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How Should Denial be Address in Addiction Recovery?


small group therapy meeting

If you have a loved one who has struggled with addiction, you may have heard any of the following phrases:

  • I don’t have a problem.”
  • I can stop anytime I want. I don’t need help.”
  • Why don’t you focus on your own problems? I’m doing just fine.”

There’s one commonality between all of these phrases – denial. Denial often occurs when a person fails to acknowledge or accept that they have a problem. Experts have identified two types of denial: 1) seeing, understanding, and knowing a problem exists but refusing to acknowledge it or lying about it and 2) being partially or totally blind that a problem even exists. Addiction has proven to disrupt many areas of life, such as marriage, work and productivity, home life, social relations, and more. As such, a common sign of addiction is continuing to use despite these negative consequences – often stemming from denial.

How can treatment help with this? Your loved one can be in denial and still attend treatment; after all, research has shown that even individuals who have been court-ordered to attend treatment have, at times, come to realize they really do have a problem and have sought help. One type of treatment method that assists people who may be in denial or may be apprehensive about the need for treatment is motivational enhancement therapy (MET).

MET is designed to help clients come to their own conclusions about their need for help, while a therapist gently facilitates this process of consideration. With MET, a therapist will not suggest a plan of action for your loved one but will rather listen intently and attempt to gain an understanding of their thoughts on the situation. The goal is that the client will come to this realization on their own, giving them further autonomy and control over the situation and, hopefully, deeper commitment to their program. If your loved one is willing to speak with someone at a reputable treatment center, ask about MET. This could be just what your loved one needs to address underlying forms of denial regarding their substance use.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.

References

https://www.hannapickard.com/uploads/3/1/5/5/31550141/denialaddictionhpickard.pdf

http://www.azureacres.com/addiction/articles/stages-denial/