What is a high functioning addict?

You may have heard the term high functioning addict being used by or about someone with an addiction issue. This is a term that is generally used to reference addicts of a particular socio-economic demographic who can afford to use this term. It tends to be associated with people who hold down a well paying job, pay their bills, and maintain relationships with friends and family.

Addiction doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s not a linear progression. Justifying one’s actions and use is common for all people struggling with an addiction. “High functioning addict” is used to justify a person’s substance use or behaviours when their life doesn’t appear to be negatively impacted by it.

One of the greatest challenges facing someone who views themselves as a high functioning addict, is that they don’t believe they are in need of help. There are only so many times you can call in sick with the flu, or keep blaming someone or something else for things going wrong. Being able to hide an addiction is not the same as being able to control your use.

If you think you may have a substance use issue, take our Am I An Addict quiz.


The reasons for hiding and covering up an addiction are often, sadly, the same reasons preventing someone from seeking treatment. Reasons such as embarrassment, expectation, and other external societal factors can create an inability to ask for help.

There are a range of addiction treatment options available to suit all types of lifestyles.

An Outpatient Program is a fantastic treatment opportunity for someone who is unable to take time away from work or family commitments. Other options include counselling, detox and withdrawal, and inpatient rehab programs.

There are also a range of family support programs available that haven been designed to support the friends and family of someone experiencing addiction. Help and support is available to get you and your loved ones through this.