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Definition of Denial

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Updated February 04, 2009

Definition: The term "denial" refers to the process by which people with addictions pretend (to themselves and/or to other people) that they do not have an addiction, when in fact they do, or that their addictive behavior is not problematic, when in fact it is. Denial may happen consciously, for example, when the person lies to cover up, or it may happen unconsciously, for example, when they genuinely believe that they do not have a problem. Denial may be partially conscious, for example, when someone admits that they drink more than is sensible, but deny that it causes them problems, when in fact many of the problems they experience are consequences of their drinking.
Pronunciation: din-I-ul
Also Known As: lying to yourself, covering up
Examples:
Joanne was in denial about the negative impact her gambling was having on her marriage.
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