The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. It is characterized by excessive consumption of the addictive substance or engagement in addictive behaviors.
Everybody has had some sort of addiction in their lives. Some are more serious than others. The difference between high-functioning and low-functioning addictions is that the addict affects all aspects of modern society – including work and relationships with friends and family members – to feed their addiction. While the addict may be able to function in society, they will not be socializing and taking care of themselves.
They will not be staying healthy or keeping up with their responsibilities. They may lose those relationships because they are too preoccupied with their problem to attend to them. When talking about the addictive nature of substances, it is easy to talk about alcohol and drugs as the main culprits. However, other addictions are essentially just as detrimental as those two. Here are factors that determine if you can be a high-functioning addict.
How much time do you spend on your addiction?
When you think of an addict, you most likely have the picture of a person spending every waking moment going after their drug of choice. That is not necessarily the case for all addictions. For example, an average work day consists of 8 hours a person spends at their place of employment. So, if an addict spends half of their work day on their addiction, they would be considered to have a high function based on that number.
How many responsibilities do you have?
The more responsibilities you have under your belt, the more likely you will be able to cope with your addiction. Suppose you are a parent with children and responsibilities at home. In that case, you will be able to prioritize your family over other aspects of your life because when there is a crisis at home, it is what truly matters to you. The same goes for being a student. You can manage your other responsibilities if you are in school and completing homework assignments.
How many relationships do you have?
The more relationships you have, the more trouble keeping them will pose for you. Having so many people in your life that you need to be responsible for makes it difficult to focus on yourself and your addiction. It will be very difficult for high-functioning addict to keep their friends and family members happy because of the time they lose pursuing their addiction.
How important is your addiction?
Sometimes people will find themselves going after something that they are not that important in their lives. This can be because they do not have anyone to go home to and want something to fill a void or because it is merely something that interests them. In either situation, the person will not be as preoccupied with it, making it easier for them to act normal and avoid suspicion. Finding out if your addiction is so important that you will be willing to neglect all else to pursue it further is important.
How severely is your addiction impacting you?
When we think of addicts, we think of them being totally consumed by their addiction. They cannot function without it and live their lives in a haze. In reality, most addicts are functional members of society but do not cope well. This is because the addiction has taken over, and they have lost sight of what truly matters to them. It is important to find out how badly your addiction is impacting your life and how you feel to determine if it will be manageable.
How good are you at hiding your addiction?
Perhaps you are the high-functioning addict who has managed to hide that fact from your friends and family. If this is the case, it will be very difficult for them to notice that you have an addiction because they will not know anything about it. There can be situations where you can hide it well, such as in a relationship. If this is an issue, do not get too excited, as chances are you will be caught and outed. Are you a high-functioning addict? If so, it is important to seek help through various means, such as support groups and therapy. We offer these options to you if you are looking for help in dealing with any addiction. However, sometimes the only way to overcome your addiction problem is through a serious intervention. This can be a very powerful tool because it will show others how serious your addiction has become.