When a person is struggling with an addiction, he might try to deny that anything is wrong. Instead of admitting that he needs help with his addiction, he may make excuses in order to cover up the addiction-related problems in his life. Additionally, his friends and family may also try to hide the addiction with excuses.
But ignoring addiction and making excuses do nothing to help the person struggling with addiction to regain control of his life. Instead, they can make the person’s life extremely difficult, and can put both the person and those around him in danger.
What Is Addiction?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse categorizes addiction according to the following characteristics:
- Chronic disease that primarily affects the brain
- Relapse is common as with other chronic diseases
- Causes the affected person to engage in compulsive drug seeking and use, even when these behaviors are dangerous and harmful
- Most often starts as a voluntary choice to take the drug, but then affects the person’s brain in such significant ways that the person has a difficult time refusing the substance
Millions of people struggle with addiction each year. SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that in 2012, about 23.1 million people ages 12 and over needed treatment for a substance use problem such as abuse, dependence or addiction. Of these millions of people, though, only 2.5 million actually received any type of treatment at a specialty center.
Out of the 20.6 million people who didn’t receive treatment, only 1.1 million, or 5.4 percent, reported feeling any need to receive drug abuse treatment. These figures suggest that while many people have addictions and related drug use problems, the vast majority of them don’t think that their drug use is serious enough to warrant seeking out professional help.
Common Addiction Excuses
A person who denies that he has a substance use problem will often make excuses to avoid taking responsibility for his harmful and potentially dangerous behavior. Some common excuses that people make when they are dealing with addiction include:
- “It’s not a big deal. I can quit whenever I want” – The person may think that he is in control of the addiction, but the reality is that the addiction is controlling much of his life and influencing many of the decisions he makes every day.
- “I’m not hurting anyone” – He might argue that the addiction only affects him, but everyone around him is also negatively impacted by the addiction, physically, socially or emotionally.
- “I’ll get help at a later date, just not right now” – Many people claim that they will get help after using the substance one more time, but procrastination both increases the person’s risk of harming himself and others and gives the addiction further power in his life.
- “No one can help me with this problem” – The person might believe that his addiction is too difficult to treat, or may have gone through rehabilitation and experienced relapse. Every addiction is treatable, though, and relapse doesn’t have to equal failure in the recovery process.
As Samantha Smithstein explains, denial and excuse-making come into play for many people with addictions because they think they are in control of the problem and can stop whenever they want. Furthermore, since some people associate addiction with weakness and failure, a person might feel ashamed about his addiction and want to hide it from people who might judge him.
The best way to beat addiction, though, is to get professional help, and this often only happens when the person is willing to admit that he is struggling with addiction. Admitting addiction is a difficult first step, but it allows the person to be honest with himself and those around him, and to regain control of his life.
Get More Information About Drug Addiction and Denial
If your friend or family member is struggling with substance abuse or addiction and need professional help, please give us a call at 615-490-9376. We can also help you find a quality interventionist and discuss further treatment options.