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Can Those Suffering From Addiction Be High-Functioning?

Many of us think of people struggling with addiction as those who are obviously at rock bottom. Several movies and TV shows contribute to this stereotype. However, not all people who battle addiction are the same. In fact, some can be high-functioning.

What Does It Mean If Someone Is Struggling with Addiction And High-Functioning?

Someone who is high-functioning may not show symptoms of addiction, especially if you do not know what signs to look for. These people do not fit the stereotype. Instead, they can hold down jobs, work overtime, maintain full social lives and hide their struggles from loved ones for a while.

Unfortunately, this distinction can make addiction more dangerous. The affected individual becomes so good at hiding their struggles that loved ones are unaware that a problem exists until it is too late. Treatment is just as important for a person who struggles with addiction while being high-functioning.

Signs of Addiction Among High-Functioning Individuals

With some knowledge and understanding, you can identify the signs of high-functioning addiction so you can intervene. Look out for the following indicators:

  1. The person uses a substance more than intended. The individual seems unable to control their usage of the substance. For example, no matter how many times this person promises to have just one drink, they frequently end up having several.
  2. The person loses interest in their hobbies. When your loved one suddenly seems disinterested in their hobbies or passions, this could be a sign of addiction.
  3. The person makes excuses for their behaviors. High-functioning persons may excuse their actions. For example, they may say that their substance use is a reward for success in their career or for their hard work.
  4. The person has friends who struggle with addiction. A high-functioning individual may also have friends who frequently use illegal substances or binge drink. They may also want to socialize only when alcohol or drugs are involved.
  5. The person shows signs of fatigue or sickness. If this person is often lethargic or has frequent headaches, they may be suffering from withdrawal symptoms or hangovers. To excuse these symptoms, they may claim to simply not be a morning person.
  6. The person uses their ability to function as a defense. If you have brought up your concerns to your loved one, they may point out their ability to function as a way to refute your concerns of addiction. They may not realize the extent of their problem.

Do Those With High-Functioning Addictions Have a Common Trait?

The common trait among people who are high functioning while struggling with addiction is their ability to seemingly continue going about everyday tasks as they normally do. While every addiction is unique, many people suffering from addiction are well-educated, have supportive families, hold down a job, are in denial and can hide their addictions for a long time.

Overcoming the Risks of High-Functioning Addiction

Because people who are high functioning while struggling with addiction can often hide their condition, they can be at a greater risk of not getting the help they need. If you believe you or a loved one may be battling addiction, contact us at Gateway Foundation to learn more.

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