Addiction is a disease that can quickly devastate the life of an individual as well as his or her family. Addiction also has a far-reaching impact on the community. If you know someone who is struggling with addiction you may wonder how you can best help them get well.
Why Is Addiction So Hard To Beat?
Addiction is considered a disease because it meets the criteria: It is progressive, meaning that without treatment it will get worse. It is fatal, people die from addiction every day. It is chronic, meaning that it is always present and frequently recurring. Some believe that it is also incurable. By this, it means that even after a period of recovery, there is always a risk that a person who has suffered from addiction in the past can relapse.
Other factors that can make addiction hard to treat and to beat are defense mechanisms such as denial and rationalizing. These mechanisms are developed to protect the addiction and to avoid the reality of the situation.
How Denial Keeps People Using
Denial is a powerful defense mechanism that keeps people from seeing the gravity of their situation. It keeps them believing that they are in control of their using. It convinces them that the consequences that they are facing are the result of circumstances or other people, rather than using drugs and their own actions.This defense mechanism makes confronting the problem difficult for family members and loved ones who are trying to help.If you have ever tried to talk to someone about their drug problem and gotten lied to, stonewalled, yelled at or accused of being “crazy” then you have experienced denial.This denial is what keeps addicts from getting the help they so desperately need.
What Is Confrontational Therapy?
Confrontational therapy is a controversial method of helping addicts to get clean and sober. In the past, confrontational therapy was widely used in treatment as a way to “break down” the ego of an addict so that they could be built back up again. This is similar to boot camp style training and often involves humiliating, demeaning and intimidating the subject until they eventually give in and become open to the treatment.
This therapy has fallen out of favor with the recovery and medical community because in many cases it can be detrimental. This is especially true for people who have experienced trauma, are diagnosed with PTSD or who suffer from mental illness. Confrontational therapy should never be attempted on persons who are suicidal or suffering from trauma or anxiety.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of other behavioral therapies that are quite effective in addiction treatment.
With that said, a milder form of confrontational therapy can be quite useful in helping to break down the layers of denial that the addicted person has often built around themselves.
How Can Confrontational Therapy Help?
Confrontational therapy can be helpful in an intervention setting. Often, it isn’t just the addict who is in denial. The entire family may be experiencing it as well. Sometimes, family members are hesitant to confront their family member for fear that they may drive them away, or hurt their feelings. Addicts are great manipulators and often have a way of turning things around on their friends and family in order to discourage further talk on the subject of their addiction.
Confrontation therapy in this setting involves stripping away the denial and directly and honestly discussing the addiction and the person’s behavior. Letting them know what they have done, how it has affected their family and what it is doing to their health can be just what the addict needs to hear. Addicts often avoid thinking about how their addiction affects those around them. Denial can lead them to believe that they aren’t hurting anyone but themselves, and they are usually fine with that. Hearing in a direct, unapologetic manner exactly how their actions affect others is often jarring enough to motivate them to get help.
It is also helpful to confront them with their consequences. This may mean letting them know that you will be withdrawing financial support, or that you will no longer allow them to live with you unless they get help.
Finding Help For Addiction And Denial
If you know someone who is in the midst of addiction, and you don’t know what to do to help them, contact Recovery Hub to learn how. Whether you want to find out where to find the best treatment, or you want to learn about detox or intervention services in your area, WE can connect you and your loved one with the help you need. Call 888-220-4352 today.