Professional Functioning Addict

In July 21, 2018

Professional Functioning Addict

The stereotype of an addict is often of someone who can’t hold a job or whose life seems to be in shambles. The reality is that there are many addicts who can be considered “high functioning addict” meaning that they perform well at work and can handle many aspects of their lives fairly well in spite of their addiction. However, a professional functioning addict can still suffer and be negatively affected by their substance.

People who are high functioning addicts become very adept at hiding their substance abuse and can remain in deep denial for a long time. Since they are able to keep up an appearance of being well-adjusted and can perform their work tasks easily they might not believe that they have an addiction problem. However, in many cases a high functioning addict’s problem can be exposed by some sort of crisis that occurs such as a DUI, medical emergency or some issue that eventually comes up at work.

An addict can’t maintain their behavior and habits forever without it affecting them in some way or without others eventually finding out. Even a high functioning addict will hit their own personal rock bottom even though they might not lose their job. When this happens they may finally be able to admit to others that they need help for their substance abuse.

Successful people may find it hard to accept that they have a problem that they can’t control but it can be stressful to always hide. As they learn to open up about their addiction they may actually find it is a relief to finally talk about what they have been going through. Twelve step groups and rehab treatment programs are safe, anonymous places where they can discuss their addiction without worrying about it affecting their career.

By Dr. Reuben Vaisman-Tzachor

Primary Therapist