In many cases you would never know that the person sitting next to you at little league, working on your teeth, or doing your taxes, is battling substance abuse. People who get by living a productive life while addicted to substances are considered to be high functioning, and those who have professional careers are considered to be executive users. This group of people are often the least likely to seek treatment until something happens to force their hand. 

When is substance use a problem?

Social or moderate drinking is considered to be no more than two drinks per day for a man and one for a woman. Binge drinking occurs when more than 4 drinks are consumed in a day. If your drinking habits fall outside of these parameters, it could be considered problematic drinking behavior that could lead to a more serious drinking problem. There are no guidelines for how much meth or cocaine is acceptable; therefore, if you are using drugs on a regular basis you are considered to be at risk for an addiction. 

High Functioning and Executive User’s Addiction – Assets

If you are at risk, or if you feel you have a problem with substances, one of your biggest assets for making changes is what has brought you success in your life. You have spent your life learning, researching, and playing the game to get to where you are. You have used your brain and ambition to reach your goals. You can use this same drive, intelligence and determination in your pursuit of recovery. Scientific research is constantly evolving in the field of addiction. There is good data available about what works and what doesn’t in treating substance use disorder and the general consensus is that getting sober is not a one-man job. This means that you need to think about who you need on your team. This team may be a combination of doctors, therapist, friends, and support groups; but they need to be people you feel comfortable with and trust to help you through the process. You have worked hard to earn money and have resources; treatment may cost money but consider it an investment. Think about all the money your substance use has cost you and crunch the numbers. Finding the right team and starting down the road to recovery is an investment that will pay off.

High Functioning and Executive User’s Addiction – Complications

It may be difficult for you to want to ask for help because it may not come natural to you. You may have a license to protect, a family who does not know the extent of your problem, or you are simply stubborn. You may think you can do the work yourself and manage the situation on your own, unfortunately, research shows that this typically does not work. Privacy is another major concern. Finding the right treatment team and paying out of pocket are ways to help ensure more discretion treatment. 

Reasons for Getting Support in RecoveryYou may feel like you are shielding those around you from your struggle, however, it is likely that people around you are being more impacted than you suspect. Family members and co-workers learn to adapt or cover up for symptoms associated with your substance use disorder. It is not uncommon for those close to you to feel confused, angry or neglected because they do not understand what is happening.  Another reason to seek professional help is that many high-functioning users started using as a way to self-medicate to manage a pre-existing mental health disorder. Addressing that underlying condition will improve your ability to get sober. Finally, your overall physical health will improve and so will your quality of life – you will be able to sleep, eat and have more energy for exercise while in recovery. Treatment comes down to working on new routines and changing old thinking patterns.  I can educate and assist you in developing a plan that makes the most sense for your lifestyle. A new life in recovery is within your grasp and can be your greatest accomplishment.