Thursday, April 18, 2024

How To Handle An Addict In Denial

The Stigma Of Addiction In Society

Families of addicts (dealing with denial)

Addiction stigma, the combination of negative personal and societal views of substance use and addiction, can be a difficult obstacle on your path to recovery. In fact, its estimated that 90% of the people struggling with addiction delay or fail to seek treatment for substance use disorders largely due to these pervasive feelings and views.

When we talk about the stigma of drug addiction, were discussing the shame, disgrace and negative associations people make with the condition. These feelings often come from assumptions and not facts. They fail to consider the person and instead perpetuate an ongoing cycle that shames and embarrasses those afflicted with addiction. But there are some things you can do to help a loved one move past this shame to get the help he or she needs.

Overcoming The Social Stigma Of Drug Addiction

Common misconceptions about addiction are often based on generalizations related to behaviors that are observed by people struggling with this disease. Impaired judgment, erratic behavior and the consequences of these states of being are used to stereotype the people involved.

Many still believe that addiction is based on a lack of willpower or a broken moral compass. However, more and more research shows that addiction is a serious disease of the brain with a variety of genetic and environmental factors. It can happen to anyone from any walk of life.

Unfortunately, the drug use stigma that persists is part of the reason why 90% of the millions afflicted with addiction dont seek help. It actively suppresses programs that may help, like substitution treatments and needle exchange programs. Even among the healthcare community, addiction stigma held by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals can stand in the way of someone getting the help they need.

Common Signs Of Addiction

Signs of addiction vary substantially from person to person.

If you notice any of the following symptoms in yourself or a loved one, its time to think about whether use has turned into abuse or even addiction:

With an idea of what to look out for in terms of what signifies of addiction, where does denial enter the equation?

Well, for someone in the throes of addiction, even the abstract thought of committing to the sustained effort required to achieve ongoing sobriety is often too much to take on board. Even if the intention is there, when reality kicks in, denying the problem can always put it off for another day while allowing for another day of fun and games.

If youre watching a loved one slowly destroy their life through excessive use of drink or drugs, it might be quite clear to you they have a problem. When that subconscious defense mechanism kicks in, they could see things rather differently.

When youre the one struggling with addiction, accepting that youre in denial is crucial if you have any serious intention of embracing a life of sobriety.

Whether in someone you love or in yourself, how can you spot the most common signs of denial?

Also Check: How To Be With An Addict

What Is Denial Of Addiction

Denial in its broader sense is a refusal to concede the truth alongside an inclination to distort reality.

When the word denial is used in a psychological setting, the state of denial serves as a defense mechanism for the person struggling with addiction. Someone affected by denial routinely rejects any element of reality that doesnt neatly align with their worldview. This skewing of reality takes place subconsciously.

Although most people engage in denial about things that make them feel uncomfy, denial takes on a more rigid and extreme form in addicts.

What this means is that someone who is clearly dependent on alcohol or drugs claiming otherwise doesnt necessarily mean theyre lying. Often, its not a case of your loved one blatantly refusing to face black and white facts. Instead, they might be behaving based on a subconscious psychological strategy.

If you believe your loved one is addicted to alcohol or drugs but they wont accept this, take a step back before accusing them of lying.

Now, as an all-purpose defense mechanism, denial is not without merit. Sometimes, for someone who needs to make sweeping, demanding changes, the state of denial serves to allow some time for adjustment. Also, denial can effectively help people to sidestep rash decisions.

Unfortunately, when someone is bogged down with addiction, denial simply prolongs the suffering and renders it impossible to kickstart meaningful recovery.

Overcoming Stage One Denial

How to Deal with Someone in Denial About Their Addiction

Overcoming the wrong understanding of chemical dependency is accomplished through proper education. This will only produce intellectual acceptance at best, more commonly known as compliance.

Internal acceptance of chemical dependency is a completely different issue. It requires a basic conversion in the belief system, which is in the innermost self .

Internal acceptance is a process, not an event. One cannot come to believe something new in the innermost self by simply willing it to happen. That would be like planting a seed in the ground on Monday and expecting to have an apple tree on Friday. Once the seed has been planted, it needs time to root. It also needs proper nourishment for growth and maturity.

This is the same way someone comes to accept being chemically dependent. The seed is planted in the innermost self of the person who admits that they have the problem by their own words. Once planted it is nourished by the continuation of the same process, admitting, . The more one admits to having the condition, the more one conies to believe it in their inner most self, This is expressed by the popular slogan, You have to give it away to get, and you have to keep giving it away to keep it.

