How to Overcome Denial about Addiction

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Learn a bit about how to overcome denial when it comes to addiction

Denial is one of the key symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction. Before an addiction treatment specialist is able to help an addict learn how to overcome denial, it’s first important to determine the type of denial the person is in.

Many people caught in a cycle of addiction deny the severity of their problem. Some believe they still retain a measure of control over their substance use and are convinced they can still quit at any time if they wanted to. They then rationalize their ongoing use by saying they just don’t want to quit. ┬áThe person lacks insight into their own self-destructive behavior and attempts to rationalize or normalize their substance use by making excuses or justifying use.

By comparison, other drug or alcohol addicts may realize deep down they have a problem. However, when confronted with their ongoing use they will lie or use deception and deny the problem.

How to Overcome Denial in Addiction

Helping a recovering addict learn how to overcome denial can be challenging, but it’s easier with help from a specialist drug or alcohol rehab treatment center. Addiction specialists work closely with the recovering person to determine the type of denial the person is in.

Therapy and counseling then begin to help the recovering person identify the underlying psychological causes behind self-destructive behaviors. As the person learns more about their individual addiction triggers, the true extent of their problem often becomes clearer, making it easier for them to recognize that they were in denial.

How to Deal with Someone in Denial

Many family members struggle to watch loved ones caught in the grip of addiction, especially when the addicted person remains in denial about having a problem. It can also be challenging for family members to work out how to deal with someone in denial.

Some people may believe that confronting the person about their drug or alcohol use or making threats might push them into accepting treatment. Others may feel that blaming them or accusing them for their actions could provide the key to them accepting treatment.

In reality, a person struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction may react in unexpected ways. Some might become violent or aggressive at being confronted. Others may feel overwhelming feelings of shame or guilt that could result in them spiraling even deeper into the grip of addictive substance use.

In order to help someone understand and overcome denial, it’s important that family members and loved one seek advice and guidance from an addiction specialist within a drug or alcohol rehab center.

Learning more effective ways how to deal with someone in denial reduces the chance of them responding in unpredictable ways. Family members also learn more about how important their role is within the addicted person’s journey to recovery.

How to Get Yourself Out of Denial

If you are the person struggling to break free from drug or alcohol addiction, working out the best ways how to get yourself out of denial can be especially challenging. The fact that you recognize a problem with substance use is a major achievement, as many users continue to deny having a problem at all.

Of course, recognizing you have a problem but continuing to deny that you need treatment in order to quit using is a big hurdle to overcome.

However, there are some people who recognize they have a problem and have overcome their denial to reach out and seek rehab treatment. The problem arises when they graduate from a comprehensive rehab treatment program and try to fast-track their way through the recovery process.

A big factor in learning how to overcome denial is learning to accept reality. Minimizing the impact of continuing to use drugs or alcohol is a form of denial, as is rationalizing use or denying how much is really being used. By comparison, accepting that a problem exists and something needs to change in order to regain control over your life is the first step on the road to recovery from addiction.