How to Help a Drug Addict in Denial

Of the many challenges a family can face, one of the hardest is dealing with a loved one with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. This challenge is compounded when the person suffering from the addiction is in denial about their condition.

Here are a few tips for working past the denial and getting the individual past the denial and into treatment.

Understanding Denial

The first step is to understand denial. This coping mechanism of addiction causes the addict to believe he or she does not have a problem. When confronting the addict, there is a good chance that he or she will simply deny any type of drug usage, or will use the phrase, “I’m in control; drugs are not controlling me.”

When dealing with a person who is in denial, it is imperative not to get upset when he or she flat out lies about drug usage. The best thing family members and loved ones can do is gently point out evidence that proves the addict is lying, and then continually say that despite the drug abuse, they still love the addict and only want to help.


Don’t Enable

A common mistake made by family members is enabling the substance abuser. The act of enabling means providing financial support or means to gain access to drugs/ alcohol or buying into the individual’s excuses regarding other life responsibilities. A family member of one addict once said, “I told her that if she needs money for drugs, just ask me, but please don’t steal items from our home.”


Understand What the Addict Will Do

In addition to being in denial, an addict will likely turn the situation around and try to put guilt on family members and loved ones who are trying to intervene. It is pertinent not to lash out at the addict even if he/ she is lashing out. Family members and loved ones need to keep an open mind, understanding that with persistence, the addict will usually reach a point where denial is no longer an option.


Rock Bottom

Each year, thousands of individuals enter treatment programs. Some will hit rock bottom before accepting that they have a problem. Regardless, it is important to continually provide emotional support and let them know that treatment is available when they are ready.

Pathways understands the ins-and-outs of addiction, treating the disease through evidence-based treatment methods. Regardless of how far a person is in his or her addiction, Pathways can help.