Living With an Addict Who Is In Denial

Coping With An Individual Who Won’t Understand

Addiction is a family disease which means it has a negative effect on all of those who are close to the individual. It is not uncommon for addicts to not completely understand how their addiction is affecting those close to them. They often think that it is only their problem and no one else’s. Living with an addict who is in denial about their substance abuse issue, whether it is alcohol or drug related, can be extremely difficult. Oftentimes family members report feeling a loss of hope in getting their loved one to admit that they do in fact have an issue.

There are also adverse effects for those who are living with the addict who is in denial such as feelings of sadness, depression, and anxiety.


Those who are in denial about their substance abuse problem often have an underlying mental health issue such as depression, among others. They may exhibit feelings of no self-worth and hopelessness. The ongoing pattern of depression can have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health which, in turn, will take a toll on your overall well-being.

Depression affects all aspects of your life such as:

    • Your overall mood
    • Your thought patterns
    • Eating habits and routines
  • Sleeping patterns

Overall, those who are in denial almost cannot help themselves since they are in a helpless mental state. They are in denial because they don’t see the severity of the issue at hand and they do not see a reason to stop doing what they are doing.

Living with an individual who is in denial about their addiction and in declining health both mentally and physically is heartbreaking, to say the least. Professional help is needed in order to bring attention to the substance abuse at hand. If dual diagnosis treatment is required, the underlying mental health issue will be resolved prior to the addiction as mental illness is often the root cause of the addiction.

Approaching your loved one and letting them know how much you care about them will help them in making the decision to seek treatment.


Sometimes, depression and anxiety are closely related, each one fueling the other. Anxiety is considered a mental illness that can impair your judgment and ability to think in a rational manner. Anxiety can be the driving force behind a persons denial regarding their substance abuse or addiction issue.

Those who experience clinical anxiety have feelings of:

    • Constant worry
    • Anxiousness on an unhealthy level
    • Always on edge
    • Panic for no reason
  • Fear

In turn, physical health is also often compromised because the individual has a fear of leaving the house or, in the instance of addiction, a fear of what sobriety may entail.

Coping With an Addict in Denial

There is no true easy method to deal with a loved one who is struggling with an addiction and who is in denial about it. Coping with an addict who is in denial requires compassion and care on a constant and consistent basis. You cannot exude feelings of hopelessness and despair as these feelings do not benefit any party involved.

Encouraging the individual to seek help from support groups such as AA and NA meetings is a step in the right direction. These groups will provide the support and encouragement necessary to seek help for addiction. These meetings are generally free of charge and open to all of those who are in need of help.

Since addiction is a family disease, perhaps suggest that the entire family attend these support groups so that it makes it more of an inclusive approach to recovery and treatment.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.