Monday, April 15, 2024

What To Say To An Addict In Denial

How Does Denial Play Out What Might It Look Like

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

An Addict in denial can be obvious, but it can also be deceiving. This is especially the case with more socially acceptable drugs like marijuana or alcohol. If your loved one is using these drugs with others and tells you they have everything under control, it may be difficult to prove otherwise. At least for a while. True addiction will eventually take its toll on the persons life and sabotage their relationships, physical health, emotional health, and financial stability.

Here are some things to watch for:

  • Manipulating loved ones by pretending to be a victim or martyr.
  • Accusing loved ones of judging them about their drug or alcohol use.
  • Denying that they have a problem – saying everything is under control or they just use drugs and alcohol for fun.
  • Blaming others for their problems and their substance abuse.
  • Not taking harmful or destructive behaviors seriously.

Denial Is A Key Obstacle To Recovery

Denial plays an important role in addiction. Addicts are notoriously prone to denial. Denial explains why drug use persists in the face of negative consequences . Addiction cost them their job, their health, or their family. If they remain ignorant about the negative consequences of their actions, then these consequences cannot guide their .

Rational beliefs are formed on the basis of solid evidence and are open for appropriate revision when new evidence makes them less likely to be true. It is now well-established that we are prone to various cognitive biases that have powerful influences on how we make decisions. For example, the confirmation bias causes people to embrace information that confirms their pre-existing narratives. People hold certain beliefs in part because they attach value to them.

The terms denial can be defined as selective ignoring of information. Denial is a refusal to acknowledge the reality of ones situation. Denial is a form of motivated belief or self-deception that detaches an individual from reality . To maintain a positive view of themselves, people revise their beliefs in the face of new evidence of good news but ignore bad news. Psychological processes such as distraction, forgetfulness, and repression, may serve as a variation of denial. It should be noted that these psychological processes may or may not be conscious processes.

Develop An Understanding Of What Denial Is

In order to understand what goes on in the mind of someone battling substance abuse and in denial, it is important to understand exactly what denial is in a situation such as this.

According to Merriam-Webster, the psychological definition of denial is a condition in which someone will not admit that something sad, painful, etc., is true or real. Often it is difficult for addicts and alcoholics to reach out for help because they dont think any problem existsdenial is that powerful. Denial can also be a coping mechanism of sorts. Someone with a substance abuse disorder may have an inkling that something is wrong, but they may remain adamant in their denial of a problem in order to keep drinking or using.

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Pay Attention To How You Approach Someone With A Substance Abuse Disorder

If you broach the topic too often or too aggressively, threatening legal action or rehab, it is likely the addict or alcoholic in your life will begin to pull away and seek comfort in using. Social stigma can be the biggest barrier to treatment for those unwilling to seek treatment.

Before confronting the addict or alcoholic, think through what you want to say. This may mean planning an intervention. Come up with specific instances that demonstrate how their addiction has become detrimental to their life and the lives of those around them. Try to convey how their addiction has affected you specifically. Do not cast blame or negativity, but rather focus on why you why like to see your loved one lead a better, substance-free life. Express that while there is no easy cure for addiction, you are committed to helping in any way possible.

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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The Possibility Of Intervention And The Removal Of Shame

There is a common myth in the recovery community that addicts have to hit rock bottom before they seek treatment. That idea, however, is not only false but dangerous. The truth is that many, if not most, people seeking addiction treatment are compelled to do so at the urging of their loved ones rather than an independent desire for recovery. This fact alone tells us that denial is often not the impenetrable shield it is sometimes believed to be it is possible to guide people into treatment even if they did not previously admit the need for it.

Unfortunately, the concept of pathological denial keeps many people from productively intervening.

For a number of reasons, the treatment field in the United States fell into some rather aggressive, argumentative, denial-busting methods for confronting people with alcohol and drug problems. This was guided in part by the belief that substance abuse is accompanied by a particular personality pattern characterized by such rigid defense mechanisms as denial and rationalization.

However, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse points out:

There is no evidence that confrontational interventions like those familiar from TV programs are effective at convincing people they have a problem or motivating them to change. It is even possible for such confrontational encounters to escalate into violence or backfire in other ways.

