How to Help a “Functioning Addict” Seek Treatment

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How to Help a “Functioning Addict” Seek Treatment

About one-fifth of alcoholics in the U.S. can be classified as the functional type, according to the National Institutes of Health. Being functional can delay addiction treatment, as the person may not exhibit the stereotypical physical, mental, social, employment, and financial or legal issues associated with alcohol, cocaine addiction, or amphetamine addiction.

However, there are a few characteristics that reveal the person may benefit from drug or alcohol rehab.

Traits of a High-Functioning Addict

Reasons to guide one toward alcohol rehab or addiction recovery programs include:

  • Denial: An individual may say they’re in control, don’t drink/use drugs every day, and can hold down a job. They may use substances as a reward for hard work and say alcohol addiction treatment isn’t necessary.
  • Employment: The person’s financial stability supports their use, but the structure of their daily schedule and a sense of identity aside from addiction separates them from the problem.
  • Family support: Family members and friends may take on the person’s responsibilities, make excuses, lie for them, and accept blame for their actions. These individuals in effect become enablers, as may bosses and coworkers who pick up the slack at work.
  • Double life: Able to hide the alcohol/drug use, a person compartmentalizes his or her work life vs. drinking or drug use life. These people may have a high tolerance to alcohol or drugs but be unable to drink or use drugs in moderation or behave appropriately when drunk or impaired. Memory lapses while drinking or using are not uncommon.

Spotting the Problem and Taking Action

Convincing people to seek alcohol detox and alcohol rehab or drug recovery programs is a challenge when they think nothing’s wrong. Recognizing the signs, including cocaine dependence symptoms such as changes in behavior, is how to spot a coke addict. Noticing coke addiction behavior alone isn’t enough. Wonder why is crack addictive? The reason is that it causes chemical changes in the brain; the same reward center in the brain is affected by alcohol consumption, as well.

Addiction intervention is a process focused on educating alcohol or drug users, their family, and their friends. The issue with a “functioning addict” is denial, which often makes the person unwilling to seek drug or alcohol abuse treatment. A structured process, intervention often involves a professional counselor, psychologist, social worker, or dedicated interventionist.

A trained professional should be consulted especially if the person has a history of mental illness, violence, or suicidal behavior. The potential goes beyond detox treatment. More than 90% of people commit to seeking help when an experienced interventionist is involved, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Even if an intervention isn’t immediately successful, a person refusing help initially may ask for it later, as sometimes happens.

couple having a hug

Other ways to help include:

  • Do not accept excuses.
  • Do not be judgmental, aggressive, or angry when confronting the person.
  • Don’t add shame or guilt if they already feel it.
  • Attend therapy sessions with them.
  • Visit alcohol and drug rehab centers together.

The sooner a person sees the consequences of his or her habit, the sooner treatment at drug or alcohol rehabilitation treatment centers can begin. For more information about our alcohol rehabilitation centers in Southern California, call Yellowstone Recovery at 888-418-4188 today!

Sources

  1. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/researchers-identify-alcoholism-subtypes
  2. https://www.ncadd.org/family-friends/there-is-help/intervention-tips-and-guidelines

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