How to Manage a Loved One in Denial Over Addiction

addict in denial refusing help

Addiction is a disease with devastating repercussions that often extend to family and loved ones. At Lake Ave Recovery, we understand that addiction is a delicate topic that should be approached with finesse and empathy, especially when someone is in denial about their illness.

What Does Denial Look Like?

An individual’s denial of their addiction may come in several different forms. They may acknowledge their substance use but rationalize and justify it and believe they are in control and can stop whenever they choose. Alternatively, they may know and understand that they have a problem with addiction but are skeptical of receiving help or believe they are incurable. People suffering from addiction may also view their drug or alcohol use with a narrow scope and be in denial that it is affecting those around them.

How to Approach Your Loved One In Denial

1. Create an open and honest environment

When confronting your loved one about their issues with substance use, it is important to create an open, honest, and judgment-free environment where they feel safe to speak freely. Though their denial or dishonesty may feel frustrating, continue to talk to them with respect to build mutual trust.

2. Wait for the Right Time

Try to approach your loved one at a time when they are sober, if possible. While it might be tempting to confront them when they are high or drunk, it won’t result in a productive conversation. You want them to be able to confront their denial with a clear head without provoking an uncontrolled or unreasonable response.

3. Educate Yourself

Educating yourself on your loved one’s addiction and struggles can help you better understand what they are going through, how they are feeling, and what type of danger they might be in. Learn about symptoms and signs of withdrawal as well as signs of an overdose. Learn the appropriate language to use when referring to their substance dependence to communicate with them effectively and productively.

4. Lead With Compassion

When talking to your loved one, lead with patience and compassion, remembering that addiction is a disease that has taken over their body and mind, like any other medical illness where compassion is warranted.

5. Create a Plan

Creating a clear plan on how to proceed with a loved one’s battle with addiction can yield productive results. This includes following through with consequences if they don’t initiate a change.

Get Professional Help

Addiction is a complex illness that often coincides with other mental health or medical issues. When trying to help a loved one battling a substance use disorder, it is critical to seek professional help.  At Lake Ave Recovery, we offer varying levels of care unlike other treatment facilities. We guide individuals down a comprehensive addiction recovery path that includes a Day Treatment Program/Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), Evening Treatment Program, and a flexible Outpatient Program.

Our experienced medical and clinical staff use a comprehensive assessment to determine which level of treatment would be most suitable to ensure your loved one gets the help they deserve. To learn more about our transformative treatment programs, call 508-794-4400.

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Lake Avenue Recovery is a state licensed and Joint Commission accredited organization committed to promoting, maintaining, and restoring the dignity, well-being and mental health for those with substance use disorders and their families serving greater Worcester county and beyond.

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