Are High-Functioning Addicts at Risk?

Have you see the show, Nurse Jackie on showtime or the movie Limitless? They touch on the story of a high functioning addict. This topic is being addressed more and more in the media and even various celebrities, like Whoopi  Goldberg are coming out and admitting they were high functioning addicts. The problem with TV shows or movies is just that, they are shows and a far cry from the reality of what it is like to be an addict, let alone a person that seems to have it all together.

 High-functioning addicts are the small percentage of drug users and alcoholics who stillflask in back pocket manage to lead relatively normal lives, or so it seems on the outside. These addicts lead a double life. They have families that they care for, hold good jobs, and are able to maintain the appearance of a “normal” functioning life.  These addicts will still perform all of the duties they are responsible for, things like dropping their children off for school, meeting work deadlines, taking care of family members, and etc. all the while abusing drugs or alcohol whenever they get the chance.

There are high-functioning addicts in all stations of life.  From a grandfather who drops his grandchildren off at their school then rushes to the bar to drink all day before picking them up, to a business executive who abuses cocaine while working in a fast paced job, or even a homemaker who abuses prescription pills or alcohol while going about her day with normalcy, high-functioning addicts are all around us.  Most of them have their behaviors go unknown by the general populous, and people wouldn’t think twice about them having any kind of problem.

High-functioning addicts are no safer than any other type of addict when it comes to the repercussions of their addictions.  In fact, it could be argued that their danger may be even greater than that of other addicts. High functioning addicts perform everyday tasks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, regularly endangering their own lives and the lives of those around them.  These addicts drive cars with their children inside, operate machinery, and perform a slew of other tasks while under the influence of mind altering drugs or alcohol.  This produces a clear danger for everyone involved.

These addicts still suffer the same mind and body destroying effects that non high-functioning addicts suffer; they are just able to maintain the social appearance that they are ok.  Eventually these high-functioning addicts will begin to function less and less efficiently.  They will often have some catastrophic accident occur, like a car crash, being fired or reprimanded at their job for poor performance, or accidentally overdosing.

Just like all other addicts, high-functioning addicts have problems and should be helped before something terrible happens.  Seeking the aid of a professional in this situation is imperative because a high-functioning addict will most likely be unreceptive to the idea of treatment initially.  An experienced intervention specialist can provide the help necessary to get a high-functioning addict into treatment so that they can continue leading successful lives before their addiction ruins the good things they have going for them.

Mike Loverde

With firsthand experience with addiction, Mike Loverde is now a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), as accredited by the Association of Intervention Specialists and the Pennsylvania Certification Board. He founded Family First Intervention in 2008 and has since helped hundreds of families find intervention and addiction rehabilitation solutions.

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