If you have a loved one with an addiction, you may have found that every time you talk to them about it, they seem to deny it. You hear phrases like, “I know I know, I’ll quit tomorrow” or “I can quit anytime I want, it’s not that big of a deal”. They may become defensive or may even make jokes to detract attention away from the situation. No matter how hard you try and tell them that you believe they’ve got a serious issue on their hands, you either get a handful of excuses or worse – false promises of saying that they’ll seek help, attend treatment, etc. – and then they don’t. You may feel like you’ve been let down, and you have every right to be upset about it. Addiction is a disease that affects the brain and thought processes, so it’s important for you to know that your loved one may not purposefully be lying to you – it’s likely just the addiction talking.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as, “A chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward, motivation, and memory functions.”
What exactly does this mean? Well, it means that your friend, partner or loved one may not be in the right mindset to be able to acknowledge they have an addiction because, well, that wouldn’t be addiction!
Addiction is a greedy disease, and it always asks for more than a person initially bargains for. It causes people to place the needs of the addiction first above anything else – so admitting that there is a problem would naturally squash the addiction before it had a chance to really take things over, and that would just be too easy. This is what leads people to lie, steal and say mean things even though these behaviors would typically be very out of character for your loved one – because now, chasing the addiction has become #1 priority.
Business Insider also notes that the withdrawal symptoms in and of themselves (depending on which drug, the severity, the person’s medical history and more) can be so painful that a person physically cannot stand to not satisfy the cravings. Imagine an intense itch on your head that only seems to get stronger when you don’t scratch it – with addiction, it’s very much like this. If your loved one won’t admit to struggling with addiction, this doesn’t mean that they cannot seek help. Sometimes it is through the court system, but other times, families can host interventions to help their loved one realize just how much damage addiction is doing to them.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.
Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.