How Do You Help an Addict Who's in Denial?

How Do You Help an Addict Who’s in Denial?

Is your loved one in denial about their addiction? How DO you help an addict who's living in denial? Some say that denial is the primary roadblock to addiction recovery, and we couldn’t agree more. Many addicts aren’t ready to admit they have a problem, let alone spend a month or more in addiction treatment. Sadly, this denial stops some people from receiving the help they need to kick their habit and move forward in their life. So how can you help someone with an addiction see things more clearly? 

Why is Denial Common Among People with Addiction? 

As a person on the outside, it can be extremely difficult to understand how an addict can't see the damage they are doing. However, people who have an addiction are not able to think clearly. The addiction is in control and it causes the person to be obsessive about getting high or drunk no matter what the consequences are. 

Additionally, there may be past trauma or mood disorders that are clouding the person’s judgment. If someone is struggling with bipolar disorder or trying to push away painful memories, they’re obviously going to have a harder time thinking rationally and understanding the importance of addiction treatment in Agoura. 

Here are some of the most common reasons why addicts are in denial: 

  • They don’t care. Sadly, some addicts reach a point where they don’t care about themselves or the damage they are doing. This usually happens because the addiction has ruined so many parts of the person’s life, they feel like they’re in too deep to stop.
  • They believe they’re in control. On the other hand, some addicts truly believe they are in control of their drug and alcohol use. This is an illusion because addicts can’t just stop using. 
  • They don’t think their addiction is harming anyone. Another reason for denial is that some addicts feel their drug and alcohol use is not harming anyone. Sometimes it takes an intervention to show them how they are hurting themselves and others. 
  • They see themselves as the victim. You may have noticed that any time you try to discuss rehab with your loved one, they turn into the victim. However, having hard circumstances does not make it okay for someone to keep abusing drugs and alcohol. There are other ways to cope. 

How Does Denial Play Out? What Might it Look Like? 

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 person’s 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. 

How Can I Help Someone Who’s in Denial about Their Addiction? 

Ultimately, the decision to change is up to the individual. You can help your loved one face their substance abuse and get the help they need, but in the end, it’s up to them to put in the hard work. Seeking drug rehab in Agoura Hills is only part of the battle - recovery is an ongoing process. 

With that said, there are certain approaches you can take to help an addict in denial. If they don’t work, you may have to try again at a later date. But it’s important to follow through with consequences for refusing treatment, otherwise, you can fall into the trap of enabling. For example, if your loved one refuses rehab, you can ask them to leave your home or stop paying their bills. 

Below are some of the ways you can help an addict in denial: 

  • Organize an intervention. Organized interventions can be extremely powerful in getting your loved one to accept help. But, they must be well-thought-out and include a professional interventionist for the best results.
  • Pursue involuntary commitment. California is one of the states that allows a parent or loved one to involuntarily commit an addicted loved one to a drug and alcohol rehab program. You can learn more about this option here
  • Follow through with consequences and let go. This is probably the most difficult decision a parent or loved one can make. However, you can't force someone to change, so there comes a point when the addict has to accept the addiction on their own terms. 

How Outpatient Treatment Can Ease Fears 

If your loved one is in denial about their addiction, it’s helpful to understand why. You may discover that your loved one has fears about drug rehab. Learning about addiction and the available treatment options can help you have a more open conversation with your loved one.

For instance, many people are afraid to accept treatment because they don’t want to sit in rehab for 60-90 days. This can be a big turnoff for those who have jobs, families, and households to care for. In this case, an outpatient treatment program may be a better option. 

With outpatient drug rehab, clients can seek care on their own schedule. Usually, they start off attending treatment a few hours a day, most days of the week. These programs also make it easier to transition into everyday life, as the person will be doing this little by little every day. 

If you can, it’s best to choose a holistic outpatient treatment program because it introduces a variety of techniques to help people avoid drugs and alcohol. For example, Awakenings Treatment Center offers art therapy, music therapy, neurofeedback, massage therapy, acupuncture, and others to help clients manage stress and prevent relapse. 

Call Awakenings Treatment Center Today 

If you have a loved one who requires addiction treatment, contact Awakenings today. We can tell you about our different programs and how to address this conversation with your loved one. We also have a caring, compassionate admissions department that will be happy to speak with your loved one.