The stereotypical addict is a homeless person wandering around with a needle in his arm or drinking under the bridge out of a brown paper bag. Some people think typical addicts wander through city streets rambling about the end of days to anyone who will listen. Although there are some unfortunates like this, many addicts have jobs, homes, and families.
High functioning addicts (HFA) are good at hiding their addiction because they can show up for work, show up for events, and maintain a successful career. They do not experience the typical consequences of substance abuse like getting fired, divorced, or other legal consequences.
HFA are not only harder to spot, but it can take longer for them to realize they need help. An example is a lady named Natalia.
Natalia was a successful lawyer with a nine year old son. She completed her work on time, and when her boss gave her more responsibilities, she handled them without incident.
She believed she didn’t have a problem because she made lots of money, got her kid to school on time, fed him, kept him clean, and maintained a successful career.
It wasn’t until her job was threatened, she realized she needed help, but her ego stood in her way. She found it difficult to admit she had a problem because the world was telling her she didn’t. She had a home, a well-dressed kid in school, money in the bank, and respect from her community.
She finally checked into a drug and alcohol treatment center, because she realized that with time, she would eventually lose everything she cared about.
Some common signs of addiction include changes in appetite, bloodshot eyes, showing up late to work, or frequently saying they feel sick in the mornings. They may be deceitful, or tell lies to hide their addiction, or forget important things because of a blackout. Some experience mood swings, loss of interest in things they once enjoyed, and paranoia.
Users may suffer from withdrawal symptoms which include body shakes, tremors, nausea, agitation, and feelings of impending doom. They might not be able to focus on things, complain of headaches, become depressed, or have mood swings.
Those are just a few of some minor withdrawal symptoms, but users who have a longer record of substance abuse will face more serious withdrawal symptoms like seizures, heart attack, strokes, or death.
If you think you have a problem with substance abuse, calling an addiction treatment center for help is a great idea. A staff member can talk to you about your concerns, and set a date for you to receive treatment.