Sunday, December 31, 2017

A High Functioning Addict May Not Be High Performing

A legal professional addicted to alcohol or other drugs may hide the problem, but eventually, the addiction will catch up with him or her. From Attorney at Work:

Maintaining a life of active addiction while working in a high-pressure field, such as law, frequently translates to leading a double life. The person may exhibit a seemingly healthy persona, including going to the gym, eating regularly and looking good. However, people who look like they’re high-functioning may not actually be high-functioning. They may be spending extensive amounts of time double-checking their work following a hangover, having to stay up long hours into the night sending out emails and documents, or going to great lengths to conceal their unhealthy behaviors. They may be using their intelligence and extensive skills to minimize and hide the consequences of addiction and deny their problem both to themselves and others.

When we think of someone as high-functioning, it’s usually assumed the person has been managing their responsibilities and overall life, including their addiction, for years. They may keep up appearances for a long time, but disease progression varies from person to person. They may (and most likely will) continue their unhealthy behavior if their workplace enables them. If colleagues cover for them when they’re late, help them when they’ve forgotten something important, and look the other way at “out of character” behavior, the colleagues are contributing to the problem.

Having had an alcoholic administrative assistant, and, at another school, colleagues with alcohol problems, I know something about the problem. Frequently the functioning alcoholic covers for himself or herself, and then there’s the crash. It may be a literal crash, often getting into a car accident while inebriated. I won’t even mention students with addictions.

You can read more here.


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