What Is The Impact Of Denial?

According to most definitions, denial psychology is a “defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality.”

Here is a good summary of “Denial” I found on an internet article:

Psychology has identified denial as the primary defense mechanism that most people use to cope with highly stressful situations. It often involves blocking external events from our conscious awareness. Essentially, if a situation is too much for us to handle, then we refuse to experience it at all. That doesn’t make the facts or the reality of the situation go away, but it allows us to pretend that it isn’t real, therefore reducing its impact on us.

While denial might reduce your anxiety in the short term, the reality is that it’s not an effective way to deal with a situation in the long term. Eventually, the reality of the circumstances kicks in, and then you have to deal with it. You may turn to blame to address your feelings of anxiety or guilt, trying to put the responsibility for your feelings onto someone else.

Avoiding situations or assigning blame can hurt your relationships in the long run, so denial is likely to cause more problems than it solves over time.

Turning to the healthcare arena: “Denial” is a very common defense mechanism that people use to avoid confronting potentially significant medical issues.  Chest pains may be chalked up to “indigestion” or “chest wall pain”, denying the more potentially serious condition of coronary artery blockage.  The progressive memories lapses are attributed to jokes about “brain farts” as opposed to being worked up for a potential serious dementia.

Now, focusing on weight control: Often, people will be in some sort of “denial state” by: 1- not getting on a scale for months despite feeling clothes fitting much differently 2- “hiding” their weight with clothes specifically worn to not show the actual weight.

The first step in taking actions to prevent/treat medical problems is to confront the issue(s).  “Denial” will delay taking those steps needed to protect against serious diseases or treat them if those diseases are already present.

Are you in a state of “Denial” as this relates to your own health status?  If so, please try to break free of this protective (albeit dangerous) psychological state and address the “reality”.  In the case of weight control, this requires getting on that scale, seeing the actual number and then game planning how to get that weight off.  Need our help?  Call us!