How Denial Feeds Our Addictions
Denial is one of the biggest obstacles to overcoming a substance abuse disorder. It casts a long shadow – keeping us from beginning, trying, or even being aware. We want to shed light on the process of denial and paint a picture of what it looks like for a person who is actively abusing drugs or alcohol.
Our hope is that by helping you recognize what denial looks like under these conditions, you may be able to intervene and reach a loved one in need.
What is drug addiction?
The National Institute of Drug Abuse defines addiction as a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.”
Not every individual with a substance abuse disorder will perfectly fit this definition. One of the more generally accepted beliefs for mental health professionals is that an addict has no control when it comes to stopping. It’s not uncommon for users to go for a period of time without getting high. But eventually, the urge to use again will be overwhelming. Without the proper treatment of experts, the addicted will use drugs again.
Am I an addict in denial?
Generally speaking: if on some level you suspect that you might be addicted to drugs or alcohol, you probably are. A common human behavior is to stubbornly, and sometimes dangerously, deny evidence-based facts. People who suffer from a substance abuse disorder typically deny their addictions. Even when it’s clear to everyone around them. Even when they risk losing their job, their family, even their own life. Behavioral health counseling may be required.
What makes addiction-related denial different from stubbornness? Why is someone who abuses substances willing to risk everything to avoid facing the truth?
How to spot denial
It’s common for a person with a substance abuse disorder to deny having a problem. Denial is potent. It enables those abusing drugs or alcohol to continue their destructive behavior, and thus, continue avoiding the truth.
Denial can show various symptoms. Justification of harmful behavior is very common under these circumstances. Common justifications you might hear from a person in denial about their behaviors:
• I can stop whenever I want.
• My habit isn’t affecting anyone but me.
• If I were an addict, would I have (a job, family, house, etc.)?
• I don’t have a criminal record.
• I only drink socially.
• I’ve never used hard drugs.
• My kids have never seen me high.
Before breaking out of the prison denial, one must accept that there is no comprehensive checklist of what it means to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. Addiction can’t be defined based on what has or hasn’t happened. For example, many admitted alcoholics have never been arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Measuring addiction against external events is a commonly used cloaking device used by those suffering from a substance abuse disorder. They use this tactic to perpetuate denial.
How to overcome denial
Becoming free of denial is the first step in the healing process. Once the veil of denial is lifter you are free to get clean and sober. An active user is understandably unable to make an honest assessment of their problem.
Seeking out the help of trained therapists and addiction treatment professionals is an important step towards overcoming drug addiction or alcohol abuse. When the body and mind become clean and clear, a viable roadmap can be created – a sober journey can begin.
MD Home Detox
In the event that you or a loved is not in denial about a substance abuse problem, and you recognize the importance of seeking immediate help from drug addiction or alcoholism, MD Home Detox is here to help. Our comprehensive addiction treatment services are designed to treat each unique individual.
We offer addiction treatment that allows you to detox in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Contact our specialists today to learn about our Home Detox Treatment and other services. We want to help you overcome addiction. By any means necessary.