How To Help Them

The hope is that your loved one is receptive to your conversation and will consider getting help. If you are able to get to this stage with your loved one, it is important that you come prepared. Keeping that momentum going at that exact moment is crucial you dont want to give them too much time to change their mind, and by constantly checking in, they might get annoyed and abandon their efforts.

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The Universality Of Denial

Denial is universal. Everyone alters reality somewhat by perceiving events in accordance with our personal biases, says Darlene Lancer, a marriage and family therapist. Denial helps us cope with a potential threat or uncomfortable facts and feelings. We also deny reality when the truth would put us in conflict with someone else or ourselves. Indeed, denial can at times be an important strategy to keep us from crumbling under the weight of reality, particularly when dealing with situations we cant control.

Denying addiction is simply another articulation of the denial everyone experiences all the time people struggling with addiction rationalize, minimize, repress, self-deceive, and selectively forget in order to avoid confronting the unbearable reality of their own substance use disorder. This process may be conscious, unconscious, or often both, particularly as substance use itself diminishes their aptitude for accurate self-perception. The deep stigma attached to addiction and its possible consequences can make denial particularly appealing since admitting addiction, either to themselves or others, comes with a host of painful implications, whether true or not. If I am an addict, I am a bad person. If I am an addict, I do not have control over my life. If I am an addict, I will cause my loved ones pain. If I am an addict, I have to go to treatment, cut off my friends, and give up the substance that is helping me cope.

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Work To Recognise And Adjust Your Own Actions Responses And Behaviour

How to Help an Alcoholic in Denial: Addiction Treatment

There is a phrase for people who are associated with someone who is addicted that many people find helpful.

It is: I didnt cause it, I cant cure it, I cant control it.

Taking steps to embrace and continuously remind yourself of those three Cs, as they are often referred to, will help enormously. Though, accepting the three Cs is much easier said than done due to the levels of guilt, fear and concern people who care about someone who is suffering addiction are often carrying themselves.

What you can influence is your own behaviour, responses and actions. None of this is easy and its understandable if you dont always feel able to do it due to your own feelings, perhaps of anger, bitterness or low mood.

You may be able to:

  • avoid raising the issue of a persons addiction when they are unfit through drink or drugs
  • use positive reinforcement to acknowledge things they do that make you happy, such as enjoyable times you have when they are not drinking or using
  • remove yourself from the situation if things become heated or an argument is brewing
  • recognise and avoid enabling behaviours which may include making excuses for the addicted persons behaviour, lying for them or about their behaviour, giving them money or buying them drugs or alcohol
  • seek out help for any children that may be affected by the addiction of the person you care about. Adfam may be able to help and lists a number of organisations that support the families of people dealing with addiction.

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What To Know About How To Confront A Drug Addict

When youre confronting someone about drug use, they may see what youre saying as a criticism or an unnecessary concern, and they may lash out at you.

While learning how to confront a family member on drugs or another loved one is difficult, its also necessary.

The following are some specific things to keep in mind when youre confronting someone about drug use and addiction:

Other tips for how to confront a drug addict include:

  • Try to listen to the addict as well as talking about your feelings. Sometimes when people are confronting an addict, they think they have to do all of the talking, but it can be helpful also to listen. This will allow the addict to feel like they can trust and confide in you.
  • Try to be consistent when youre learning how to confront an addict. You will probably find yourself confronting an addict over and over again until they finally accept treatment, and when doing so, you want your message and delivery always to be the same.
  • Set boundaries and define consequences. The key phrase to keep in mind when learning how to confront an addict is often tough love. This means that when youre confronting someone about drug use or learning how to confront someone about drug use, you keep in mind unconditional love, with strict boundaries at the same time.

How To Help An Addict Out Of The Denial Phase

  • Recognize that they are not inherently bad at heart, they are just in the clutches of a bad disease.
  • Though it may be difficult, try not to take anything they say personally. When having these tough conversations, they are likely going to say things that may hurt you. Just know that this is their addiction speaking, and it in no way reflects who you are as a person who is simply trying to do what is best for them.
  • Be specific when you discuss the things that they have done that have caused direct harm to you or others. Specific incidents will provide concrete evidence that their actions do indeed have a negative effect on others.
  • Avoid using blaming you language. For example, instead of saying something like You hurt everyone around you when you lash out, say I feel hurt when I sense that you are upset or angry.
  • Bring up various areas of their life that the addiction has negatively impacted, such as family life, work, sports, hobbies, etc.
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    What To Avoid Saying

    • Makeup excuses or Be Soft on the Problem

    There is no need to be soft when establishing boundaries. Being soft reveals your vulnerability and gives the addict the impression that your boundaries are weak. Sending a message that is easy to manipulate is a choice that you and your family can make.