Also Check: What Does Rehab Do For Drug Addicts

Support The Process Of Change

If you have a friend or loved one with an addiction, let them know you are willing to support them, for example, by coming with them to family or couples counseling. You can even help them take the first stepwhether it’s bringing them to a doctor’s appointment or a support group meeting.

They’ll likely feel encouraged by the fact that you are making changes in your own life to help them with their addiction.

How To Deal With Denial In Addiction

Addiction denial is a stage of the grieving process where, despite clear signs and symptoms, people refuse to believe that they are dependent on drugs or alcohol. Believe it or not, denial actually serves a useful purpose as a coping mechanism that shields us from pain. The problem, however, is that it also prevents us from getting the help we really need.

This is what makes denial in addiction so difficult not just for the people struggling with the chemical dependency, but also for their friends and families. Loved ones can usually see that there is a problem, but until the addict acknowledges it, there is very little anyone can do to help.

In this post, our goal is to help people who may have a problem with drugs or alcohol understand more about the denial stage and how to move beyond it.

Also Check: Why Do Drug Addicts Have Swollen Hands

How To Help Someone In Denial Of Addiction

One of the most important tips on how to help addicts in denial is to remain supportive of the individual without enabling their behavior. If you realize a loved one is avoiding the topic of their addiction or flat out denying their problem, its time to sit them down and have a one-on-one conversation. When conversations fail, our intervention services at Banyan Treatment Centers Chicago can help. Our drug intervention in Illinois brings the individuals loved ones together to discuss the need for addiction treatment and to work on repairing broken relationships. Interventions conducted at our facility are led by certified intervention specialists who create a safe and judgment-free environment where families can encourage their loved ones to seek out addiction treatment.

Banyan Chicago offers numerous addiction treatment and therapy methods that can help your loved one recover. Call us today at to speak to a team member about our alcohol and drug treatment in Chicago.

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How To Help Them Recover

How to deal with an addict in denial? | Answered by Experts

Its possible your loved one may have already been thinking about getting help, or deep down inside theyve been waiting for someone to show they care. And maybe youre not the only one who has expressed concern over their drinking and drug use.

Provide your loved one with contact information and schedules for local AA or NA meetings. If your loved one is in agreement, you may want to suggest a formal evaluation by a substance abuse counselor or medical professional.

You may also want to have the name of a treatment center handy in case your loved one shows interest in attending inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment as a solution to their addiction issue. If they want professional help at a treatment center, offer to be there for them during every step of the process.

Recovery is an ongoing process, and overcoming denial is just one of many steps towards restoration.

Being there for your loved ones during their hardest times shows them that you not only care, but you also understand them. Several people close to me mentioned they were worried about my drinking, and although it didnt get me to stop immediately, it helped me to consider sobriety when I was ready.

Use your words for good, and tell your loved ones how you feel about them whenever you can.

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Things To Stop Doing If You Love An Alcoholic

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Are you wondering how you can cope with a drunk mother during the holidays, or how you can help her? Have friends told you that you are an enabler for your spouse? Do you find yourself suffering the consequences of a loved ones alcohol problem?

It can be hard to hear that you need to change yourself when a loved one is living with alcoholism. After all, its their problem, isnt it? Unfortunately, you can only change yourself, and the only way you can interrupt and change the current course of your interactions with people with substance use disorders is to change your reactions.

Those who live or have lived with active alcoholics or anyone struggling with addiction find that they have been deeply affected by the experience. Many times, the frustration and stress can be caused by your own actions and choices.

By adjusting your approach and your attitude toward the problem, you can place it in a different perspective so that it no longer dominates your thoughts and your life. In some ways, knowing that you can change your approach and attitude is empowering.

You no longer need to continue doing some of the things you do in your dance with a person with an addiction. Here are 10 things that you can stop doing that may help relieve the pressure.

Also Check: How Do You Help Someone Addicted To Drugs

How To Help An Addict Recover

Getting help and treatment is the ultimate goal of helping an addict face their denial and addiction. Getting someone into a solid treatment program with support is the leading way to help an addict recover.

However, recovery for an addict doesnt stop after they detox or enter into an inpatient or outpatient program. Recovery is a friend and family affair. This means that living with someone in recovery is just as important to his or her recovery as treatment. So, understanding your role in supporting them in the life-long recovery process is key.

Becoming educated about how to support an addict in recovery is imperative. There are support groups for friends and families who are involved in drug addiction for this reason.

Contact us today to learn more about treatment and support options to help an addict in your life find recovery.

Dont wait. Call today.

Get the best treatment options.

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Guaranteed Prescription For Recovery

The July 2013 issue of the DMC Campfire newsletter featured an article aimed at the families of addicts entitled, “How Can I Help?” The article included what DMC calls a “Guaranteed Prescription for Recovery. Things you can start doing to help your loved one.”

