Denial is a state of mind most addicts go through. It is a characteristic distortion in thought process brought about even in the most rational of individuals. The distortion can be due to multiple reasons, but the most common reason is the social stigma associated with alcohol addiction.
It Cannot Be Me
“It cannot be me” is the first thought most alcohol addicts are known to have come across when they were informed about their addiction. Denial is one of the biggest roadblocks in the way of treating alcohol addiction and in this post I will elaborate on the ways you can deal with denial of alcohol addiction.
Denial is not the same in all individuals suffering from alcohol addiction. Rehab professionals point out that denial is existent in its severest form in those addicts who are resistant to change. Professionals have, over a period of time, tweaked their alcohol rehab plans to suit the extent of denial (or level of unwillingness to change) from person to person.
The first thing to do would be to start helping the individual accordingly. Involve family, friends and partners of people suffering from a high degree of denial. In most cases, people suffering from denial can be persuaded into agreeing to their condition when convinced by the people they trust. You should know the people the patient trusts and convince them to break the news of alcohol addiction to the patient. These people can also be instrumental in persuading the patient to take up professional rehab.
The problem becomes more acute when the extent of denial is so strong in the patient that patient is able to convince his family and friends that they are feeling alright. In such cases, the denial flows through the entire circle of influence and there is no way a health professional can convince the patient into believing his or her addiction to alcohol.
The best way to deal with acute denial is to present the individual and his circle of influence with hard evidence of alcohol addiction and refuse to accept excuses to justify their addiction. You can start listing out the symptoms of alcohol addiction, followed by the common withdrawal symptoms and the health hazards of alcohol addiction. You can then list each of these out to the patient and mark the ones that apply to the patient. Once individuals see a high degree of correlation between the contents on the list and the ones that apply to them, they would be forced into believing their addiction.
As a healthcare professional or a friend helping another friend to cope with alcohol rehab, you should be careful when the patient shuns the denial and moves into acceptance. The transition can be heart- breaking for some patients and it may catapult the patient into long-term depression. Each time you make the patient aware about his or her condition, ensure that you bolster confidence in overcoming the condition. Ensure that the transition from denial to acceptance is smooth and they are serious about fighting the addiction.