When you scrape your knee and it begins to bleed, you seek out a Band-Aid. When your appendix becomes inflamed and threatens to burst, you head to the hospital and have it taken out. And when you come down with a cold, you take a decongestant to clear your head.
You’d expect, then, that addicts would similarly seek out treatment when they struggle with drug addiction. But this isn’t always the case.
Why Do Addicts Refuse Help?
This is a deep and difficult question. Feelings of vulnerability, denial and confusion often play a role in addicts refusing help, but it also helps to understand where the person is coming from.
Here are the top seven reasons addicts refuse to get treatment for drug or alcohol abuse:
- They’re in Denial
This may be the biggest reason people struggling with addiction decline treatment. Most don’t think they actually have a problem. They tell themselves they can quit anytime, and they actually believe it.
The problem is, they can’t — and they’re scared to admit to themselves that they might have a serious problem.
- They’re Scared of Detox
Detox, the process of getting the alcohol or drugs out of the person’s system, can be frightening for an addict. Although detox can be frightening, it is manageable. Unfortunately, individuals struggling with addiction can build it up so much in their heads that they believe continuing to suffer through substance abuse is preferable to a few days of detox.
- They Don’t Want to Change
Change is terrifying. If a person has always had the same circle of friends, who also happen to be drug addicts, they may be scared to seek help. They may worry they’ll be pushed out of the group or shunned. It’s more the fear of that looming change, and the threat of having to start over and find new friends, that keeps people from seeking help.
- They Fear They Will Fail
The statistics aren’t always reassuring. History says forty to sixty percent of individuals who have been addicted to drugs or alcohol will relapse during their lives. That can be enough for many addicts to say, why bother? What’s the point of working so hard to recover, when it’s likely it won’t stick?
This mindset is rooted in the fear of failure. They don’t want to look like a failure. They fear being ridiculed for their lack of success, even though any time you try to overcome addiction, you’re winning. Still, failure is a scary and real possibility, and it’s not an easy fear to conquer.
- They Don’t Want to Be Vulnerable
Vulnerability is at the heart of addiction recovery. Individuals suffering with addiction have to admit their dependence on a substance, and many worry that admittance makes them seem weak. They also realize intensive counseling will be part of their recovery, and that may involve confronting the thoughts and feelings they have been avoiding with substance abuse.
Being vulnerable can feel like lowering your shield, and alcohol and drugs are that shield.
- They Want to Keep Using
Getting high or getting drunk can be a way to mask feelings or cope with troubling times. The person may be drinking to deal with:
- Abuse or neglect
- Relationship troubles
- Traumatic events
In these cases, the person struggling with addiction may find the escape offered by drugs and alcohol pleasurable. They don’t want to lose the joy of that escape, even when it’s impacting their life in other detrimental ways.
- They’re Embarrassed
Nobody likes to be gossiped about. Getting help for alcohol or drug addiction can lead to the sort of attention most people would like to avoid from colleagues, school acquaintances and more. Some people would rather continue to drink and get high rather than face judgment from their peers.
Finding Help for Addicts
These concerns deserve empathy and understanding, even as you try to find help for your loved one. Is someone in your life refusing to get treatment for their drug or alcohol problem? Contact 12 Keys Rehab today to discuss how you can get them the assistance they need.