    • Berate or scold them, and tell them what they must do

    Although addicts enjoy making everything about themselves, this backfires when conversations revolve solely around them and what they did wrong. These discussions quickly spiral out of control, and their first thought is that they are this way because of you. Furthermore, the moment you begin the conversation by telling them what they need to do, they go on the defensive and are ready to blast you with all of your flaws. They will then flip the script and lecture you on what you must do.

    What To Say To An Alcoholic In Denial

    How to Help Someone in Denial of Their Addiction

    The first thing to do is ask yourself whether or not youre the right person to have this discussion with your loved one. Are you an integral person in their life?

    Do they have other people who might be able to better send the message to them? Our personal pride and desire to help the person shouldnt factor into whether or not were the ones who start the conversation.

    The best move is to consider who the message will be best received from so that theres a good chance the conversation can lead to change.

    If you find that youre the person, though, consider some of the following ideas.

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    Confront And Beat Denial

    If youre tired of hearing, Im happier when Im using drugs! or I would have to quit my job to get clean, and we cant afford that, 12 Keys Rehab can help. We know exactly what you or your loved one is going through and we are here to help.

    If you or a loved one is ready to conquer addiction, call 12 Keys Rehab today, and begin your journey to a fulfilling, substance-free life.

    Speaking With A Therapist

    You should never attempt to make an appointment for your loved one to see an addiction therapist without their consent. The more you try to force an issue like this, the more resistance you are likely to meet from someone in denial of their addiction.

    Instead, start throwing the idea into the conversation and assess your loved ones response. If they seem amenable, you can schedule an appointment with ease and help them on their way to recovery. If they seem resistant, backpedal and try again later.

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    How To Approach Their Denial

    No matter what the persons behavior has been like, its important to remember that your loved one is not a bad person he or she has an addiction and is in deep denial.

    Addiction can cause our loved ones to act in negative ways and cause hurt to those around them. It may be difficult, but its important not to blame or criticize them.

    • Be specific when you talk. Bring up specific incidents that they know about and have participated in like canceled plans or broken promises.
    • Use I phrases such as, I was worried, or, I noticed.
    • Talk about the negative effects your loved ones using has on the things he or she cares about most, such as their career, family, sports, or other commitments.
    • Dont be discouraged or surprised if your loved one continues to deny they have a problem. Unfortunately, denial is one of the symptoms of the disease of addiction. Dont take it personally and remain supportive of your loved one.
    • Keep in touch with your loved one even if they arent open to help right now. You never know when you may have planted the seed of recovery.

    Starting Discussions With An Addict

    HOW TO TALK TO AN ADDICT IN DENIAL (my SECRET FORMULA that works every time!)

    If you see something like an intervention on television, youll likely hear words like we think you have a problem, your drinking is hurting your family, and so on. These kinds of words almost never have the effect that you might want. Instead, they will likely get angry and either completely deny a problem, blame their substance use on stress or on you, or otherwise become aggressive. You wont get anywhere, and they will likely begin to pull away emotionally, because they know that you are prepared to hurt them.

    If you go to a loved one with the intent of getting past this denial, you will have to remain calm, be logical, and not make blatant accusations. Try starting normal discussions and leading up to topics surrounding substance use.

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    Dealing With An Addict In Denial

    • 27.12.2019
    • |
    • 1 Comment

    The life of an addict is a difficult life, but the life of an addicts loved one can be just as difficult. When someone you love is caught in substance abuse or chemical dependence, it can hurt you to watch them make the wrong decisions and continually harm themselves. You dont want to sit around and feel helpless, you want to be able to help the addict in your life and find them inpatient treatment in Ohio. How do you do that if they dont want to get better or deny they have a problem?

    Dealing with an addict in denial is tough, but there are some proven techniques and methods for getting through to them. Lets learn some of the ways of dealing with an addict in denial and how you can approach the situation with compassion instead of anger.

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