Denial is a psychological defense, a mechanism that we use when to acknowledge a factual reality would cause us to have some degree of discomfort, if not actual emotional pain. Denial is an immature response, often used by children. Their mouth surrounded by chocolate smears they will deny that they got into the cake tin.
The main benefit of using the defense of denial is that it defers retribution. It forces the accuser to be sure of their facts. People both innocent and guilty use the defense of denial – justice cannot be served without some further line of inquiry, and hopefully, for the guilty, something might intervene, and let them off the hook.
We all routinely use denial to ease social interactions - that others believe us is not the issue, we have come up with an acceptable face saving story, and we are sticking to that. Alcoholics and drug addicts are notorious for their denial – about the amount that they drink, that they have a problem. When forced point blank to accept that their substance abuse is an issue, they often support their denial with accusations against others, saying that they are to blame, for the situation.
People dealing with addictions need to be very aware that addictions are not a disease, don’t magically appear. Addiction is a response to relational dynamics. When an addict makes complaints, that relate to the causes of his addiction, he should be listened to with care. There is no help for an addict from people unable to accept responsibility for any part that they play in the cycle of addiction.
True it is the responsibility of the addict to get himself sorted out, but being open to change is a two way street. Families and communities that are attempting to deal with the problem of drugs and addiction may find that issues that lead to drug use could be resolved by honest communication between all interested parties, instead of self protective denials.
At a deeper level, people use the defense of repression – the driver of which is shame. We repress from our conscious mind, aspects of our selves that are inconsistent with an ideal “image”. We use self censorship to maintain an ideal image, repress our failings. In society, censorship is used to repress ideas and concepts that might be inconsistent with or upsetting to the prevailing order.
A MedlinePlus report of June 2011, reveals a staggering drug abuse problem in the USA.
Whilst there is a reported surge in the number of Americans treated for prescription painkiller abuse over the last decade, over 2 million Americans were admitted to drug treatment facilities, in 2009, for problems with a wide range of prescription and illicit drugs.
The statistics provided in the article are not denied by the authorities responsible for providing to addicts effective drug detox and rehabilitation. The responses by authorities, at first glance, make it appear that they have been dealing positively with the situation. A proper reading of the responses would suggest the opposite.
The SAMHSA report states that there were fewer admissions for cocaine and meth use.
With cocaine and meth use increasing, what looks at first like a promising sign is in fact overwhelmingly negative in terms of drug rehabilitation and recovery.
The SAMHSA report is said to record trends in the reasons why people are admitted to substance abuse facilities.
The reasons why people are admitted to substance abuse facilities is to obtain assistance with addiction recovery. Any statistician could have gathered the results – gathering statistics is not what the job of addiction recovery is about.
The new report indicates widespread drug abuse.
What people want to know is where to go for addiction recovery, where can they get effective treatment, not how many people have been admitted, and what types of drugs they have been using.
“This new report shows the challenge our nation’s health system must address – people often arrive in treatment with multiple problems”, reports a SAMHSA administrator.
The new report reveals an escalating problem, that is quite simply out of control. The problem of addiction has not been resolved by the public health system in over a decade.
Whilst health care reform might be improving the delivery of health services, these services would not appear to be effective to reduce drug addiction or to provide people with complete drug addiction recovery.
The problem of drugs and drug addiction is a community problem, not a challenge that we must wait for public health services to address.
It is indeed a cause for shame, something to be denied or repressed, that the public health services don’t have the answers where drug addiction is concerned.
For people who want to obtain effective, complete recovery from their alcohol or drug addiction, there is an alternative.
Comprehensive alcohol and drug addiction recovery centers have had success in the field of complete alcohol and drug rehabilitation for over forty years – using drug free methods that are effective, natural and safe.
Comprehensive addiction recovery centers are part of the community – continuing to provide effective help for drug use and drug addiction as a community service.