Among the more than six million alcohol and drug addicts who need treatment but do not receive it, the psychological construct of denial may be part of what prevents them from receiving this treatment. Denial is a primitive defense mechanism that originated from the psychodynamic school of psychology. Psychoanalysts generally define denial as an unconscious refusal to accept unpleasant experiences that are occurring. Denial is a way the ego, part of the psyche, protects the individual from experiencing overwhelming emotions and threats to self-identity. An example is when a driver continues to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and when he or she gets caught a second time and says, "The cops must have my car tagged." This statement reflects the use of ...

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