An Intervention Can Save an Addicted Loved One : When a loved one has a substance use disorder (SUD) to alcohol or drugs, they often will not admit they have a problem. The person who has become physically and psychologically dependence on a drug may not even realize they are addicted.
Science has shown that addicted people can actually have a chemical reaction in subconscious midbrain which is engineering access to more of the substance of choice. The result is they will even delude themselves in order to continue the use of the drug.
When you realize that you cannot discuss their problems sincerely and honestly, a concerned family member or friend can seek help through a professional intervention. Interventions were originally developed to confront users who were struggling with alcoholism. In recent decades, interventions have expanded to address the overuse of prescription drugs, street drugs, compulsive gambling, eating disorders, or other behavioral disorders.
Sufferers of an SUD often are in denial about their circumstances and, as a result, will avoid treatment. They will overlook how their behavior is affecting others. An intervention gives your loved one the chance to change his or her behavior before their situation worsens. It encourages him or her to get the help they need.
What is an intervention?
An intervention is defined as a planned process where a family member or friend joins forces with an interventionist to speak to someone about the consequences associated with addiction and ask that he or she receive treatment. The interventionist may be an addiction counselor, social worker, psychologist, or mental health counselor.
What Happens During an Intervention
During the intervention, the following may take place.
- The interventionist may offer examples of certain destructive behaviors and how they affect an addict or their friends and family.
- The parties performing the intervention may outline a prearranged treatment plan, showing, clearly, what steps will be followed during the process.
- The interventionist and a family member or friend explains, in simple terms, what each of them will do if the loved one refuses to accept help or rehabilitation.
How to Prepare for an Intervention
Before an intervention happens, the following steps may take place:
- A plan is formulated by the loved one and the interventionist, so that things can proceed as hoped. Because the intervention will affect a loved one emotionally, planning for their anger or resentment will help prevent the intervention getting derailed.
- The parties involved in the intervention research and collect data and learn more about treatment programs. Doing so helps them find the best program for a loved one’s addiction.
- The parties decide on who will take part in the intervention. Participants should establish a location and day and rehearse their message. The interventionist, as an outsider, can greatly help during this step, as they can focus on the facts and share their viewpoints without strong emotions.
- Each party considers the possible results if their loved one does not accept treatment. Each person in the intervention should decide on his or her response to this outcome. For example, you may have to request your loved one move out of your home.
- Each person in the intervention plans out what they will say. For instance, each member may state how the addiction has led to problems – both monetary and emotional. The idea is to discuss the impact of a loved one’s behavior while emphasizing support. Writing out a script is very common, as the intervention itself can be a highly charged event that causes confusion.
- During the intervention meeting, affected members of the family will express reasons why they want to help and why the loved one needs to eliminate his or her behavior.
- Lastly, all the members will follow up. For example, family members may also seek their own counselor and receive support during this period.
Planning is the Crucial Element to a Successful Intervention
For an intervention to be successful, it must be carefully thought out and planned. Otherwise, the situation may worsen, making a loved one more resistant to therapy or feeling even more isolated than they felt previously.
Scott H. Silverman has been fighting against addiction for almost 40 years. He is the CEO of Confidential Recovery, and a San Diego interventionist.
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