man in denial

It may be common knowledge that individuals suffering from substance abuse problems routinely deny that they have a problem or that they need help, but few individuals understand why denial occurs. In fact, few people understand why drug use occurs in the first place, or how it can proceed into drug abuse and addiction.

Drug Use

Life is normally and naturally full of challenges, difficulties and problems. Some of these challenges, difficulties and problems may be quite small, like boredom, and some may be quite large, like extremely painful physical illness. How someone handles these situations largely depends upon the individual himself. One individual may handle their problems by attacking them head-on and persisting until they are resolved, another individual may handle their problems by trying to avoid them as much as possible, and some individuals choose to use drug substances to suppress the undesirable symptoms of their life problems.

When an individual has been taking a drug substance for some time, they body grows to tolerate this substance and will no longer experience the desired effects as a result of its use.

The individual may solve this new problem by taking even larger quantities of drug substances, or more potent drug substances, which can push them into drug dependence. After its normal functions have been interrupted by drug substances for a period of time, the body establishes a new “normal” which includes these substances. Drug dependence may cause the individual to experience powerful cravings and uncomfortable, painful and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms if they fail to keep a sufficient quantity of drug substances in the body.

By the time the individual is suffering from drug addiction and compulsively continuing their drug-seeking behavior despite all its damaging effects, he has piled so many new physical, mental and emotional problems on top of the original ones he was trying to suppress that he may not even recall why he started using drugs in the first place.


An individual who is suffering from substance abuse and addiction problems can only effectively and permanently resolve them if he is able to spot, address and resolve the many causes and effects of drug use. This means that they have to take responsibility not only for the original problems they wanted to avoid, but for all the other problems their drug use has caused. This can be very overwhelming and embarrassing for the individual, and so they fall into denial.

There are many different forms of denial, including:

● Refusing to talk about one’s problems.

● Saying that one doesn’t have problems.

● Saying that one’s problems are not very significant.

● Excusing one’s problems as necessary or normal in response to life situations.

● Blaming others for one’s problems.

● Saying that others have worse problems.

● Refusing to address one’s problems while pretending to work on them.

● Admitting one has problems only if someone else will solve them.

● Saying one feels okay, so they must not have any problems anymore.

● Saying that there is no way to handle one’s problems.

● Arguing that one’s problems are their business alone.

No matter how a substance abuser denies their problems with drugs, they need help in the form of professional rehabilitation treatment in order to recover their health, their self-confidence, their self-respect and their responsibility for their life. An individual who denies that their drug use is a problem is essentially saying that they have a problem and they don’t want to handle it. This means that they need help, support and encouragement from others in order to take responsibility for their life, and put it back together. It may not be a smooth or easy journey, but it will be well worth it when drugs are eliminated and they are once again healthy, happy and productive.



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