulling off these successes, but deep down you’re worried every day about falling apart. If so, you could be a high-functioning addict.
What Is a High-Functioning Addict?
A person with this label may also be called a functional drug addict. That means that he or she is using drugs but is able to walk through life seemingly untouched. How can a person with an addiction actually be able to function? How can they take care of their family and work through office politics?
According to Medical News Today, addiction is a disease that results in compulsive behavior to use a substance or engage in an activity even though it causes the user harm. An addicted person is physically and psychologically dependent on the substance. However, someone can be dependent on a substance without being addicted to it (although addiction is usually imminent with continued use). The difference between dependence and addiction may help explain why some people are able to use substances without apparent consequences.
What Is the Difference Between Dependence and Addiction?
Dependency occurs when a person becomes physically dependent on the drug to function. Someone who is physically dependent on a substance has developed a tolerance to it, meaning that they must continually increase their dosage to feel the same effects. Dependence is also evident when discontinuing the substance causes withdrawal symptoms (pain, irritability, etc.).
Addiction begins when dependence begins to have behavioral effects. Someone who is addicted engages in compulsive drug use even though they recognize that there are consequences of doing so. They are unable to stop using, and substance use becomes their main priority.
It is possible to be dependent on a substance and still be able to focus on the tasks at hand and accomplish goals. However, someone who is dependent is on shaky ground. By the time physical dependence occurs, addiction is just around the corner.
How Do You Know If You Are a High-Functioning Addict?
People who are addicted, no matter how well they are able to function, recognize that their lives are just a few drugs or drinks away from crashing. Take a look at some of the most common signs that you (or a loved one) could be a high-functioning addict:
- You are working. You have an income. You may even have a good marriage. However, you work hard to conceal your drug or alcohol use. This effort takes a toll. It requires constant vigilance.
- You have the ability to restrict your drug use to some degree. This can make you think that you don’t have a problem. However, you may still be addicted.
- You make mistakes from time to time. You forget responsibilities. You may work hard to find ways to cover up those mistakes or make excuses for yourself.
- You work hard to keep relationships going, often through lies and cover-ups. It’s exhausting to remember everything you’ve told others.
High-functioning addicts need help. Most of the time, they need it badly but have no idea how to get it. You don’t want to tarnish your image, but at the same time, you may be unsure how long you can hold it together. This is when it is time to consider an outpatient or residential treatment center.
What Can a High-Functioning Addict Do to Get Help?
If you’re struggling to keep everything together while maintaining your substance use, reach out to our team at DK Solutions Group for one-on-one support. The confidential care we provide can give you hope to stop relying on drugs, alcohol, and lies to get through the day. You are not alone in this battle. Let our team help you.