Denial is a defense mechanism most often seen in drug addiction and alcoholism. It allows the addiction to be maintained and even prolonged. Denial involves behaviors such as dishonesty, pretending a problem does not exist, or even exaggeration of a problem. Many addicts or alcoholics in denial avoid people or situations where their substance abuse might be confronted.
Despite the consequences experienced by the addict or alcoholic, denial allows the individual addict to continue using without issue. Denial can also extend to other people. A family member who does not address the addict’s abuse is also in denial and can perpetuate an addict’s substance abuse.
An addict’s denial can be complex but the goal is the same. To deny the existence of a problem so one can continue to use drugs or alcohol is the purpose of denial. An addict might say, just one more time, or I can handle it, when the opposite is true. Denial will allow the alcoholic or addict an opportunity to drink or use more without a thought of the consequences and the influence that using has on health or personal lives.
When the addict or alcoholic decides to stop the addiction, the walls of denial will begin to crumble. During treatment, the addict will begin to look at the issue of denial and begin accepting the addiction exists and treatment is necessary. Treatment will confront the denial and expose the reality of an addict’s abuse. Sometimes addicts in recovery can deny that getting clean and sober can happen.
Treatment must confront the denial to help the addict or alcoholic get clean and sober. The opposite of denial is acceptance and accepting the reality of one’s addiction is a treatment goal. Denial must be addressed at all stages of the recovery process. Denial is a strong mechanism that will always be there. If a person in recovery begins to question their ability to stay sober, denial might creep back in and the individual will begin to think well, my drinking was never really that bad so I can have one drink. Subsequently, denial can lead a person to relapse.
Throughout recovery denial must be addressed. Denial is strong but with treatment and support, denial can be lessened and allow for a life of recovery.
An integrative approach to treatment is necessary for healing the mind, the body, and the spirit from the effects of addiction, trauma, and mental health. Cottonwood Tucson offers critically acclaimed clinical care for men, women, and adolescents. Call us today for information on our internationally recognized programs. (800) 877-4520.