Most people think of the ‘skid row’ bum when they think of someone who is “Alcoholic”. In fact, most people who are Alcoholic or otherwise chemically dependent, are functional individuals. They are students, housewives, businessmen/women, professionals, active community members, and so on. It is estimated that 75% of Alcoholics are actually high functioning.
What is a High Functioning Addict?
High Functioning Alcoholics/Addicts are people who are, in fact, chemically dependent but who are able to maintain their external life and in some cases at a very high level. They go to work, maintain their obligations with school, community, family etc. Many High Functioning Alcoholics/Addicts are often not viewed by themselves, healthcare professionals and loved ones are being chemically dependent because they are maintaining a (sometimes high) level of success and achievement in their life. They are often suffering silently with the thought in the back of their head that ‘something is wrong with the way I drink or use drugs’. The denial process of the High Functioning Alcoholic/Addict is often compounded by the ‘secondary denial’ of the loved ones and family who falsely confirm for the Addict/Alcoholic that “everything is OK”.
High Functioning Alcoholics/Addicts often blame their excessive use on external situations and circumstances and spend a great deal of time attempting to resolve those issues only to find that they continue to experience problems in their life attributed to drug and/or alcohol use. High Functioning Alcoholics/Addicts can maintain functionality for fairly lengthy periods of time and will make tremendous sacrifices to maintain the ‘image of functionality’ at all costs.
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are progressive conditions, so as the High Functioning Alcoholic/Addict continues to use, there is an eventual downturn into impaired functionality. Research has shown that individuals who arrest their Alcohol/Drug abuse at an earlier age, at a higher level of functionality and with fewer devastating life consequences have better outcomes for maintaining longstanding sobriety, have higher quality of lives in recovery and make quicker accents out of the ‘active addictive process’ when compared to their counterparts.
Reach out for help
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be using alcohol or drugs excessively, reach out today.
At Ayre Counseling, our talented and experienced staff will develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your unique situation. Treatment takes place within a discreet and confidential setting to ensure maximum confidentiality.
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