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Signs of a High-Functioning Drug Addict

Signs of a High-Functioning Drug Addict

When you think of a drug addict, common signs of drug abuse like psychosis, relationship problems, and fluctuations in weight might come to mind. TV shows and movies tend to mold our perspective on many subjects, one of them being addiction. These preconceived notions about the world of chemical dependency attempt to lump addicts into one category, but that isn’t the case. Today we’re looking at the common signs of a high-functioning drug addict that can be difficult to recognize. 


What Is a High-Functioning Drug Addict?


A high-functioning addict is someone who is able to complete daily tasks, hold down a job, and keep up with their personal relationships and social life despite having a substance use disorder. These individuals may appear to have no issues with drugs or alcohol because they’re able to keep up with their day-to-day responsibilities.


High-functioning addicts often don’t realize the severity of their addictions or underestimate their drug use because they’re able to get by without treatment (in the meantime). They may appear to be completely fine around others, but in private, they may be unable to control or stop using drugs or drinking excessively.


In most cases, substance abuse takes a huge toll on the individual’s life, but the person may be in denial. However, in cases where the person is high-functioning, they may be able to hide their struggles with drugs or alcohol from their loved ones and coworkers. High-functioning addicts are usually professionals like doctors, lawyers, pilots, and executives who turn to drugs to either help them perform better at work or as a coping mechanism for stress.


These professionals might appear to function at an average level, but privately they’re experiencing a severe, albeit gradual, decline in their work performance. While professionals usually make up this group, anyone with an addiction who’s able to keep up with other areas of their life can be high-functioning.


Common Signs of a High-Functioning Addict


So, what is a high-functioning addict like? Because they’re high-functioning, it can be difficult to recognize the signs of drug or alcohol abuse in people who fall into this group. Toss aside the stereotypical idea of an addict and instead picture someone who can keep up with their obligations at home, work, and in their social life.


Unfortunately, the high-functioning part comes at a hefty price. Because functioning addicts are so good at hiding their tracks and struggles, loved ones don’t become aware of the problem until it’s too late. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of the signs of a high-functioning drug addict so you can help them find the care they need.


Here are some high-functioning drug addict signs to watch out for:


  • They always appear ill in the morning
  • They begin to lose interest in their usual hobbies or activities
  • They drink more than they intend to
  • They use drinking as a reward
  • They use drugs or alcohol to cope
  • Socializing always involves drugs or alcohol
  • They may cancel social engagements if alcohol isn’t involved
  • They have frequent late nights when they are out drinking
  • Their friends also have problems with substance abuse
  • They blackout frequently from excessive drinking
  • They deny they have a problem with drugs or alcohol
  • They’re able to maintain their job and relationships as long as they can drink or use drugs
  • Trying, unsuccessfully, to stop drinking or using drugs
  • They ignore the physical and psychological consequences of drinking or drug abuse


Getting Help for High-Functioning Drug Addiction


If your loved one is showing signs of high-function drug addiction, don’t wait to get help. This person may be years into an addiction you just recently found out about. Long-term substance abuse can take a physical and mental toll that’s best treated by professionals.


Our Stuart, FL rehab offers various levels of care to help people with all types of substance use disorders. We usually start clients’ treatment plans with medically monitored detox to treat their withdrawals, after which they can move on to recovery groups and work with counselors to learn more about their disorders and how to best manage their sobriety after rehab.


No matter how far into addiction you are, our Stuart rehabilitation center can help. Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our Florida addiction treatment services.


Related Reading:


The Signs of a High-Functioning Alcoholic


How to Spot Fake Xanax: Signs to Look Out For

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.