Family and Friends

How to Help a Drug Addict in Denial

Dealing with a member of your family falling into addiction is one of the hardest thing anyone can go through. This can be made even worse when the person in question is in denial about their condition. Denial makes it a lot harder to convince the person to seek out treatment. When you have a family member who’s in denial, here are some of the things you can do to help.

Understand the Nature of Denial

Denial is almost a reflex action when a drug user is confronted about their condition. Almost anyone who’s ever tried to confront a drug user about their habit is familiar with phrases such as, ‘I can stop whenever I want.’ For many addicts, denial isn’t just about telling the person who’s confronting them that they don’t have a problem. The denial is also important to the addict themselves so they can convince themselves that they don’t have a problem. This makes it easier for them to justify their drug use.

Getting upset when the user denies a problem that seems obvious to you is unlikely to help. The approach you should try instead is to calmly point out the evidence that proves the opposite so the proof of addiction is undeniable. At this point, you should also let the person know that you’re still there for them and you’re only try to assist them.

Don’t be an Enabler

Many family members of drug abusers will try to make things better by making it easier for the addict by making it easier for them to get the drugs or the money that the user needs to buy the drugs. Many do this hoping that the individual will be less likely to do things like stealing things from the house. Another enabling mistake is buying into the user’s excuses as to why they’ve abandoned certain responsibilities. You shouldn’t make excuses for the user or make their habit easy to support.

Be Prepared for what the User will do

When a person is in denial about their drug use, a common tactic is to guilt the other family members when they try to help. They may also lash out at this point. When this happens, it’s important for you not to lash out in response. It’s better to try and keep an open mind about the situation. Addicts usually reach a point where they can no longer deny their addiction to themselves and to others. You should however understand that it may take time to get there.

Hitting Rock Bottom

Rock bottom is a point in the life of a drug user where things are unlikely to get any worse than they already are. For some users, this may be a near death experience or even going to jail. Many addicts will not accept that they have a problem until they reach this point. At this stage, the user will need the emotional support of those close to them. This is also a good time to let them know that they can get treatment.

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