Drug and alcohol addictions not only affect the user but the entire family. Dealing with a loved one who has an addiction problem can be challenging and leave those close to the person feeling helpless and unsure of how to help.
Addiction is an illness, just like diabetes or the flu is an illness. However, most people who are affected by addiction will want to keep it quiet. Family members often prefer to brush the issue under the carpet or deny the problem exists than to speak openly about it. One of the main reasons for this is the stigma and stereotyping that is attached to addiction.
It is usually only when a family member develops the addiction that other family members realize that this is an illness that can affect anyone, regardless of their age, socio-economic status, or background. Nevertheless, even when family members and friends can clearly see that addiction is a problem for a loved one, that person may not be ready to admit that he or she has a problem.
Often, people struggling with addictions are unaware of how their behaviors affect themselves or the people around them. They may be unwilling to seek treatment for their problems or deny that they have problems at all. Drug intervention programs can help. An intervention can help change the addict, getting him or her into a treatment program before things become even worse. It is important to intervene before things get really bad and not to wait for addicts to seek help on their own. People struggling with addiction often cannot see the extent of their problems. The CDC reports that there were almost 28,000 unintentional drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2007. Drug abuse is a serious and life-threatening problem.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance abuse problem, call us today to discuss your options.
What Is an Intervention?
An intervention is a planned attempt by one or more of the addict's family and friends to get the loved one into treatment for the addiction. The addict is not included in the planning of the intervention. Family and friends will have an opportunity to share how the addict has affected their lives. The addict will be offered a treatment plan that was arranged ahead of time, and it will have clear goals and guidelines. If treatment is refused, family and friends should spell out what will they will do. Drug or alcohol intervention specialists can help to plan and implement an intervention.
The Intervention Process
An intervention typically goes through the following steps:
- Plan the intervention. A family member or friend of the addict forms a group of those closest to the addict to plan the meeting. The addict is not included in the planning stage. It is best to consult a professional, especially if you have any concerns that the intervention may cause an angry or violent reaction. To get help finding a drug interventionist near you, call us today. We can assist you in finding a drug intervention program.
- Research the extent of the drug addict's problem, treatment programs available and common goals for recovering addicts. Be sure to have all relevant information before the intervention. Make arrangements with a treatment program that specializes in the specific addiction, if needed. A drug intervention service can find the best treatment options suited specifically to the needs of the addict and his or her family.
- Decide who will participate in the actual intervention. Usually, four to six people who are close to the addict participate in the event. They can be family members, friends, clergy, teachers or other people whom the addict respects or loves. Do not include anyone with a substance abuse problem, anyone whom the addict dislikes or anyone who may create a problem during the intervention.
- Everyone at the intervention should decide what he or she will do if the addict decides not to accept treatment. These consequences should be things that people are prepared to follow through on. Examples include withdrawal of financial support, asking your loved one to move out, ceasing communication with the addict or ending contact with children. Each family member needs to decide what consequences are suitable. A drug intervention specialist can help you with this.
- Write down what you plan to say during the intervention. Describe specific incidents where the addict's destructive behaviors caused problems. Financial and emotional issues are most common. Detail how much you care for the person, and convey the expectation that your loved one can change his or her behavior with treatment. Do not make angry or attacking statements, and avoid name calling.
- On the day of the intervention, the addict is asked to the intervention site without being told the reason for the meeting. Those attending take turns sharing what they have written, their feelings and concerns for their loved one. A treatment option is presented, which the addicted person must accept or reject at that time. Contact a drug treatment facility ahead of time, so the addict can enter treatment immediately. Each person must detail the consequences for the addict if he or she chooses not to accept the treatment plan. A professional drug interventionist can attend the intervention to keep things moving along as intended. An intervention can be an emotional situation, so it is helpful to have a professional there to keep things on track. If you are looking for an interventionist near you, we can help. Call us to discuss your options.
- After an intervention, the support of family and friends is critical to help the addict stay sober and prevent relapse. Often, loved ones participate in counseling with the addict or seek counseling on their own. Proper treatment and support during recovery are very important in helping the addict stay clean and sober. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a study with "10,000 patients in both inpatient and outpatient treatment found that 90 percent of patients attending AA meetings at least weekly and participating in aftercare for one year were able to abstain from the use of any alcohol at all during that year."
Is an Intervention a Good Idea?