The following suggestions have been adapted from Dunklin’s prescription for recovery. Although they are aimed at Christian families struggling with addiction, the principles can be applied by everyone.

Helping An Addict In Denial

How To Deal With An Addict In Denial

The power of these rationalizations is so strong that confronting an addict in denial is one of the most difficult things a loved one can do. Your loved one might not have any financial problems. He may have chalked up lost friendships to certain events or conversations but never the bad judgment that results from a chronic substance abuse problem. After all, you or your loved one may be holding down a job, married with children, and have all the outward appearances of a healthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately, addiction is cunning, as Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill W so succinctly noted. This means identifying a substance abuse problem can be more difficult than you ever thought possible.

Nevertheless, confronting an alcoholic or drug addict in denial is one of the most important ways to help them or yourself. If you notice any of the following symptoms in addition to denial, its time to have a conversation about quitting and getting help:

  • Drinking or using drugs when alone.
  • Drinking or using drugs at unusual times, such as in the morning.
  • Keeping alcohol or drugs in unusual places, such as hidden in the home, the car or in a desk at work.
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol or drugs that requires taking more and more to get the same high.
  • Combining multiple substances to get a stronger high, such as taking painkillers and drinking alcohol at the same time.
  • Lying about or hiding how much or how frequently substance abuse takes place.
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    The Signs Of Denial During Addiction

    By Landmark Recovery Staff on Aug. 5, 2019

    • Addiction
    • The Signs Of Denial During Addiction

    Denial plays a pivotal role in addiction and goes a long way toward explaining why addicts persist with alcohol or substance abuse despite the many consequences they may face.

    Denial is often the first fundamental roadblock preventing the awareness and early acknowledgment that characterize the first stage of addiction recovery.

    Before we explore some of the most commons signs of denial exhibited during addiction, well kick off with a basic definition.

    Love Over Anger For An Addict In Denial

    In both a surprise and planned intervention, love is your best tool. In an intervention, you use letters and other tools to illustrate both how much love you the addict, but also how much the addict has harmed themselves or others. Demonstrating love for the addict compared to anger for wrongs has shown to be more effective to getting an addict into treatment compared to anger or vitriol which will send the addict out of the intervention and back to using.

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    How Do I Tell If Im In Denial Of Addiction

    Your brain uses denial to protect you from unpleasant feelings. So, the only way to recognize if you are experiencing denial in addiction may be to get out of your own head for a second. This is easier said than done, but heres a simple exercise that could help:

    Think back on the last week or month. At any time, can you recall making excuses for your behavior while under the influence? Excuses like, it was just that one time. Or, I didnt really mean those things I said. If so, was it an isolated incident or do you see a pattern?

    Now ask yourself another question: Have your friends, family or co-workers expressed concern or made comments about your drug use? If you answered yes, did you respond with a negative, defensive or angry reaction? If so, this is could be a classic sign of addiction denial. Remember, denial is a coping mechanism that your brain uses to protect against painful emotions. Comments from your friends could make you feel exposed, vulnerable or under attack.

    Am I An Addict In Denial

    Addiction Recovery | What to say to an addict in denial | Beginnings Treatment Centers

    There is a long-held truism in recovery circles: If you think you might be an addict, you probably are one. While there are always exceptions to this rule, it is a universal truth that, as humans, we are commonly presented with the cold hard facts, only to stubbornly and even dangerously deny what we see. An addict will deny such evidence even in the face of losing everything, including their own life. So, what sets this level of denial apart from just plain old stubbornness? Why might an addict be willing to die rather than face the truth?

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    What To Say To Someone In Denial Of Addiction

    Having a conversation about a personal and highly sensitive issue like heavy drinking or drug use is far from straightforward.

    You should never attempt to initiate this conversation when the person is drunk or high. While it might be tempting to confront them head-on as they return from the bar, youre liable to provoke an angry response. At best youll get an uncontrolled response, and the emotion youre even more likely to face is denial.

    Once you find the time and place to start a dialogue about your concerns, dont overthink this. Dont agonize about the right thing to say. There is no right thing. The more you try to plan a conversation in advance, the less natural it will come across. What you need to express is how concerned you are and to do this lovingly and honestly.

    While it might seem calculated and even mean, catching your loved one in the wake of an incident they regret can yield dividends. Perhaps they wake up and find theyve lost their purse. Maybe theyve shouted and screamed at you and, as always, theyre feeling familiar pangs of remorse. Capitalize on these emotions when the consequences of their drinking or drug use are fresh in their mind. Dont be afraid to employ tactics like these. All that counts is the end result.

    Outline the adverse effects your loved ones drinking or drug use is having on:

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