Why Do Alcoholics Lie and Blame Others?

Alcohol addiction is a brain disease that can lead to irrational, unbalanced and unhealthy behavior patterns. People with the disorder may become violent or engage in risky behaviors. It can also cause people to lie to feed their addiction or blame others for their drinking problem.
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Alcohol addiction causes distorted thinking. Many people with the disorder lie and blame others for their actions. It is a hurtful reality that many families experience. But knowing the behavioral consequences of alcohol addiction can help people understand the disease and help loved ones seek treatment.

Denial is a common outcome of alcoholism. The disease affects neurochemistry, and alcoholics typically refuse to believe they have an alcohol use disorder. In some instances, their denial causes them to fail to recognize how their substance abuse is affecting their lives.

These individuals may become offended or enraged if someone suggests they may have a drinking problem. Denial is a defense mechanism for people suffering from addiction, and it is one factor that can keep them from seeking life-saving treatment.

Blame Is an Outcome of Denial

Many people with alcohol addiction grapple with guilt and anger, which can lead to blame. People may blame loved ones or employers for causing stress that led to their drinking problems. Or they may point the finger at a friend or co-worker for buying them a beer in the past.

A person’s denial spurs blame. For some, blaming others protects them from taking responsibility themselves. Denial, blame and dishonesty may anger loved ones, but it is important to understand that these actions are a product of the disease rather than a true representation of the person’s character.

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Lying Is a Characteristic of Alcoholism

Many people with alcohol addiction lie to hide their drinking habits or the severity of their addiction. They may say they worked late when they really spent time at a bar. Or they may say they’ve only had one beer when they’ve actually had many more.

Lying is common among people with alcoholism. For these individuals, dishonesty can be intentional or unintentional. They may lie to simultaneously maintain their drinking habits and their relationships with loved ones. They may also engage in evasion, deception and manipulation to distort the truth about their alcoholism.

Alcoholism Is Stigmatized

Many people today do not view addiction as a disease, which it is. Some believe it is a moral problem. And much of society places blame on people with alcoholism. This stigma creates shame, guilt and fear in individuals who are addicted to alcohol. As a result, many people hide their disease from the public.

People with an alcohol addiction may lie to mask shame or to avoid ridicule from their peers. In some cases, stigma causes people with alcoholism to avoid rehab. A 2007 study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse showed that 37 percent of college students avoided seeking substance abuse treatment for fear of stigma.

Fear of Change Can Lead to Lying or Blaming Others

Many people with the disorder are reluctant to seek rehab, partly because alcohol is a central part of their life. They are not ready to stop drinking. And they know that rehab could compromise their relationship with alcohol.

Individuals with alcohol problems go to great lengths to avoid change. As a result, they lie about their drinking or blame others for their problems. However, these behaviors can fracture their relationships, threaten their employment and exacerbate their addiction.

Treatment Is Critical to Recovery

In many cases, the blaming and lying will not stop until the alcoholic admits to having a drinking problem. To help these individuals consider rehab, many families hold interventions. These meetings allow family members to persuade a loved one to seek help for addiction.

Shedding the stigma associated with addiction may reduce the reluctance to seek treatment. Without guilt and fear, alcoholics may not feel the need to lie or blame others for their problems. Instead, they might be more open about their drinking problems and more motivated to seek resources for alcoholics.

Completing alcohol rehab is a proven method for overcoming alcoholism. In rehab, people undergo alcohol detox, learn about the dangers of alcoholism and find new ways to avoid drinking. They also learn how to live healthy lives without alcohol.

Coping with Another’s Alcoholism

The effects of alcoholism on families include stress, anxiety and depression. For help coping with negative emotions related to your loved one’s drinking problems, consider attending Al-Anon or another 12-step program for friends and family members of alcoholics. These support groups allow you to interact with people in similar situations. You can also learn strategies to alleviate stress and manage strains on your mental health.

Medical Disclaimer: DrugRehab.com aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Matt Gonzales
Content Writer, DrugRehab.com
Matt Gonzales is a writer and researcher for DrugRehab.com. He graduated with a degree in journalism from East Carolina University and began his professional writing career in 2011. Matt covers the latest drug trends and shares inspirational stories of people who have overcome addiction. Certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in health literacy, Matt leverages his experience in addiction research to provide hope to those struggling with substance use disorders.
Medical Reviewer
Ashraf Ali
Psychiatrist, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

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