The dangers of substance abuse are real and present regardless of how well an individual manages his or her personal and professional responsibilities. Your ability to continue paying bills, going to work on time, and dealing with the general demands of life may make your substance abuse difficult to recognize. This is known as being a high-functioning addict.
Drug and alcohol addiction continue to exact a dangerous toll on a person’s mental and physical well-being despite this person’s normal-seeming lifestyle. Although the signs of addiction aren’t as easy to spot, the consequences of continued substance abuse still exist. In fact, many of the most severe consequences are often looming just around the corner. One of the biggest dangers in being a high-functioning addict is the fact that addiction is always progressive in nature.
No matter what your substance of choice may be, your body will gradually build up its tolerance. Over time, what you deem as acceptable use could quickly spiral out of control. Moreover, although it will eventually take more drugs or alcohol to help you achieve the feelings of relaxation, euphoria, or confidence that you seek, increased tolerance does not mean that your body can handle increased use indefinitely.
It’s Not Possible To Maintain The Facade Forever
In most instances, high-functioning addicts are only fooling themselves. While it may be possible to continue going to work, paying bills, and meeting the needs of all the people you’re responsible for, those closest to you will invariably start to notice tell-tale differences in your behavior, your performance, and the overall quality of your output. It is virtually impossible to maintain the outward facade forever. The stress, pressure, and general wear and tear that addiction causes will gradually begin to reveal itself in various ways.
Even in freshly pressed clothes and with their bills paid on time, those struggling with substance abuse frequently look tired, depressed, and overwhelmed by their lifestyles. They have less time to spend with their loved ones, and much of the time that they do spend with others is filled with either thought of using or fear of being caught. Whether they’re willing to admit it to themselves or not, many high-functioning addicts are only able to stay on top of their jobs, their bills, and their familial responsibilities due to the efforts of those around them.
People who continue functioning despite their growing addictions are frequently surrounded by enablers. These are family members, friends, and even co-workers who make excuses for those dealing with substance abuse, and who regularly pick up the slack when the actions or behaviors of high-functioning addicts fall short of expectations. Enablers generally extend this assistance with the best of intentions. However, their efforts to help can actually keep addicts from recognizing their problems and seeking professional treatment. Among some of the signs of drug or alcohol addiction that a high-functioning addict might exhibit are:
- A tendency to make excuses for shortcomings and unacceptable behaviors
- A loss of interest in self-development, self-care, hobbies, and social relationships
- Frequently drinking more or doing more drugs than intended
- Morning-after illness or low energy
Although high-functioning addicts can maintain their jobs, these individuals are often late and routinely call in sick. They may forget to take care of important tasks, overlook things at work, or simply fail to maintain an adequate work pace. Addiction causes problems with focusing, mood balance, and temper control. Sadly, as the addiction progresses, many people find themselves doing the bare minimum for barely getting by.
A number of these same individuals also recognize the decline in their performance and all-around life qualities, and yet, they can still have a hard time associating this decline with their substance abuse. Denial is a common issue among people who can maintain the appearance of normalcy given that their ability to continue showing up serves as proof that they are ultimately all right. If honest with themselves, many high-functioning addicts would attribute their ability to maintain pace with everyday life to sheer luck. For instance, although you might not have a history of arrest for driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, your next drive could lead to serious legal troubles.
While your physical health may seem good today, a major issue resulting from substance abuse could lie in the near future. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction despite maintaining the appearance of normalcy, we can help. Call us today at 833-610-1174.