What is a Functioning Heroin Addict and am I One?

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What is a Functioning Heroin Addict?

The media has painted a picture of a heroin addict. Usually, they are homeless, jobless, without family and friends – huddled in a dark alley with a needle in their arm. They exist on the brink of life and death, with no hope of a future and certainly no semblance of a normal life.

However, there is another group that is often overlooked, and that is the functioning heroin addict. These are people who hold down jobs, go to school, have families and for all intents and purposes look fine on the outside. Their friends, colleagues, and sometimes even family members have no idea that they are addicted to heroin.

What is a Functioning Heroin Addict?

As described above, a functioning heroin addict is someone who uses the drug but is still able to maintain a certain lifestyle and doesn’t allow the drug to infiltrate into all areas of their life. Heroin use is becoming increasingly common in all communities. The chances are that you know someone struggling with heroin addiction, but may not show all the classic signs.

Most people become heroin addicts after addiction to prescription pain medication. They go to their doctor for a normal procedure and end up getting hooked on the pills they are prescribed. When those pills run out, they turn to the street, where it is easier and cheaper to buy heroin.

There are different personalities when it comes to addiction. Some people use heroin and “go big or go home” unable to stop or put a limit on how much they use. These are the people who quickly lose their jobs, friends, and whole life to the drug immediately. There are others who use just enough to maintain. They avoid getting withdrawal symptoms but never get really high. They use just enough heroin to feel “normal” and function in their day to day life. For many of these people, using heroin makes them feel like they can do their everyday activities even better.

The Lifestyle of a Functioning Addict

A function heroin addict is usually the latter. They might make enough money to support their daily habit so that no one knows the difference. Some friends and family might be aware of the addiction, but most people will not be. A functioning heroin addict is more inclined to keep their addiction a secret because society doesn’t view it the same as, for example, a functioning alcoholic.

Unfortunately, lying is a way of life for these people. They may fake a doctor’s appointment when they are really visiting their dealer, or skip a day of work when they can’t get a fix. The only difference is that they manage to balance their regular life and their addict life so that no one suspects what is actually going on.

The reality is that no amount of heroin use is ok. There is always the danger of an overdose because you never know exactly what you are getting off of the street. One day, the addict can take the same dose they always do, only this dose contains fentanyl. This can lead to almost instantaneous overdose and death if help doesn’t arrive immediately.

For others, death might not be as immediate, but they are still in a downward spiral, no matter how long it takes. A functioning heroin addict will still have all the negative consequences of heroin addiction, and their body and mind will suffer. No matter how good they seem on the outside, it is essential to get treatment and learn how to live a clean and sober lifestyle.