When some people think of the typical “addict” in their heads, they visualize people at absolute rock bottom. And while it’s true that addiction can lead to this situation in many cases, not all those who struggle with addiction reach this point – and on the other end of the spectrum are high-functioning people who, despite their activity levels and often giving off the impression of an orderly life, are actively struggling with addiction.
At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we’re here to offer caring drug and alcohol recovery programs around Boise, Washington and Oregon, and our programs are open to anyone managing addiction issues. Here are some basics on how addiction often works for high-functioning people, plus some of the telltale signs that a high-functioning person in your life may be dealing with addiction – signs that are often very different from other addiction cases.
How Addiction Works in High-Functioning Individuals
When it comes to high-functioning individuals, addiction can be tricky. Many people who are considered high-functioning may not fit the typical stereotype of someone struggling with addiction – they may have stable jobs, maintain a clean appearance, and seem to have their life together on the surface. However, on the inside, they may be battling substance abuse and addiction just like anyone else.
Sadly, this can make addiction both more dangerous and more difficult to spot in high-functioning individuals. Often, these individuals have built up a facade that they are able to maintain and hide their addiction from others – sometimes even themselves.
That said, there will still often be signs given off even by high-functioning individuals that addiction could be impacting their lives. Our next several sections will go over many of the most common.
Lost Interest in Hobbies
One result of addiction that’s often consistent among high-functioning people and many others is a loss of interest in activities that once brought joy and fulfillment. Even if these individuals are able to keep up appearances in other aspects of their lives, they may begin to neglect hobbies or passions that were previously important to them.
For example, someone who used to enjoy playing a sport or instrument may no longer have the drive or motivation to engage in these activities – they may instead be spending their time obtaining and using substances, which are now their top priority. Even if friends or loved ones don’t actively see them doing this, due to their ability to hide it from others, this type of behavior can still be a sign that addiction is present.
Isolation from Others
Another common sign given off by high-functioning individuals dealing with addiction is increased isolation from others. Again, because these individuals are able to maintain a facade of normalcy in many cases, it may not always be noticeable to loved ones just how much time they’re spending alone. However, they may begin to withdraw from social events or outings, preferring to spend their time using substances instead.
This can be a dangerous cycle for high-functioning individuals struggling with addiction because it can lead to further isolation and loneliness, which can exacerbate substance abuse issues. If you notice that a loved one has become increasingly isolated or withdrawn, it may be cause for concern and a sign to seek professional help.
In many cases, high-functioning individuals dealing with addiction will have a plethora of excuses for their behavior. They may be constantly making excuses for why they seem tired or unwell, why they can’t attend events or fulfill responsibilities, or why money is tight. While everyone has legitimate reasons from time to time, frequent and seemingly unreasonable excuses can be a red flag that something more serious – like addiction – is at play.
More Friends With Addiction
Another area to pay attention to is who high-functioning individuals are spending their time with. If they have a large group of friends who also struggle with addiction, this may not only be a sign that they themselves are dealing with the same issue, but could also mean that the social circle is enabling and potentially worsening the problem.
Fatigued or Sick Too Often
If you’ve begun to notice that someone who is normally high-functioning and full of energy has suddenly become fatigued or sick more often, this could also be cause for concern. Substance abuse can take a toll on the body and immune system, leading to frequent sickness or tiredness. If you’re noticing these changes in someone you know, it may be worth having a conversation with them about their substance use and potentially seeking help.
“But I’m Functioning Just Fine”
Finally, many high-functioning people who are confronted about their addiction may try to downplay it or dismiss it entirely. They may argue that they are managing just fine and don’t need help, even if there are clear signs that suggest otherwise. It’s important for loved ones to remember that even high-functioning individuals can struggle with addiction and may need support and treatment just like anyone else.
Overall, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs and behaviors that high-functioning individuals may exhibit when dealing with addiction. Don’t let their ability to maintain a facade fool you – if you suspect someone in your life is struggling, it’s worth reaching out and offering support. At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we’re here to help high-functioning individuals break free from the cycle of addiction and achieve long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn about our addiction recovery programs around Boise, Washington and Oregon.