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Denial in addiction

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1. DENIAL IN ADDICTION Presented By: Nicole Lewis 2. Denial A primitive psychological defense mechanism by which a person UNCONSCIOUSLY rejects some or all of the meanings of an event or situation. The #1 symptom of addiction. Dubbed the Hallmark of Addiction. Of the 23.1 million needing treatment, 20.8 million didnt receive it and 95% said it was because they felt they didnt need it. 3. Denials Relationship to Substance Abuse Its like a mask that an addict can wear to help them ignore && avoid the consequences for their actions. People in addiction lie in order to conceal and maintain their unhealthy behaviors. 4. Is Denial a Choice? Lets take a closer look at the definition PRIMITIVE is a characteristic of the early state of human development. So its like saying that denial is ingrained in us, its something that our brain does without us always noticing. DEFENSE MECHANISM is a way for our minds to protect us from being consciously aware of thoughts or feelings that are too difficult for us to accept. UNCONSCIOUS is like saying we use it without even knowing its being used. Sometimes yes they do know the truth but choose to lie about it. Generally speaking though, denial is not a deliberate, willful act on the part of the person who is abusing substances; rather, its a set of defenses and distortions in thinking, typically caused by the use of substances. 5. Is denial a bad thing? No. Our denial defenses were designed to help us cope in stressful and traumatic situations. Denial is meant for short-term protection from painful news or traumatic experiences. Example: finding a lump in your throat It can be a healthy coping mechanism because it gives you time to adjust to painful or stressful situations by allowing your mind the opportunity to unconsciously absorb shocking or distressing information at a pace that wont send you into a psychological tailspin. 6. So when substance abusers utilize denial techniques, how are they being protected? THEY ARENT!! Misuse of denial The only thing they are really protecting is their addiction. Addicts are denying reality to so that they can keep engaging in unhealthy behaviors. This is when denial can be harmful. When it comes to substance abuse, denial is detrimental to treatment. 7. How Does Treatment Impact the Denial System? Treatment programs bring patients problems to the surface and it forces them to see their addiction for what it is. Treatment programs are designed to provide information that makes people aware of their problems and ultimately, to break through their denial. Treatment is aimed at getting patients get in touch with themselves. Once in treatment, all of the things addicts have been trying to protect themselves from thinking and feeling suddenly surrounds them. Eventually they are forced to stare their problem in the face. That makes it pretty much impossible for them to keep denying the problem exists. So instead of understanding themselves and their addiction, that 95% refused treatment so they could continue using and pushing their unwanted thoughts, memories, or feelings away. Treatment programs, if nothing else, plant a seed of change and teach fresh ways of doing things that incorporate positive actions to take root. It might not grow right away, but over time, it is expected to flourish. 8. Stage 1: a person flat-out refuses to admit they have a problem with substances. They might accept being addicted but they dont see it as a problem. Ultimately, in stage one, they flat-out deny their addiction entirely. Typically towards the end of stage one, they consider themselves to be a drug abuser, but not chemically dependent. 9. Stage 2: a person denies the need for ongoing sobriety support after treatment is completed. Learning new patterns for thinking and behaving requires steady reinforcement. It is so easy to fall back into old habits, even after those habits have been broken. This stage usually doesnt surface until after a treatment program has been completed. People in stage 2 denial typically think they can maintain their sobriety on their own. This stems from an addict refusing to feel that they are powerless to their substance. Therefore, they deny the need for outside help and refuse to seek support from groups such as 12- step programs, outpatient treatment programs, aftercare treatment, or other support groups. Good intentions during treatment, do not guarantee program action after patients have been discharged. 10. Stage 3: refusing to go to any length during recovery. People in stage 3 are in denial that they are in need of obtaining a sponsor and refusing to work the 12-steps. Working the 12-Steps is critical!!!! Fully applying yourself while working the 12-Steps will help you identify the traits that make you unhappy, let go of those traits, and learn something better in their place. The steps are a way to recognize and remember core values. Working them is almost like a roadmap back to humanity. The 12-Steps are by no means an easy process. In fact they are incredibly difficult. But putting forth the effort to work them is a commitment to your sobriety and mental health. 11. Why are 12-Step Support Groups So Important? It demonstrates a high commitment to sobriety. It provides a constant reminder to keep thinking and living life differently. It breaks the cycle of feeling isolated by providing a support group. 12. Rationalizing The person offers reasons or excuses to use substances. They try to explain away their substance use by making up good explanations for why they use and what is really causing their problem. Everyone at my school drinks. Its my birthday so Im going to drink. Avoiding/Diverting Somewhere deep inside the addict is afraid that they might have a problem with drugs or alcohol; but they find that when they dont think or talk about it, they feel okay. They change the subject and avoid talking about their drug or alcohol use as much as possible. You ask: Were you drinking last night? They reply: Whats for dinner? The 7 Deadly Denial Sins!! 13. The 7 Deadly Denial Sins!! Minimizing Someone makes something seem smaller than what it is. They try to make their usage seem unimportant like its no big deal. Keywords: Only and Just. I only smoke a little bit of weed, and its just at night to help me sleep. 14. Lying Being flat-out dishonest about substance use entirely. Substance users tend to weave a confusing and complex web of lies to cover their tracks. I quit. The 7 Deadly Denial Sins!! 15. 7 Deadly Denial Sins Continued Blaming Avoiding responsibility for their choices and actions by making it seem like other people or factors cause their problems. I get high because my parents wont stop nagging me. Comparing Comparing their substance use to another persons usage in an attempt to make their problem seem smaller. Showing others are worse than them proves that they dont have serious problems. Sally shoots up heroin and Im only smoking a little bit of weed. Anger By getting angry about being confronted about their substance use, they are focusing on the anger and trying to ignore the actual issue, which is their substance use. I HATE YOU!! You went through my personal stuff to find these drugs!!

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