So what is a high-functioning addict and how can you spot one?
The stereotype of addicts and alcoholics often involves images of people who are homeless, destitute, and filthy looking—in short, a mess. Addicts are almost always depicted this way in the media. They are mostly associated with crime and poverty. However, not all addicts look similarly like this. In fact, most of them don’t look the same at all.
Some addicts, accounting to half of them, have a stable job, a family, clean clothes, and a social life. They basically look like everyone else. Some are even successful in their career and respected in their community. Called high-functioning addicts, they are able to hide their drug and alcohol use from other people, especially their family.
Unraveling the Veil Behind the High Functioning Addict
High functioning addicts are those individuals who appear to have a productive, secure, and even ideal, life. But when you are addicted to substance or activity (such as drugs, alcohol, gambling and pornography, to name a few), all this is just on the outside. The high functioning addict is, in fact, living a double life. One is the outside life of normalcy, order and even success; the other is that of finding an escape or submitting to the compulsion of drugs and other addictions.
However, as with addiction in general, these people will sooner or later find their life falling apart, as if imploding from the inside. This is because high-functioning addicts have to maintain an act and this act cannot stand up for too long. It oftentimes the end is dramatic, tragic, and all too unpleasant overall
The Danger Behind Closed Doors
For those who are able to seamlessly intertwine their addiction with their productive life and are able to manage looking okay and accomplished, seeking help for them would be hard. Compared to those who are already explicitly experiencing the negative effects of addiction, those who fit the stereotype, one would think that high functioning addicts do not need help at all. The most successful ones may even tend to also feel a sense of entitlement to their addiction.
These high-functioning addicts may feel a sense of achievement that they were able to float along through life despite their addiction. At times, the ability to manage through the daily demands of their life and responsibilities can even become justification for their addiction. In denial of their problem, they would even continue doing what they do, despite admonitions from close family and friends who know of their addiction.
This thinking and behavior results to further abuse, without a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. This is a dangerous equation. Proud and in denial, they may turn against their family, relatives and friends. Meanwhile, they blindly live their lives downhill until they lose it all.
Reality Check on High-Functioning Addict
High functioning addicts have a false sense of their addiction, their situation, and their life. If you or someone you know is a high-functioning addict, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you live a ‘double life’ of productivity and substance abuse?
- Do you keep your habits (drinking or drug use) a secret from your family and friends?
- Do you make excuses and justifications for yourself and your habit?
- Are you minimizing your drinking or drug use from other people?
- Do you find yourself getting angry and defensive when people point out your habit?
- Do you feel like you have to drink or use so you can work or socialize better?
- Can you see yourself not having to drink or use drugs?
If you have answered ‘Yes’ to the questions above, then you may have to acknowledge that there is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. Don’t wait for the moment when you hit ‘bottom’ and lose everything, and even end up harming yourself. You can definitely seek help NOW.
If you need help for your spouse or partner, or needing support, talk to our Rehabilitation Specialists now:
622-0193 / (0915) 6452703 / (0917) 5098826