Signs of a High Functioning Drug Addict in Your Life

signs of a high functioning drug addict, woman in bed looking ill

Signs of a High Functioning Drug Addict in Your Life

By Lakeview Health
Lakeview Health
Author Tony Sartini
Tony Sartini

Tony began his career as the Alumni Coordinator at Stepping Stone Center of Recovery in 2019. But... read more

Published: April 6, 2021

Drug addiction affects people in many different ways. Some will struggle with essential life functions, while others will appear just fine. However, if you suspect that someone you love might be struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it’s important to know the signs—even when they are subtle. This can help you or a loved to identify potential issues early on and not delay assistance. Once you spot these signs, help from an addiction treatment center can drive your recovery.

What is a High Functioning Drug Addict?

A high functioning addict may appear like they don’t have a problem at all. They may abuse alcohol or drugs but go about their day-to-day tasks. Often, they keep a steady job, hold up a romantic relationship and even raise kids. Many also have a large circle of friends who don’t know about their drug use. The sad truth is that many people have this type of addiction. 

This makes recognizing the subtle signs of addiction critical. Though the person using drugs or alcohol may seem fine on the outside, they are damaging their body, mind, and relationships. Therefore, drug rehab is critical for those in this situation.

Signs of a High Functioning Drug Addict

High functioning substance abuse is a dangerous problem. Your loved one may successfully hide their drug use for years. Some may even attempt to get others to use with them. Because of this it’s important to be able to recognize the less obvious signs of addiction, including: 

  • Making excuses – Often, high functioning addicts work hard to excuse their abuse.
  • Using drinking as a rewardIf others notice them consuming of a high volume of drinks and comment on it, an individual suffering from addiction may deny a problem and defend their drinking or using. It’s not uncommon for those suffering with substance use disorder to justify their drinking by saying that they worked hard so they “earned” it, or they are just enjoying their day off.
  • Denial – Some may try to claim that they don’t use drugs at all, in spite of visible signs of abuse.
  • Deteriorating physical appearance – Weight loss or tooth damage can be indicators of heavy drug use.
  • Emotional isolation – High functioning addicts often isolate those who question their drug use.
  • Memory problems – Drug abuse may cause a person to forget things or struggle to make new memories.
  • Financial issues – Even a high functioning addict can run into financial issues related to drug abuse.1

These signs can occur at any point in a person’s life and it’s important that your loved one get help.2 Substance abuse is a problem that only gets worse over time. However, you may find that high functioning addicts fight against treatment. In this situation, you may need outside help.

How to Help Someone Who is Showing Signs of Addiction

Those showing signs of high-functioning addiction know how to hide their addiction well. They may even deny that they have a problem.

Asking for help is usually not part of their vocabulary because they may be accustomed to success and controlling all areas of their life. Accepting that they need help with addiction may be a foreign concept. In many cases, the highest functioning professionals do not seek help until they reach a crisis point, such as facing job loss or deteriorating health. However, their addiction is life-threatening and can destroy all that they love. No matter how high functioning a person may be, drugs can put an end to all of that. Because of this, it’s important to understand the signs of a high functioning drug addict. From there, you can work with them to find a program that’s right for them. There are a range of programs available including ones tailored to professionals and options that address the family unit. Addiction is a family disease and a high functioning drug addict will need their families’ support and assistance so that old patterns do not persist after primary treatment is completed.

In many instances, interventions are an important step in getting your loved one into treatment. Once in treatment, they can get the professional help and care that they need. While your loved one may try to quit cold turkey, this can be dangerous due to symptoms associated with the detox process. In a rehabilitation program, they will be able to complete the detox process under medical supervision to give them the best chance of success. 

Let Us Help You Recover

If you or anyone you know has the signs of a high functioning drug addict, contact Lakeview Health. Call 866.704.7692 to get access to caring treatment from professionals with real experience. We pride ourselves on our trauma care and our medical model of treatment. Holistic care is critical to our procedures, as well. You can get detox, residential care, partial hospitalization, and aftercare. 

 

Footnotes
  1. https://www.tn.gov/behavioral-health/substance-abuse-services/treatment—recovery/treatment—recovery/prescription-for-success/warning-signs-of-drug-abuse.html 
  2. https://www.bot.ca.gov/licensees/sign_symp.pdf