Signs of drug addiction denial

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

  • Suggested Resources

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    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
    Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, "It's not your fault!" and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list.

    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
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    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

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Addiction denial | Clinical Center "Psychiatry-Narcology"

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The term anosognosia means the denial of the disease, the lack of criticism of one's condition and is a characteristic symptom of alcoholism. At the same time, even in the later stages of the disease, a person denies the existence of dependence and categorically refuses treatment. Anosognosia is an evolutionarily formed property of alcoholism, which in many ways allowed this pathology to spread so widely. Denial is a psychological defense mechanism inherent in every person, helping the mind to "close" problems that it cannot accept or survive. One of the first to describe the nature of psychological denial was Sigmund Freud.

Denying the problem and believing that you can stop drinking at any time is a typical mistake in the thinking of an addict. As a rule, an addicted person can only last for a while, after which alcohol returns to his life again.

Usually an alcoholic decides not to drink for a certain period to prove that he has not lost control, for example, under the influence of a promise made to loved ones, or out of shame for what he has done. But anyway, in a month or a year, he will start drinking again. The very essence of the disease is that a person has an illusion of control.

Denial is the addict's way of preventing himself from realizing reality. It is a way to protect yourself from pain and suffering. Denial is used in order not to meet with painful feelings and experiences, in order not to see the grief of loved ones, not to be aware of the "bottom" on which the user finds himself. Addiction denial is a major roadblock to recovery that needs to be overcome. Therefore, one of the first tasks in recovery from addiction is to overcome denial. Protracted denial is also dangerous because the addict accumulates serious problems, which he stubbornly does not recognize. The life of an alcoholic and his loved ones goes into decline. Social skills and abilities acquired over the years disappear, relationships with other people deteriorate. As a result, it turns out that the problem is growing, and the forces to solve it are less and less.

The list (though not complete) of denials will surprise you to learn that many of the phrases you hear from addicts are actually just psychological defenses of your drinking.

  • Absolute negation. "I do not have problems. I can't be addicted."
  • Minimization. “I don't use that much. I know it's a problem, but it's not as serious as others think."
  • Leaving by denial. “I won't talk about it. I am ready to talk about anything, but not about my addiction.
  • Shaking care. “I will talk about anything but my addiction, I have more interesting topics to talk about. I can talk you to death."
  • Leaving with the help of a scandal. “You will bitterly regret talking to me about addiction. I will ruin not only your mood, but your whole life if you don’t shut up right now.”
  • Search for a scapegoat. “I use exclusively because of my wife (father, mother, brother, sister, etc.). If you were married to a woman like mine (had a job like mine), you would use just as much as I do.”
  • Rationalization. "When my use is pointed out to me, I can swindle anyone by arguing for the use."
  • Reference to authority. "Many great people have used drugs, many geniuses have been alcoholics, the use has even stimulated their inspiration."
  • Comparison. “I don’t drink as much as my boss, and he doesn’t have a problem. I knew a man who has been injecting for 30 years and nothing, he lives.

An alcoholic is able to give convincing arguments that he is not addicted, because of which his relatives often believe him, often enter into a state of co-dependence. Moreover, denials help the addict and himself to believe in this lie, stabilize his emotional state and convince himself that everything is in order.

You need to understand that the situation itself will not be resolved, because not a single disease goes away without treatment. Moreover, with each passing day, addiction will absorb a person more strongly. An integrated approach will help to find a sober life, and not just cleansing the body with a dropper. With the systematic use of mind-altering chemicals, psychophysical dependence is formed. Inaction in relation to her sometimes costs life.

Denial of addiction is a natural psychological stage. But a long stuck in the phase of ignoring the disease is detrimental to the patient and his loved ones. Addiction can grow at the speed of a wind-blown fire. And every month it is more and more difficult to snatch a person from her tenacious paws. Overcoming addiction must begin with a comprehensive discussion of the treatment and recovery process with specialists, otherwise the result can be deplorable. Only by fully overcoming denial can one move further along the path of one's own recovery.

How addiction manifests itself. Signs of alcohol and drug addiction.

- Articles - How addiction manifests itself. Signs of alcohol and drug addiction.

  1. Pathological craving for alcohol. Pay attention to how many times a day thoughts about alcohol or drugs visit you or your loved ones.
  2. Altered tolerance to alcohol and drugs is any change, increase and decrease in dose or transition from one drink to another. Here it is obvious that when replacing with stronger and cheaper alcoholic beverages, the problem grows. But when switching to slightly less weak and more elite ones, so to speak, "tasty", they are left without attention. In fact, a person adapts to the use of alcohol. The vomiting, protective mechanism of the body does not allow drinking alcohol, and a person, bypassing this reflex, picks up alcohol, which "goes better".
  3. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome-AAS. AAS was first described by S.G. Zhislin (1929). People are frivolous about this condition, and this is alcohol intoxication, poisoning. Many domestic and foreign psychiatrists regard a hangover as a sign of a fully formed alcoholism. In the same way as withdrawal speaks of a drug addiction that has formed. Withdrawal syndrome is manifested by mental, somatovegetative and neurological disorders. There is sweating, tachycardia, dry mouth, aversion to food. A person's face "swells up", pain and discomfort appear in the heart, stomach, head, blood pressure drop, chills, diarrhea or constipation. The emotional state is not stable, anxiety, fear, excitement, tension. A person resorts to a hangover to alleviate the condition and the addiction trap closes. Some justify themselves by not getting hungover. But if you take a closer look at the situation, it becomes clear that the hangover does not occur due to external factors, such as work or judgments of others, etc.
  4. Alcohol and drug amnesia. This is a complete or partial loss of memory. For example: I don’t remember how I went to bed or I don’t remember how to get home from the restaurant.
  5. Changes in patterns of alcohol and drug use. For example: "We took a walk yesterday, not when it wasn't like that." I always used it on weekends, and now also on weekdays, before I went to the store once, and now twice, etc.
  6. Impaired awareness of the disease. This is a separate topic, a whole article is needed here. It is about denying the problem of use, avoiding it by a person. These psychological defenses work with any addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. A person downplays problems, creates the illusion of a normal life. He believes in himself and imposes it on others. Located in the past, when the problem was not so obvious. He boasts of his successes, but hides his failures. Looking for benefits from alcohol and drug use. Uses alcohol to relieve stress, as a way to get away from problems. Or outright denial, refusal of treatment, opposition to doctors, "I am not sick at all, no treatment is needed." There is a partial denial, "I want to get rid of addiction, but you won't help me", "I tried everything, nothing helped, I don't believe in anything." In this state, a person takes treatment only to get rid of a hangover or withdrawal, after relief continues to use.
  7. Personality changes. There are other names for the disease of addiction "disease of loneliness". A person becomes unloved, withdrawn, unsociable, lonely. Problems with friends, colleagues with creating or maintaining a family. Another name for addiction is "frozen feelings disease".
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