What Are Some of the Reasons People with Addiction Lie?

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What Are Some of the Reasons People with Addiction Lie?

Most people who struggle with addiction would not pass a pathological liar test. This is mostly because lying is a hallmark of addiction. The disease of addiction hijacks the brain, which also takes over the parts of a person who might be empathic and aware of their own problems, along with those of others. It leads to behaviors the person often tries to hide or deny. Find out why people with addiction lie and how to support a loved one struggling.

Early Trauma

Trauma early on in a person’s life distorts their belief systems. As they try to self-soothe their painful pasts, their also numb difficult feelings. This can lead to distorted thinking about themselves and reality. People with addiction suffer from a distorted belief system that seeks to help make them feel better in spite of their traumatic experiences. In their worldview, addiction is just what is normal and anything that comes against that is a challenge.

Defense Mechanisms

Addiction is a disease that tricks people into thinking no problem exists, which leads to lying. It grabs a person and takes hold when they don’t want to see or acknowledge the severity of what is happening or why it matters. It is in the disease’s best interest to stay well below radar. Defense mechanisms are often subconscious and can take any forms. This includes:

  • Rationalizing
  • Minimizing
  • Blaming
  • Intellectualizing
  • Manipulating
  • Projecting
  • Accusing
  • Justifying

Lack of Self-Awareness

Depending on the person, their history, and extent of addiction, lying may be an automatic response. Lying can become so ingrained or automatic, they don’t know they’re lying. The person with addiction does not think about what they’re lying about, rather it is a standard response to everything.


Many people dwell for long periods of time in active addiction, believing they are not in the throes of addiction. This means denying a problem exists, the severity of the problem, denying harm done to self and others, and denying self-love. To acknowledge the existence and severity of the problem also means having to take action to address it. People will pull back the veil of denial that has cloaked their ability to see the problem clearly.

People with addiction may be surprised if they fail a test about whether they are a liar. There are lies told intentionally and with full knowledge but it seems the line gets more blurry over time. The best thing to do is find a place to detox, then recover, and work constantly on recovery so that a person can continue engaging in long-term healthy means of healing.

Out of our beautiful custom home in Holladay, Utah, Pinnacle Recovery offers a premiere, customized clinical continuum of care for addiction, alcoholism, and co-occurring disorders. With the healing and inspiring scenery of the breathtaking Utah mountains all around you, you’ll be motivated to work toward deep, lasting change and recovery. Call us today for information on our programs: 866-301-0573

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