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Dealing with an Addict in Denial 

The life of an addict is a difficult life, but the life of an addict’s loved one can be just as difficult. When someone you love is caught in substance abuse or chemical dependence, it can hurt you to watch them make the wrong decisions and continually harm themselves. You don’t want to sit around and feel helpless, you want to be able to help the addict in your life and find them inpatient treatment in Ohio. How do you do that if they don’t want to get better or deny they have a problem?

Dealing with an addict in denial is tough, but there are some proven techniques and methods for getting through to them. Let’s learn some of the ways of dealing with an addict in denial and how you can approach the situation with compassion instead of anger. 

Signs of an Addict in Denial 

Many addicts in denial exhibit classic denial symptoms found below. If your loved one is showing these signs it’s likely time to reach out for professional help: 

Believing Harming One’s Self is Fine 

Some addicts know they have a problem but don’t care because they’re only harming themselves and not others. Obviously, if the addict has loved ones, they are being hurt too. The power of addiction can cloud perception and make the addict believe they’re only harming themselves when they’re affecting any life they touch. 

Still in Control 

An addict may claim they’re still in control of their drug or alcohol abuse, despite evidence to the contrary. Real-life examples of how a person is out of control and harming themselves, like a DUI charge, can be used to prove the addict doesn’t have the control they thought they did. 


Addicts in denial love to play the victim card. They believe they’re under stress, that the world is weighing on them, and they use drugs or alcohol to cope with it – what’s the big deal? The victimhood mentality tells the addict they aren’t addicted, they’re just venting. You will need the help of a certified addiction counselor to get out of the victimhood mindset. 

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The Intervention Method 

Thanks to reality television, many know about drug and alcohol interventions. While the interventions you see on TV are real and typically work with addicts in denial, it doesn’t paint the whole portrait of the intervention process. Let’s learn about the two types of interventions and how they work with an addict in denial. 

The Surprise Intervention 

During a surprise intervention, the addict is unaware an intervention is being held until they arrive to it. Though surprise interventions were once a popular tool, they’ve largely fallen out of favor to planned interventions. Surprise interventions are normally too confrontational to bear real fruit and are only necessary if an addict refuses to participate in a planned intervention. 

The Planned Intervention 

The planned intervention has become the most popular and effective way of dealing with an addict in denial. As the name implies addicts are aware the intervention is taking place before they go to it. During a planned intervention the family and addict meets with a certified intervention specialist to review techniques like letter writing and how to handle the intervention for the best success. 

The goal of a planned intervention is to send the addict directly into a treatment program through the use of concrete examples of how addiction has affected their lives and how much they want to see the addict get better. 

Love Over Anger for an Addict in Denial 

In both a surprise and planned intervention, love is your best tool. In an intervention, you use letters and other tools to illustrate both how much love you the addict, but also how much the addict has harmed themselves or others. Demonstrating love for the addict compared to anger for wrongs has shown to be more effective to getting an addict into treatment compared to anger or vitriol which will send the addict out of the intervention and back to using. 

Involuntary Treatment 

Every state treats involuntary treatment differently, so you’ll need to know specific laws before you consider involuntary drug and alcohol treatment. Florida, for example, utilizes the Marchman Act which allows family members to alert authorities if they feel a loved one is an immediate threat to themselves or others. Involuntary treatment is not normally recommended unless the addict is on the precipice of severely harming themselves or others. 

Let it Go 

One of the toughest, but most necessary, things to do is to let go. This can be extremely difficult for an addict’s loved one but if nothing you do makes a difference – why keep torturing yourself? Many addicts rely on both financial and emotional support from their loved ones but might start re-thinking their lives if they’re cut off from both types of support. Letting go involves not speaking with or involving yourself in an addict’s life until they make a commitment to change. Speak with a certified addiction counselor about letting go and how it can help both you and the addict. 

More Resources for an Addict in Denial 

If you’re having troubles dealing with an addict in denial you should try reaching out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) or a local drug treatment center. Both SAMHSA and a local addiction center can arm you with new information and help you craft a plan for an addict in denial depending on their addiction and personality. 

Dealing with an addict in denial is frustrating, heartbreaking, and can drag you down to the addict’s level. Speak with addiction experts about interventions, involuntary treatment if the situation has become uncontrollable, and let go if you have to. With these tips and more you can help get the addict in your life out of the shadows of denial and into a proper treatment program. 

One response to “Dealing with an Addict in Denial 

  • My dad is an alcohol addict, and this is already affecting his everyday life, which is why I’ve decided to start looking for a medical service that may offer an addiction recovery treatment at the comfort of our home. I agree with you that most of the addicts that are in denial of their situation are usually saying that they’re just venting. Well, you’re right that it would be best to communicate with him in any way that I can.

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