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Should I tell an Addict that He or She is in Denial?

If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for alcohol or substance abuse, please call our partner facility today:
The PAC Program
(866) 516-8266


What is ‘denial’? It is a term used when an individual is denying their true behavior and feelings. Psychologists use the term to describe the state of mind individuals use to cope with reality. Basically, denial is the insistence that a known fact is false, even in the face of overwhelming evidence against it. Furthermore, denial is the refusal to acknowledge what has happened.

Signs of Denial

The first sign of denial is the individual’s refusal to admit that anything is wrong. If one confronts the individual about their drinking problem, they may insist that their drinking is a private matter and no one else’s business. Or the individual may try to minimize the problem. This means that they hide the alcohol or don’t tell the truth about the extent of their drinking. Denial can also take the form of the individual rationalizing drinking. For example the individual may say that they only drink when they are stressed out with work, or that their drinking is not hurting anyone. It is fairly easy to confirm the existence of denial. Some other signs of alcoholism denial are:

Annoyance with criticism about drinking
Blaming others or situations for personal problems related to drinking
Expressions of guilt about drinking
Inability to honestly answer questions about the amount and frequency of drinking
Confronting Someone about their Alcohol Problem
There is no tried and tested way to address an individual’s drinking problem. Each situation is different and each individual is different, as are their family and friends. Ultimately it is up to the person to decide when and how they want to confront the individual about their denial. A few factors to consider include:

How much one cares about the individual
How close one is to the individual
How confident one is about the existence of a real drinking problem
Confidence dealing with conflict
Communication skills
The first step towards getting treatment and achieving sobriety is when the individual accepts that they have a drinking problem. This is a difficult thing to do. For some individuals it is easier to deny the problem, even when faced with withdrawal symptoms, than it is to confront it and face it head on. That is when loved ones of the individual usually intervene and encourage treatment.

Blueprints provides support for young adults facing recovery from alcoholism. Call us if you need help for your loved one who is struggling to quit an alcohol addiction. Our programs support individualized programs to help resolve addictive behaviors and get them on the path to recovery and healing.