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Seeing Your Functional Addiction Through Someone Else’s Eyes

Seeing Your Functional Addiction Through Someone Else’s Eyes

The signs and symptoms of addiction cannot be hidden for long

It is common for a functional addict to believe that he is successfully hiding his addiction from others since he is able to still function at work and home, in spite of his addiction; but there are always signs of addiction that show through. Even when a person is handling his responsibilities at work and maintaining relationships, the small things (that eventually become big things) are far more noticeable by others. People do catch on to the slip-ups and behavioral changes that occur with addiction, and over time, it becomes easier to identify signs of substance abuse and addiction. So while an addict may feel like he’s smooth sailing, in the eyes of another, he may view himself from an entirely different perspective.

How Others View Your Functional Addiction

In a 2007 article published by the Huffington Post, nearly 4 million Americans were categorized as functioning addicts during a study done by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Addiction is what takes place when a person continues to use a substance or engage in an activity in a compulsive manner that interferes with everyday life roles and responsibilities, according to Psychology Today. High-functioning addicts may be able to hold down a job, marriage or other relationships, but as time goes on, their compulsive need to partake in substance use or engage in a particular activity will interfere with their normal life behaviors.

An addict should consider how distracted his addiction keeps him. If he is not able to use, he can be irritable, distracted and experience drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms that prevent him from focusing on conversations and work tasks. Family, friends and coworkers will soon take notice of an addict’s mood changes; e.g. when dad is in a much better mood after having a drink after work, or when a friend can’t seem to enjoy an evening or conversation until she has used or engaged in a particular behavior.

Time is very telling with addiction. The people who are around an addict the most will detect how an addict’s behavior and mood changes. Over time, it becomes harder for addicts to juggle their numerous life roles. Others will pick up on absences, tardiness and forgetfulness, poor work performance, frazzled and distracted behavior and more.

Another tell-tale sign of functional addiction is the increasingly inability to cope with stress. A functional addict generally has several excuses and lies to support his double life, if he is hiding an addiction. Keeping up with these lies and having to justify or make-up for errors and forgetfulness is overwhelming. The stress of juggling so many roles can make an addict irritable, anxious and even angry.

Friends and family do notice all the occasions where a loved one seems to drink, smoke or spend more money than they intended. They will notice how many times an addict makes promises and breaks them, especially if it entails failed promises to cut back or quit using. Loved ones will certainly develop concerns when an addict’s physical, mental and emotional health begins to change, as this is inevitable with addiction. There as so many signs and symptoms of addiction that it is nearly impossible for others not to notice that something is off. The concerns and questions of loved ones should not be ignored as they are some of the best indicators that a habitual activity has become problematic.

Signs That You Are a Functional Addict

According to Recovery Connection, some common signs of functional addiction Louisville residents can look out for include the following:

  • Denial: The addict is quick to defend and justify her behavior. She is not willing to listen to concerns raised by loved ones and adamant that a problem is nonexistent rather than consider the possibility that she may have a problem.
  • Changes in health: An unexplained deterioration of physical health, weight gain or loss, lack of personal hygiene or deteriorating physical appearance.
  • Irregular behavior: Unexplained change in attitude or personality, mood swings, cognitive issues such as inability to concentrate, risky or reckless behavior, secretive behavior, and drop in productivity and performance at work and home.
  • Lack of concern: Gradually not caring about what others think, even close friends and family members. The people and activities that interfere with the addict’s ability to use are often pushed away as the addict begins to prioritize the addiction over other relationships and interests.
  • Excuses: A functioning addict tends to have an excuse for everything – where the money went, why they were late, why they were so irritable, etc. Eventually, the excuses will not add up.
  • A double life: Keeping an addiction hidden is not easy, especially for functional addicts who attempt to remain productive at work and home. The need to separate their two lifestyles becomes harder and harder, and the sheer need to hide a behavior or activity from others should indicate that the activity or behavior is not healthy.

So You’re a Functional Addict. What Now?

Perhaps friends, family or co-workers have initiated your concerns about your addiction. Maybe you have done a little research and answered a few questions about whether your behavior qualifies for addictive behavior. Or maybe, you just have a gut feeling that your drug or alcohol use is no longer in your best interest. If you are looking for more information about functional addiction, treatment options and recovery, you’ve come to the right place. Our toll-free helpline is operated 24 hours a day by recovery professionals who are read to assist you with your questions, concerns and needed information. If you decide you are ready for treatment, we can help find and connect you with the professional services that are right for your unique needs.

No matter what, please understand that functional addiction is not “okay.” Addiction is a disease, and even though you may feel like your life is currently manageable, the disease will progress before you and your loved one’s eyes. If you have the chance to end addiction before hitting rock bottom, you should take it. We’re here to help, however we can. Call and speak with a recovery professional today.

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