Even though recovery from addiction is possible, most people who get addicted to drugs or alcohol stay addicted for the rest of their lives. According to research provided by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2013, 21.6 million Americans live with substance abuse disorder. But, 95% of these individuals didn’t get treatment.
That’s because most people who live with substance abuse disorder don’t think they need help, or deny that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol completely. There are a few ways that those struggling with addiction may showcase their denial. Identifying types of addiction denial a loved one may exercise can help families and friends encourage loved ones to get the help they desperately need.
Addiction Denial in the Form of Anger
Have you ever accused someone of something you know they’ve done and they return a response in anger? Anger is a common emotion displayed when in denial because it’s a defense mechanism. When individuals feel guilty or shameful about something they’ve done, they may try to revert accusations by defending themselves with anger. By showcasing anger, individuals may hope that their accusers believe they haven’t done anything wrong.
Basically, responding in anger is hopes that an accuser may think, “Wow– they got really upset when I asked them if they had a problem with drinking. They must not have a problem if they reacted that strongly”. But, in reality, anger can be a clear sign of denial. If your loved one reacts in anger when accused of a drug abuse problem, instead of accusing that person of having a problem, it’s best to have conversations without judgment and overwhelm them with understanding.
Addiction Denial in the Form of Excuses
Making excuses has always been one of the most common forms of denial. For the individual denying their addictive behaviors, excuses come with ease. In fact, these excuses may even be truly believed by the individual who gives them. Some common excuses made by individuals portraying addictive behavior may include using to deal with physical pain, avoid withdrawal symptoms, or mental issues like depression or anxiety.
No one gets addicted on purpose, but when individuals make excuses for their addictive behaviors, it’s because they truly don’t believe the cause for their drug use is personal–but because of outside factors. While outside factors can contribute to reasons for developed addiction, only by addressing internal issues can individuals truly begin to start a journey to recovery.
Addiction Denial in the Form of Lying
When an individual knows they shouldn’t be using drugs or alcohol and lies about it to loved ones, it’s usually a sure sign of addiction. Telling lies is a way to try to avoid confrontation about drug use so that individuals don’t have to face the truth. If a loved one lies about being sober, how they’ve used their money, why they need help dealing with consequences of their actions, or otherwise, it may be a sign of addiction denial.
Addiction Denial in the Form of Refusing Treatment
Finally, denying help from treatment can be a sign that an individual is in addiction denial. Unfortunately, a person cannot be enrolled in a treatment program by force unless determined by a court ruling as a result of a criminal offense. Additionally, only those who truly wish to become free from addiction will be successful in recovery. However, getting a loved one to agree to treatment may be difficult if they deny that they even have a problem. But, approaching your loved one with compassion and understanding can go far when offering help through treatment.
If you have a loved one you think may be struggling with addiction denial, call Asheville Recovery Center today! Not only do we help individuals struggling with addiction to obtain lasting recovery, but we specialize in family counseling services which can help educate families on a loved one’s addiction and heal the wreckage addiction may bring to families and loved ones of addicted individuals. Visit our website or give us a call today at 866-315-8998.