What to Do When a Loved One is in Denial About Needing Help


When someone close to you is struggling it can be incredibly heartbreaking. Not only is it tough, but it can be even harder when that person is in denial. Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with psychiatric illness. Your friend or loved ones could be worried that people may call them negative words or treat them differently. This prevents them from seeking help.

Treat all Problems Differently

Not all people suffering from being in denial have to do with drugs and alcohol. For instance, Dr. Daniel Amen knew a couple who had marital problems from the beginning of their marriage. The problems consisted of continuous toxic arguments and threatening to leave one another. When counseling was discussed, thoughts of embarrassment and financial excuses came to the surface from the husband. Eventually, the refusal and denial for counseling began affecting the children too.

Steps for Encouragement

Here are some suggestions to help people who are unaware of a problem or unwilling to get the help they need:

Try using a straightforward approach:

Tell the person why their actions are concerning you.

Give the loved one information:

Good information can be very persuasive, especially if it is presented in a life-enhancing way.

Plant continuous seeds of information:

Remind them of good information and new articles from time-to-time. This spikes conversation and, when done in a non-abrasive way, can be beneficial.

Protect your relationship together:

Work on gaining that person’s trust and they will learn to be more receptive to your thoughts. Talk about life outside of their medical issues.

Give your loved one new hope:

Many people who are struggling have already tried to get help and it either didn’t work or ended up making them worse. Inform your loved one of new brain technology where new treatment options could be more effective.

Enough is enough

If the person resists, you have to be able to give yourself a break and say enough is enough. If the relationship becomes negative and continuously toxic you should separate yourself. Separating yourself gets you away from the toxicity in the relationship. Also, by removing yourself from the situation, it can motivate people to change. Threatening to leave is not the first approach you should ever take. But eventually, it can definitely turn into the best approach.

Using Force Doesn’t Help

If your loved one doesn’t realize they need to change their habits, then don’t force them into a situation they are constantly resisting. The only time you can force people into treatment is when they are causing harm to themselves, others, or cannot care for themselves.

When is SPECT Brain Imaging the Answer?

At the Amen Clinics we order SPECT brain imaging studies on most of our patients when:

• We are considered someone’s “last hope”.

• We need to look into the details and see if there is something that can be identified that may have been overlooked by another professional.

• Your case is complicated, and you have not gotten better with previous treatments or providers. (In this case, a scan could be life-saving).

Keep in mind, a SPECT brain imaging study alone will not give an accurate diagnosis. However, it helps the clinicians understand the way your brain specifically functions. There are many factors that contribute to a diagnosis with a SPECT brain scan. These are a combination of clinical history, personal interviews, information from families, diagnostic checklists, SPECT studies, and other neuropsychological tests.

If your loved one is struggling and showing signs of being in denial, try planting a seed of information about breakthrough brain imaging. Contact Amen Clinics to schedule a visit, or call our Care Center at 888-288-9834.


  1. Hey there a few weeks ago someone asked if they could afford a brain scan. I haven’t seen any kind of info on that.

    You bring hope to people but what I hope you realize is that many of the people that need your help are unable to pay for it because they live on govt assistance and are far to proud to ask a friend or family member to pay for it. Im sure your scans and treatment are thoysanda of dollars. How can these people access your services?

    When are you coming to ontario canada?

    Comment by Sandra Corsaut — February 4, 2017 @ 8:17 AM

  2. A reply pls

    Comment by Sandra Corsaut — February 24, 2017 @ 8:30 PM

  3. I love dr amen but I’m beginning to feel like this is all about money after all.

    Comment by Sylvia Howard — April 4, 2017 @ 8:02 AM

  4. I saved and waited for 2 years to pay for going to Amen clinic as my condition had me disabled much of that time. Specialty medical providers must be focused on excellent provisions of diagnosing and treatments, they are not established as benevolent fundraisers.

    After being a patient I can say “The cost of Amen is very much within reason”.

    Comment by Jim Hickman — April 27, 2017 @ 5:34 AM

  5. Money matters. I haven’t yet been able to get the $12k for myself and my two children. They offer financing but what if it doesn’t work, what then? My family is chaotic and so much is being passed on. Which is more important? Money or family. Thank you I am going to call now and at least start with me.

    Comment by Ed C — August 29, 2018 @ 5:57 AM

  6. I’ve requested before an answer to the same question, when are you coming to Ontario Canada?

    Comment by Valerie — June 24, 2019 @ 3:36 AM

  7. Would love to do brain scan ! Is there anywhere in Ontario that do that ?! Thank you

    Comment by Connie Caeiro — August 24, 2019 @ 5:30 AM

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