If every drug or alcohol addict would acknowledge that they have a problem and that they need help, wouldn’t the world be a much better place to live in? Realistically, that may never be the case. When it comes to addiction, denial is one of the main reasons that prevent addicts from getting treatment at a rehabilitation centre.

It has often been said that unless the addicted individual is willing to want to enter into a rehab clinic and that they want to quit using drugs or alcohol, treatment won’t work.

This is one of the biggest myths about addiction treatment. Waiting till an addict reaches the point known as ‘rock bottom’, where the individual realises that they need help could be too late.

It’s hard for addicts to admit that they have a problem and they most likely won’t. The drug they’re addicted to affects their judgement and ability to make clear and rational decisions.

Forcing someone into treatment is usually seen as the wrong thing to do. In fact, it is actually the right way to approach the situation. Time after time, it has been proven that pressuring someone into a rehab clinic by using ways such as kicking the person out of the house or even getting a court order against them, has no effect on whether treatment will be effective or not. It is the job of the staff at the rehabilitation centre to ensure that the individual adheres to their treatment programs and stays on the path to recovery.

So what can you do? Well here are five ways to help an addict in denial.

1. Learn More about the Addiction

Not many people know that addiction is a brain disease that gets worse over time. When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the only thing that will be on their mind will be when, where and how they will be able to get their next ‘fix’. This may lead to the addict forgetting things that was once important to them, such as their work, family life and hobbies. However, when loved one’s are able to get to grips with the fact that addiction is a disorder that the addict has no control over, only then will they able to offer the much needed support, serenity and guidance.

2. Start Taking Care of Yourself

Family members and friends need to understand that they can try to help an addict beat their addiction, but unfortunately they can’t control it. What can be controlled is the way they themselves think and act and a good start would be to stop enabling the addict’s addiction. Loved ones should look for guidance from self-help organisations such as Nar-Anon, which helps friends and families who are concerned about a drug problem of another.

3. Set New Boundaries

When family members and friends see their loved one struggling with an addiction, they often put the feelings and requirements of the addict above their own. Setting new boundaries doesn’t mean you are turning your back on the addict, but rather helping them to take responsibility for their own actions, as well as beginning to take care of their own well-being.

4. Do an Intervention

Interventions are a good way to help addicts in denial realise that they have a problem and that they need help. Interventions usually involve the coming together of family members and close friends of an addict, where they will declare their love for the person, explain to them what the addiction has caused and that they need to get help. It’s advisable to seek the help of a professional addiction interventionist, who will be able to correctly structure the intervention and also make sure that things don’t get out of hand.

5. Don’t Give Up

There is no guarantee that the methods mentioned above will work and that an addict will agree to go into treatment and maintain sobriety. What it does is, is let the addict know that you are there for them and that help is available. They may be upset at you now, but once they are in treatment and moving towards recovery, they will be forever grateful for what you have done for them.

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