Addicted to Denial: Dr Bonnie Explains the Common Factor in Addictions and How to Beat It

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People are succumbing to a "new" addiction - Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil explains she's seeing more denial in her practice, along side specific types of addiction. Denial is the common factor in all addictions, so much so that people may become addicted to denial itself.

Relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil says people are "addicted to denial" because it enables them to continue in their addiction without seeking help. Denial isn't the addiction itself, but it's the building block of all addictions, explains Dr. Bonnie, and it has a powerful hold on people.

"Ignorance is bliss," points out Dr. Bonnie, "and people suffering from addiction don't want to face the fact that they may have a problem." Addicts are often self-medicating to abate feelings of stress, separation, or loss. Instead of dealing healthfully with their problems they turn to things like financial infidelity, affairs, drinking, and drugs. "This gives them a temporary fix, and on the surface it's much easier to self-medicate than to seek proper treatment," Dr. Bonnie observes.

They are looking for that thrill-seeking high, and when they have it - though the feeling may be fleeting - they don't see any reason why they should seek help. "Addicts will crash from this feeling, of course," Dr. Bonnie says, "but it's enough to keep them in a cycle of denial, to keep them from getting better."

Friends and loved ones will have a hard time convincing the addict that they are in denial. One tactic Dr. Bonnie suggests is that loved ones and significant others give the addict a "brush with death." It's often the only thing that can snap someone out of their denial - they will start missing these people in their life and stop taking them for granted through their own actions. Don't feel sorry for them, stay the course, advises Dr. Bonnie. It often takes a person struggling with denial a while to snap out of it! Unless there is movement or change - remember, it's important not to waver when the person pleads their case. Don't listen to words, look at the movement, cautions Dr. Bonnie.

It's also crucial to explain to the addict that a condition for being "re-admitted" into their normal life is to realize they have a problem and to seek help for it. "It's easy to give lip service to their problem, in order to get their life back, but they need to make a visible, actionable change."

For Dr. Bonnie's advice for dealing with someone in denial, click here: And check out her book, Make Up Don't Break Up, which explores the Brush with Death more extensively.

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