How To Help an Addict in Denial

how to help an addict in denial

Trying to convince an addict in denial to get some help can be quite frustrating. This happens because many who struggle with a substance use disorder (SUD) resist admitting they have a problem. For some helpful suggestions on how to help an addict in denial, please read on.

What Are the Signs of Addiction?

There are certain signs and symptoms that indicate a SUD is present. If your loved one is exhibiting some of these symptoms, it is hard for them to deny the problem:

  1. Increased tolerance. They need to consume more of the substance to get the desired high.
  2. Drinking or using alone. They engage in substance abuse resulting in intoxication while alone.
  3. Lie about your substance use. They may lie to cover up the excessive amount you are consuming.
  4. Doctor shopping. If they abuse pills they may attempt to obtain more refills by doctor shopping.
  5. Cravings.  Their brain and nervous system are altered in response to the constant dopamine surges, and this results in cravings.
  6. Relationship trouble. Their excessive substance use can take a toll on relationships because the substance becomes the top priority.
  7. Legal problems. They may have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  8. Avoid social gatherings. They may have begun to withdraw from friends and avoid social gatherings.
  9. Adverse life consequences. They might experience loss of employment, relationship or marital problems, health problems, and mental health issues.
  10. Withdrawal symptoms. They experience a cluster of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when the substance wears off.

What is a High Functioning Addict?

The person that you suspect has a substance use problem may believe that their drug or alcohol use is not evident. In some cases, this could actually be true. High functioning addicts are able to perform well at their jobs or in social settings, even though they have SUD.

Someone who is high functioning is able to go about their daily routine without showing signs of being high. In some cases, this may be someone with a high tolerance to the effects of alcohol. They just don’t appear to be intoxicated, even with a substantial blood alcohol content.

Some people who use drugs may combine the drugs to negate the effects of one drug with the other. This person, too, won’t display the overt signs of drug use because they are controlling the symptoms.

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Common Obstacles to Treatment

So, why does the addict continue to deny they have a problem? Many times, fear is at the root of their denial, among other reasons. Here are some of the most common obstacles that prevent someone from admitting they have a SUD:

  1. No time for treatment. It is hard to carve out a month or more for someone to address their SUD. They may avoid facing their problem because they don’t see how they can get time off for rehab.
  2. Fear of detox. Just thinking about the difficult detox and withdrawal phase of treatment can stoke immense stress and fear.
  3. Can’t afford treatment. One of the most common excuses to avoid treatment is the cost of rehab.
  4. Fear of stigma. They may have legitimate concerns about how their career might be negatively impacted if it becomes known that they went to rehab.

How to Help the Addict in Denial

There are steps you can take to help guide your friend or loved one toward seeking treatment:

  1. Get informed. Before making an attempt to get someone into treatment, you need to get educated. Research their SUD so you will be able to discuss it with them from a place of knowledge. Learn about the different types of rehab, the costs, and what to expect. By being informed, you will be more confident about how you can help them find the right type of treatment.
  2. Check insurance coverage. Each person’s healthcare plan is different. Help them to reach out to their insurer to get the details about what benefits their plan offers. This allows them to plan the financial aspects of treatment by knowing what the out of pocket expenses will be. If cost is an issue, ask the rehab if they offer in-house financing options to help manage the expense.
  • Discuss with family members. To improve the chances the loved one will be receptive, the family should come together as a source of support. Discuss the logistics of rehab, offer to participate in family therapy, attend meetings, and remove alcohol and pills from the home.
  1. Ask them to see a doctor. Sometimes, a doctor is the best person to suggest rehab. If they will agree to get a physical with labs, the doctor can then discuss the findings and recommend treatment. A medical professional may hold more sway in convincing the loved one that they need help.
  2. Have a calm conversation. After you have become informed, find a quiet moment to sit down with the loved one to calmly discuss rehab options. Suggest a detox where the withdrawal symptoms will be closely managed. Suggest they visit the H.R. department to procure a medical leave of absence. Be compassionate and supportive, not judgmental.
  3. Plan an intervention. Sometimes it takes a professional intervention to convince someone in denial that they need treatment. An intervention is a meeting involving the addict and their close family and friends. An interventionist will plan the intervention and guide the family members to the best outcome.

It is absolutely possible to persuade someone in denial that they would benefit from treatment by following these tips.

Capo by the Sea Luxury Addiction Treatment Center

Capo by the Sea is a leader in the addiction recovery industry. Our multi-modal treatment approach helps those with substance use disorder and dual diagnosis break free from the disease of addiction. If your addict is in denial, consider our intervention services to help persuade them of their need for treatment. Call us today at (888) 529-2114.