An addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain and body. The Center on Addiction reports approximately 40 million Americans age 12 and older — or roughly one in seven people — are currently dealing with a drug, nicotine, or alcohol addiction. Among these individuals, some may try to hide their addictions from colleagues, family members, and friends, too.
Addiction sometimes causes intense feelings of depression, fear, guilt, and shame, among other emotions. These feelings can be overwhelming to anyone, especially an addict. As a result, they may ultimately lead a person to take steps to try to hide an addiction from his or her loved ones.
Meanwhile, the longer a person hides his or her addiction, the more difficult it may be to overcome this issue. If a person hides his or her addiction for too long, the results could even be fatal.
Is It Possible to Spot Someone Who Is Dealing with an Addiction?
A person who can simultaneously function as he or she normally would day after day and hide an addiction is commonly referred to as a “high-functioning” addict. This individual may perform regular work tasks on schedule, engage with family members and friends, and act as he or she usually does on a daily basis. Yet when he or she is out of sight from others, excessive drug, alcohol, or nicotine use may occur.
The cost of being a high-functioning addict can be substantial. For high-functioning addicts, it may be only a matter of time before their drug, alcohol, or nicotine abuse problems catch up with them. Over time, a high-functioning addict’s body and mind will wear down, leading to myriad health issues. A high-functioning addict will also find it tougher and tougher with each passing day to hide his or her addiction. Worst of all, if an addiction gets out of hand, it may lead to long-lasting harm to a high-functioning addict, as well as his or her colleagues, family members, and friends.
How to Identify a High-Functioning Addict
There is no surefire solution to identify a high-functioning addict every time. However, people sometimes display physical symptoms or behaviors that indicate they may be dealing with an addiction. These physical symptoms and behaviors include:
- Constantly Make Excuses: In certain instances, a person might make excuses for excessive recreational substance use. For example, a high-functioning addict may consume several alcoholic beverages with work colleagues after office hours. This individual may rationalize his or her behaviors as part of an effort to try to “get ahead” in the corporate world.
- Consume Multiple Drinks or Take Multiple Hits: A high-functioning addict may struggle to say “No” when asked to consume alcoholic beverages or take illicit substances. Thus, a high-functioning addict is more inclined than others to consume multiple alcoholic drinks or take multiple drug hits during a social gathering.
- Socialize with Others Who Have Addiction Issues: A high-functioning addict may be more inclined than others to associate with binge drinkers or other addicts. By doing so, a high-functioning addict likely can consume drugs, alcohol, and nicotine without having to worry about what others will think of his or her behaviors.
- Feel Sick in the Morning: If a person regularly wakes up feeling lethargic or dealing with constant headaches, he or she may be struggling with the effects of a hangover or other drug withdrawal symptoms. This individual may also be a high-functioning addict.
- Maintain Little to No Interest in Everyday Activities: An athlete or musician who suddenly stops practicing his or her craft may be in the beginning stages of a substance use addiction. And if this individual’s addiction symptoms are not addressed, they may begin to take over his or her life.
- Experience Sudden Weight Loss: Some drugs cause significant weight loss in a short period of time. For example, heroin addicts often lose weight quickly, and they may appear emaciated and experience an extreme loss of appetite.
- Rest for Prolonged Periods of Time: Opium derivatives are commonly found in heroin and may cause a person to stay asleep for an extended period of time.
- Experience Regular Mood Swings: Mind-altering drugs may cause periods of intense happiness and anger alike. If a person displays sudden mood swings, he or she may be dealing with drug withdrawal symptoms.
If you believe that you or someone you know is a high-functioning addict, it is important to seek professional support right away. That way, you can determine the best course of action to treat a hidden addiction.
What Is the Best Way to Treat a Hidden Addiction?
A hidden addiction can be tough to address for an addict and his or her loved ones. Yet failure to treat this disease may cost an addict his or her life.
At Clear Sky Recovery, we understand the challenges associated with treating a hidden addiction. To address these challenges, we employ experienced clinicians, scientists, psychologists, nurses, and support personnel who are committed to helping patients achieve their desired addiction treatment results. We also offer a broad range of highly effective and affordable addiction treatment programs, all of which are administered in a nurturing, supportive, and safe environment.
Don’t wait to treat a hidden addiction. Contact Clear Sky Recovery today, and we can help you or someone you know address a hidden addiction.