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Seeing Your Functional Addiction Through Someone Else’s Eyes

While a functioning addict may never recognize the problem he has with drugs or alcohol, close friends and family members can see the signs

Many people believe that alcoholics and drug addicts fit into stereotypical categories, but many alcoholics are high functioning, because they can keep successful careers and hide their drug abuse from their friends and family members. In fact, Dr. David Sack, a well known addiction specialist and mental health expert, explains that many addicts and alcoholics are high functioning business executives, surgeons in operating rooms, successful professionals and hardworking stay-at-home moms. In other words, functioning addicts can hide their substance abuse from Anchorage friends, partners and family members for years without anyone finding out.

However, in an article on Psych Central, Dr. Sack discusses five ways Anchorage residents can recognize functional addicts. He explains that denial is a major obstacle for these addicts, as they doubt they have a drug problem since they can function well. Furthermore, denial is often reinforced in functioning addicts, because their friends and family members also doubt that a problem exists. Ergo, the best way for functioning addicts to recognize their problem is to look at their behavior from someone else’s perspective.

How Friends and Family Members View Functional Addiction

While a functioning addict may never recognize the problem she has with drugs or alcohol, her close friends and family members can nevertheless see the signs of addiction. Overtime, addictive behavior will affect an Anchorage drug addict’s friends and family, perhaps through financial loss or relational strain. When a functioning addict sees the outside perspective of a friend or family member—when she looks closely at her behavior and how it affects others—then she may recognize her problem. While a functioning addict may not view binge drinking, excessive expenditures on alcohol or drugs or secretive drug use as problematic, her friend or family member probably will.

Pretend a Loved One Struggles with Functional Addiction

To overcome denial, a functioning addict could view his behavior as if an Anchorage loved one were engaging in it. For example, if a father transfers his addictive behavior to one of his children, he would likely have a different opinion of the behavior; if the child binge drank, spent a lot of money on drugs or alcohol and used drugs in secret, the father would likely disapprove and want to curtail those problems. This view may help a functioning addict overcome denial and see the need for professional treatment.

Share Problems in Group Therapy

Functioning addicts who deny their problem can benefit from 12-Step support groups. Even if such addicts doubt they have a problem, they can gain a knowledgeable, outside perspective of their behavior by simply discussing their issues in a group. The group leader, along with the other members, can explore how the behavior is addictive despite the speaker’s functioning at a higher capacity than typical addicts.

Talk to a Professional Addiction Therapist

Addiction therapists are specifically trained to recognize and address addiction. Your therapist can provide professional insight into how drug abuse causes problems in different areas of life, even problems a functioning addict may be unaware of. In other words, Anchorage drug addicts can get and stay clean from addiction if they have the right help.

Functional addictions can last for years without others knowing about it, which increases the risk of severe health problems. Addiction is a progressive disease that will cause more physical, mental, emotional problems the longer it continues, so functioning addicts risk severe consequences the longer they deny their drug or alcohol abuse. Seeing a functional addiction through someone else’s eyes is essential to overcome denial; only then can an Anchorage drug user get help to begin recovery.

Find Treatment for Functional Drug Addicts in Anchorage

Many types of addiction treatment can help functioning addicts recognize their problem, and many others can teach users how to live without drugs and alcohol. Professional treatment in a residential rehab facility provides some of the best chances of recovery, so reach out to such a center to get and stay clean.

If you or an Anchorage loved one struggles with alcohol or drug addiction, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day to help you find the treatment that will work for you. Do not let the facade of functional addiction keep you from recovery—get help now by calling us today.