For a long time, the commonly held belief was that an addict could not
get better until they reached a “bottom.” The idea was that
individuals dealing with drug or alcohol issues would not realize they
had a problem until their life had become so thoroughly unmanageable,
they would be forced to seek professional help. Yet in recent years, the
thinking behind substance abuse has evolved.
Drug addiction and
alcohol addiction is a disease, and in the medical community, letting individuals suffering
from addiction reach a point of no return without providing the encouragement
they may need to seek treatment is now seen as counterproductive to fighting
this disease. At Decision Point Center, we work with an accredited professional
Michael Gonzales, who will collaborate between the family and the individual seeking help.
Our interventionist will keep everyone focused on the task at hand: treatment
and recovery from the crippling disease.
One of the more common ways people across the country have helped their
loved ones fight addiction in recent years is through interventions with
a professional interventionist. This process generally involves the family
or friends of an addict, often working with a counselor or professional
interventionist, staging a meeting to tell the person in question how
drugs and alcohol have negatively impacted their life and the lives of
those around them. While there are no guarantees, interventions can be
a more productive way of getting someone to admit they have a disease,
rather than waiting for that person to identify the disease themselves.
Who Should Be Involved in an Intervention?
Although interventions are typically staged by family members, anyone who
cares and has a strong relationship with the person in question may assist
in performing an intervention.
Individuals participating in an intervention may include:
- Other close family members
- Significant others
- Religious/spiritual leaders
While an intervention is typically spearheaded by people close to the afflicted
individual, it is important to procure the services of a
trained professional interventionist before you begin this process. Intervention specialists and substance abuse
counselors can provide useful information for friends and family members
leading the meeting, guide them through creating a safe environment for
everyone involved, and speak to the individual in question in terms they
What Is the Ultimate Goal of an Intervention?
Interventions are usually staged to convince an addict they need to enter
an inpatient rehabilitation program. It is important to remember that
the purpose of an intervention is not to belittle or judge someone or
to make them feel bad about their disease.
As the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states,
"When carefully prepared and done with the guidance of a competent,
trained specialist, the family, friends, and associates are usually able
to convince their loved one – in a firm and loving manner –
that the only choice is to accept help and begin the road to recovery."
How Is an Intervention Conducted?
A interventionist or counselor can also help to create a safe environment
for you to stage an intervention including providing input on who should
take place in the process. Young children, for instance, are often prohibited
from taking part in an intervention, as the event may be too emotionally
intense for them and involve discussions they cannot understand.
Before an intervention can take place, it is imperative that everyone involved
is adequately prepared. Without proper training, participants may not
know how to conduct themselves and can end up lashing out at the subject
and inadvertently damaging their desire to begin recovery. Remember, people
staging an intervention have often been hurt by the subject in physical,
emotional, and financial ways. While an addict should never be allowed
to blame anyone else for their disease, using an intervention to express
grievances may unfortunately backfire. This is why a professional should
be present to guide family and friends through the intervention process.
When Is an Intervention Necessary?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease, characterized
a compulsive urge to seek and use drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences.
If a person is not able to control this condition and refuses to acknowledge
the harm it is doing to them or to seek treatment to stop, an intervention
may be necessary.
Common signs of addiction include:
- A lack of interest in everyday life and activities
- A record of being late or missing work
- Strange behavior
- Financial problems manifesting in constant requests to borrow money
- Sleep deprivation
- Cold and flu like symptoms
- Itching of the body
- Hot and cold flashes
- Falling asleep/ Nodding off
- Slurred speech
- Tinfoil / Syringes or other paraphernalia
- Bloodshot eyes
- Discolored teeth
- Shakes and tremors
- Rapid/sudden weight loss
- Being quick to get angry and start fights
- An influx of new friends from outside normal social circles
It is important to look for warning signs of addiction, as family and friends
of addicts often have no idea what is taking place, and are therefore
unsure of how to helped their loved one.
One of the most common reasons an addict does not seek treatment is their
disease is tied to other Co-occurring disorders. According to recent research,
as much as 37% of all alcoholics and 53% of all drug addictions have at
least one severe mental health condition.
In these cases, it is important to consider that an individual’s
substance abuse may be a way of self-medicating for deeper psychological
problems. It is very hard to make most addicts understand they are using
drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism, which is why an intervention
may be needed to help them get to the appropriate treatment center, where
the root cause of their substance abuse can be identified.
Are Most Interventions Successful?
The success of an intervention is measured in many of ways. If the individual
does not go to treatment in that moment, it does not mean that the intervention
was not a success. The family, friends and interventionist have succeeded
in starting the process. This is one of the reasons that an interventionist
is needed to continue coaching the loved ones of the addict/alcoholic,
so that they are prepared with correct and compassionate strategies moving forward.
Even if an intervention does not have an immediate effect on the subject,
there are still many reasons to stage one. An intervention may be the
first of multiple steps which encourages an addict to think about his
or her actions, and eventually seek treatment down the road. Interventions
also help those in an addict’s life create boundaries, and let the
subject know their loved ones will no longer enable them in self-destructive
behavior. More than anything, an intervention may be the only way you
have to reach an addict after other options have failed. For many, it
is worth it to at least try and help save a loved one, even if it is the
addict who has to make the ultimate decision to begin the healing process.
What Do You Do If an Intervention Is Not Successful
Once again, if an intervention accomplishes nothing else, it does at least
create a bottom line, to let the subject know their loved ones will not
tolerate their behavior any longer. However, in the grips of their disease,
it is common for addicts to manipulate their loved ones. This is another
reason why it is important to have an intervention counselor on hand,
to help open an honest line of communication between the subject of the
intervention and their loved ones.
Oftentimes, the subject of an intervention is not yet ready to see how
destructive their behavior has become. For many addicts, what may seem
destructive to outsiders feels common and normal to them. It can be hard
for the loved ones of an addict to understand this, as they naturally
want what is best for the individual. This in turn can make the friends
and family of an addict susceptible to manipulation, as their desire to
see the person they love get better often clouds their judgment.
In the end, the best thing you can do for an addict following an intervention
is to keep your promises. Stop enabling them with financial support or
a place to stay until they agree to get help. With the assistance of a
professional interventionist, you will be able to set boundaries designed
to help you and the addict/alcoholic in the long run.
What Are Some Ways an Intervention Can Work?
Interventions are designed to help addicts to understand how their disease
has negatively affected their life and the lives of those around them
and to prompt them to seek treatment. However, an intervention is also
a chance to communicate to someone that they are still loved in spite
of their disease, and that they can still achieve great things in life
if they harness all their strength and put in the work to get better.
If nothing else, an intervention by a professional and family brings the
loved ones of an addict together, and creates a road map for them to live
by moving forward.
An intervention may have the following benefits for friends and family members:
- Education about the nature of substance abuse
- An understanding of what is necessary to help a loved one struggling with addiction
- Knowledge of resources and support systems for addicts and those close
- Unity in the face of a difficult challenge
Make the Decision to Help A Loved One Seek Help Today
Decision Point Center, our Arizona drug and alcohol rehab professionals are here to assist in
all your intervention needs. With a range of
treatment options, our goal is to help your loved one make the decision to save their life
and begin the recovery process today. By offering
a number of treatment options for residents suffering from everything from
heroin addiction, we have seen that a better tomorrow is possible. We know you will never
give up on your loved ones, and neither will we. At Decision Point, hope
Call our admissions staff now at (844) 292-5010, or
contact us online for all questions regarding mental health and substance abuse issues.