High Functioning Addict - What it is and Signs to Look For

When most people think of addiction, they imagine someone who has lost their family, job, and is living with legal issues. They may even imagine someone living on the streets who’s homeless. But, not everyone who is living with addiction experiences these devastating consequences – at least not right away. There are plenty of people who put on a front like addiction doesn’t affect them and still have relatively productive lives. A person who is living with addiction that can also manage day-to-day responsibilities and may be dodging the severe consequences of addiction is called a “high functioning addict”. But, how can one know if they or a loved one is a high functioning addict?

What is a High Functioning Addict?

A person who is described as a high functioning addict is someone who has developed a dependency on an addictive substance but also hasn’t experienced the consequences of typical addiction. Some of these consequences can include loss of job or family, legal issues, and neglecting personal responsibilities or relationships. A person who is a high functioning drug addict may:

  • drink alcohol or use addictive substances in higher quantities than necessary to feel wanted effects
  • go to work or school but still not meet all deadlines
  • stop doing things like past passions/hobbies
  • experience withdrawal effects when not using drugs or alcohol
  • have issues within personal relationships
  • experience cravings for drugs or alcohol
  • have a high tolerance for drugs or alcohol
  • attempt to stop using drugs or alcohol but fail to do so
  • abuse drugs or alcohol even at the expense of others or themselves
  • spend lots of time trying to get or use addictive substances

Signs That You May be a High Functioning Addict

If you find that you are experiencing some of the symptoms above and are wondering, “am I a high functioning addict?”, there are some signs and symptoms you can look out for. Some of the signs of a high functioning addict can include:

  • experiencing mental, physical, or behavioral health problems
  • finding that you’re doing more poorly in work or school
  • can’t keep up with personal responsibilities
  • having trouble maintaining healthy relationships
  • experiencing financial or legal trouble

If I’m a High Functioning Addict, Do I Still Need Help?

People who are high functioning addicts may think that because they can still relatively keep up with personal and financial responsibilities, they may not need help with overcoming addiction. However, addiction still takes a toll on health, relationships, and all other aspects of a person’s life. So, while a highfunctioning addict may seem to have it all together currently, that may not be the case in the future. Having the consequences of addiction not keep up with you now doesn’t mean that they’ll stay away forever.

So, yes, people who are high functioning as an addict can still get help before the consequences of addiction take hold and severely affect their lives. Outpatient addiction treatment can help people who are highly functioning as addicts to learn coping skills and utilize helpful therapies while still taking care of their personal responsibilities at home and work/school. This way, these individuals can get the help they need on their own time and without leaving their responsibilities.

Delray Center for Healing offers outpatient treatments and therapy programs for people living with addiction, for example, high functioning addicts. Find out more about our services and our programs from our website to learn more about how we can help.