High-Functioning Addiction Is Still Addiction

15 Mar, 2023
high functioning addiction is still addiction 0

High-functioning addiction can be tough to spot for others and the individual with substance use disorder. Because we stereotype what substance abuse looks like, we find it hard to imagine that people can be contributing members of society while still experiencing this disorder. When we see others who pay bills, go to work, and maintain a home and family life, we often assume that everything is fine behind closed doors.

We often ignore our and others’ mental health complications because we compare our lives to those around us. We assume that because everything seems fine on the outside, then it must be. In reality, people on every socioeconomic level are affected by substance use disorder (SUD).

Masking in High-Functioning Addiction

Most of the time, if you’ve lived with high-functioning addiction, you have mastered hiding your SUD from others. As a result, you can go about your daily life without substances making a sizeable negative impact on your daily responsibilities.

Because you can maintain a “normal” lifestyle, you might be in denial about the seriousness of your SUD. When these disorders are left untreated, your physical and psychological well-being can have serious consequences. Due to the hidden nature of this form of SUD, it can be challenging to know the extent of the problem.

Harmful Stereotypes

Societal stereotypes can have extremely detrimental, long-term effects on people with an addiction. Society presents a false image of a person with SUD. Inadvertently, the people who fall outside this image and struggle with SUD end up neglecting their mental health.

If you don’t look or act like the image of addiction you’ve seen, it’s easy to believe you don’t need help. Some people suffer from ‘overfunctioning’ with issues such as Superwoman Syndrome– it’s a real thing! You may not see a reason to seek treatment because you aren’t “that bad.” In reality, the longer you delay treatment, the harder your addiction will be to treat.

What Are the Signs of High-Functioning Addiction?

High-functioning addiction is, unfortunately, easy to miss. The signs can often be misinterpreted as having too much fun on a night out or being stressed from a long day at work. If these signs sound like you, do not hesitate to ask for help. Let’s look at further signs that you may struggle with high-functioning addiction.

Inability to Limit Oneself

Most adults can recall an experience where they drank too much on a night when they said they wouldn’t. However, when it reaches a point where you are unable to control your impulse to use, it may be a sign of a larger problem. Blacking out every time you drink, excessive smoking, and high tolerance when consuming substances can be warning signs of SUD.

You may be high-functioning if you notice that your consumption of drugs and alcohol is gradually increasing. Experiencing blackouts and making out-of-character decisions while intoxicated can indicate you’re high-functioning. This is especially true if you can resume life as usual following these incidents.

Your Social Circle Enables Your Substance Use

Someone who enables tries to take control of your substance use. They might excuse your behaviors associated with your addiction. Whether intentional or not, more often, loved ones try to protect you. However, what they think is in your best interest might harm you.

Many times, high-functioning individuals have enablers in their lives. Enablers could be spouses, children, and friends who may rely on them financially or as caretakers. They don’t want to disrupt this and avoid any questioning regarding their alcohol and drug use. Someone who enables you will allow you to keep using drugs and alcohol while excusing your behavior. They frequently accept the blame and consequences brought on by your addiction.

For instance, a wife and stay-at-home mom who manages several children may encourage her husband to drink if she knows that alcohol helps him manage the stress associated with his job. A wife who allows her husband to consume alcohol may seek the peace of mind needed to feel financially and emotionally secure.

Seeking Help for High-Functioning Addiction

When you recognize that your substance use patterns are problematic, you should ask for help immediately. Seeking help will require diagnosis and treatment options through a facility specializing in SUD.

At Sober Life, we take a whole-person approach. Our diagnosis and treatment plans are crafted by the symptoms you’re experiencing, your family health history, and how often you use them. We strive to peel back the layers of your use and identify any underlying mental health issues. Being in a safe facility that puts your health first will ensure your needs are met. It is vital to overcoming your addiction and getting onto the road to recovery.

Additionally, we are connected. We can refer you to a qualified facility if you need higher-intensity treatments than we offer. You can return to us when you’re ready to step down into a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or intensive outpatient program (IOP). We will support you the whole way through to recovery.

Coming to terms with your addiction is the first step on the road to recovery. If you deal with high-functioning addiction, realizing that things may not be as well put together as they seem can be disorienting and frightening. However, the bright side is that life-changing help is available. Recovery is possible. At Sober Life, we offer a variety of programs to assist you in your recovery journey. We understand that life is hectic, and with our outpatient and virtual outpatient programs, you can get help while maintaining career and familial obligations. Positive change is just around the corner. Call us today at (619) 542-9542 to speak with a staff member about starting treatment. 

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