Am I a Functional Addict?
· Slipping into Functional Addiction ·
No one plans or aspires to be an addict.
And yet – addiction can happen to successful, well-educated individuals at the top of their fields or professions.
‘Smart drug’, casual or occasional drug use to help with project completion – or to deal with 70+ hour work weeks – can all too easily slip into addiction.
Like functional alcoholics – there are no outward signs (at first) of addiction.
12 Signs of Functional Addiction
- No Apparent Side Effects – Functional Addicts, in the beginning, can limit their consumption of addictive substances to specific projects and limited time periods.
- Total Denial: Become angry and/or defensive if confronted with their unexplained ‘double life’ behavior – questioning if drugs are a factor can provoke instant rage.
- Over time, ‘smart drug’ users can drift into use of methamphetamine and opioid use. Periods of methamphetamine use are often followed by opioid use in order to calm down and sleep.
- The drug use ‘up and down’ cycle gradually becomes a daily activity.
- Isolation may increasingly become a lifestyle choice.
- Good explanations for why they rely on drugs: work stress, home or relationship problems.
- Drug use is often perceived as an ‘entitlement’ for hard work.
- Drug use can spike during work projects and after project completion – as a ‘reward’ for hard work.
- Manipulative to support continued drug consumption – Significant others may experience gas-lighting, stonewalling and other manipulative techniques; as well as emotional abuse.
- DUI or other legal problems; bankruptcy caused by financial mismanagement.
- High Functioning Addicts are often found in high paying and high stress professions – including medical professionals, doctors, attorneys, airline pilots, tech workers, the entertainment industry and more.
- Functional addicts are often self medicating for depression, performance anxiety, PTSD or other mental issue – these individuals will need integrated dual diagnosis treatment for the best results of life-changing and successful recovery.
The Functionally Addicted Rarely Recognize Their Drug Abuse
High-Functioning Addicts slip gradually into drug use for various reasons.
And then, over time they progress into heavier drug use. Functional addicts are at a high risk for accidental overdose, risky behaviors or total career meltdowns. Self harm due to the strain of leading a ‘double life’ is also a possibility.
The functionally addicted rarely admit their level of drug use – even to themselves. There is immense denial. But as time goes on – their heart, liver or kidneys will begin to break down or fail.
Job performance eventually declines and DUI or financial issues can cause ‘hitting rock bottom.’
Professional Intervention Saves Lives and Careers
The best time to get help is before a career tailspin, an auto accident or a financial disaster.
Functional Addicts are not the stereotypical down and out drug user. They go to work and often have well-respected professional careers. They can be married with children and have active social lives.
However, functional addicts and alcoholics experience the full spectrum of addictive behaviors and negative impacts. Often, partners experience emotional abuse. Any children involved will experience negative impact and trauma. A functional addict parent may not physically neglect or abuse their child – but emotional neglect can occur and leave significant scars.
Professional intervention can get patients into treatment and save lives.
Professionals as Functional Addicts
Functional addicts and alcoholics can be found working in Silicon Valley. Medical professionals, doctors, attorneys, pilots, first responders, entertainers and more can be functional addicts or alcoholics.
No one would ever guess by looking that these individuals are actually struggling with substance use disorder.
SAMHSA estimates in a 2014 study that 1 out of 9 individuals had both an alcohol use disorder and a substance use disorder.
According to the Surgeon Generals 2016 Report Facing Addiction in America – one in seven people in the United States is expected to develop a substance use disorder at some point.
But as of now, only one in 10 will receive treatment.
A WISE Retreat provides very affordable, highly specialized dual diagnosis treatment. We have a small rehab center for men with limited admissions for a few select individuals.
Our local Northern California service area includes San Francisco, Bay Area, East Bay, Concord, Benicia, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, San Mateo, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Silicon Valley, Menlo Park and San Jose.
Mind, Body and Spirit.
• Our resident to staff ratio is ideal for recovery.
• Our team of professional addiction specialists and staff members treat the whole person.
• We utilize the best evidence-based methodologies available.
• Our staff are some of the most compassionate, highly skilled recovery professionals located on the West Coast.
Photo Copyright: Katarzyna Białasiewicz
Photo Copyright: Pattanaphong Khaunkaew