If your loved one is refusing to accept that addiction is an issue, you could consider staging an intervention. Interventions are held by concerned family members when they want to encourage an addicted loved one to get help. During an intervention, those in attendance will have a chance to explain to the addicted individual how his or her illness is affecting them. They will also get the opportunity to plead with the person to get help.
Interventions are highly successful when handled correctly. It is not intended to be a forum for taking aim at the individual with the addiction but rather a chance for everyone to calmly and openly discuss their pain and frustrations. The idea is that those who attend an intervention are doing so out of concern for their loved one, and hopefully, they will be able to make the affected individual see how his or her actions are affecting everyone else.
How Do You Know If It’s Time to Intervene?
Quite simply, if someone you know is addicted to a harmful substance or compulsively seeks out unhealthy activities, and is either unaware that they need treatment or don’t want treatment, now may well be the time to take action and arrange an intervention.
More often than not an addiction has deep psychological roots: events or circumstances led the addict into compulsive behavior – compulsive behavior which is sometimes seen as a way of dealing with a situation. Of course, as outsiders we recognize that this is not the way to address such issues; by arranging an intervention we can help the addict to see that there are real, effective ways of addressing their addiction and indeed its causes.
Benefits of an Intervention
The great thing about interventions is that they have a high success rate. A large percentage of interventions result in the addicted person agreeing to get treatment, and even those that do not have this outcome can be successful in that they often plant a seed for the future.
Even if the addicted person flat out refuses to get help, he or she may begin to think about what his or her actions are doing to the people they love, making him or her more open to the idea of treatment. Family members often feel relieved after an intervention because they are finally able to tell the addicted person how they are feeling and how the addiction is affecting them.
Who Should Attend?
There is a temptation to ask every member of the family to attend an intervention, but this is not always a good idea, especially if there are one or two members of the family who have a less than harmonious relationship with the affected person. The last thing your addicted loved one will want is to feel judged by a family member that he or she does not get along well with, so think carefully before you ask other members to be present.
It is best to have people whom your addicted loved one respects and loves. You may want to consider bringing in close friends or a family doctor. Do not be tempted to invite too many people as this could serve to make you're addicted loved one feel threatened and under attack. Nonetheless, asking too few people could also be a mistake as you need your loved one to understand that his or her actions are having a far-reaching impact.
You may think that children should not be in attendance at an intervention and while younger children should probably be kept away, older children, and especially teenagers, are very effective when it comes to getting addicted family members into treatment.
Signs That Intervention Isn’t Working
Addiction, as anyone close to an addict can testify, can lead an addict to try to manipulate relatives, friends, and colleagues in various ways, often in a way aimed at feeding the addiction. So sometimes an addict will claim they want help. Typical examples include:
- promising to get help and then breaking that promise
- promising to get help if given money or a place to stay
- going through the motions of treatment without committing to the aims.
When these responses to intervention happen, it’s because the addict hasn’t fully understood the effects of his or her addiction. It’s often hard to recognise the manipulation for what it is, so unless the addict demonstrably commits to some form of rehabilitation, it’s critical that everybody involved in the addiction intervention keeps the promises they made at the outset: not to help continue the cycle by providing even the essentials of life – until after the treatment process has begun.
Are There Statistics Available Tracking the Success Rates of Intervention?
All the indications suggest that the initial response to intervention is often positive and successful. Most people will be convinced to get treatment immediately.
After that, statistics can’t be tracked. That's for two reasons. Firstly, anyone over the age of 18 has the right to check out of rehab whenever they want. That could mean within days or even hours of arrival. Secondly, medical and psychological records are legally confidential, so the reasons for discharge cannot be disclosed – indeed even the reason for the initial admission can’t be shared.
It's worth remembering that even the process of intervention can benefit everyone concerned, even if there are no guarantees about the outcome.
Should You Consult a Professional?
Drug intervention programs have qualified professionals who can help you plan and carry out an intervention. A poorly planned intervention may actually make the situation worse. If your loved one feels attacked, he or she may become more isolated and more resistant to treatment. Involving a professional can help to avoid this. A professional is a must if your loved one has a history of mental illness, is suicidal, has a history of violence, is in denial or is likely to become angry at the intervention. An interventionist can suggest the best approach to take with your loved one and help you find a suitable treatment tailored to your loved one's particular circumstances. If you are thinking about or currently planning an intervention, call us today. We can help you find a drug intervention service to guide you through this challenging time.
Substance abuse is a widespread problem, and you are not alone. Specialists are available to help you plan and carry out your intervention. Call us today. We are available 24/7 to discuss your options and help you find drug intervention services in your area.
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