What is an addiction intervention?
Addiction is not a lifestyle. It could be the consequence of certain lifestyle choices, but over time, as the addict’s behaviours become self-destructive, the addiction transforms into a disease. This is a reality which most mental health practitioners now recognise. Some addicts enter a rehab facility or program long after their addiction becomes serious and sometimes, even untreatable.
An addiction intervention can make the recovery process easier to manage. It is a way of showing the addicts the real impact of their addictive behaviour at an early phase, so as to motivate them to get help faster, before the addiction gets any more serious. These programs are handled by a private counsellor or interventionist and require the support of the patient’s family and friends.
What happens in an addiction intervention?
Addiction interventions can be handled by a counsellor or an interventionist, a person who is trained in active intervention. It requires the active support of the patient’s friends and family or by anyone who cares about their welfare, such as co-workers, or members of the Church.
What does intervention hope to achieve?
The main goal of addiction interventions is to help the addict truly understand the depth of the problem and implore them to seek out help for their condition, by booking into a rehab facility. The expectation is that by involving so many friends and family members, the addict realises how their behaviours are affecting their near and dear ones, and how so many people care about them and want to help.
Details of the intervention process
The most important thing is to establish at the start itself whether the addict has looked for professional help in the past from a psychologist or private counsellor. Then the interventionist talks to the counsellor and asks for directions on how to handle the patient.
Next, a suitable rehab facility for the patient is identified, where the patient can be taken immediately after the intervention. The intervention should include as many people in the process as possible. Even children should be allowed as long as they are old enough and mature enough and don’t find the process too traumatic.
Intervention can be exhaustive and requires substantial preparation. Everyone involved in the process should get comprehensive training so as to ensure that there are no feelings of anger or resentment, and that the addict feels love and support only. They should talk in the same language or manner as the interventionist and be supportive of his plans.
Intervention is a carefully thought out approach. Everyone involved in the process should write down the following details, which they should tell the addict…
- The changes they have seen in the addict’s conduct, personality and behaviour towards others.
- Whether they have been personally affected by these changes.
- Whether they feel their relationship with the addict has changed in any manner because of the addiction.
- About the hopes and goals they have for the addict and their plans for him or her once the treatment has been successfully completed.
- A promise that they love the addict and will not play any further role in his or her self-destructive behaviour.
Choosing the right time for an intervention
Do you have a friend or family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or has some sort of behavioural addiction, which leads them to take self-destructive actions? It is possible that they do not know as yet that they need treatment for their condition. Or they may know that, but don’t want to get treated. In that case, you should take positive action and arrange for an intervention.
The addiction often has psychological roots. It could be because of a specific set of events or circumstances which lead to compulsive behaviour. As an outsider, you may not have the expertise to address their issues. You could instead arrange an intervention by a specialist. This is how you can help the addict truly understand the extent of their condition, so that they willingly seek out help for it.
The success rate of addiction interventions
Interventions are generally successful, and most addicts react positively to them. However, it is difficult to give out the statistics for this as they cannot be tracked. That’s because anyone who is over 18 could easily check out of a rehab facility any time they want to. This could be within days or weeks of their arrival. Also, any medical or psychological records related to the addiction are confidential and the reasons for the admission or the discharge cannot be shared.
Knowing when the intervention isn’t working
There is a chance that the addict could use manipulative tactics to influence their friends, relatives and others into feeding their addiction, instead of seeking out help for their condition. They could for example, promise to get help but keep breaking the promise. They could promise to get help in exchange for money. They could go through the treatment without really taking it seriously.
Such responses happen because the addict hasn’t really understood the true extent of their addiction and how it is not only affecting them, but also their friends and family. That’s why it is important to show your support and love for the addict, but also to make it very clear that you will not continue to feed their addiction by giving them any sort of support unless they seek out treatment for their condition.
Who does the intervention benefit?
More than anything else, an intervention benefits the addict. Until this particular point, the addict has been heading towards a negative direction and fails to truly realise the damage they are doing to themselves and those around them. They don’t really get why their addiction is so serious and about the effect it has on the lives of their near and dear ones.
The intervention brings forth a definite change in their circumstances and is the first step in the recovery process. It helps the addict truly understand the cause and nature of their addiction. They will learn about the various local and national support groups that help people suffering from their condition as well as their families. The addict will realise how much they mean to their family and friends, and why it is so important not to disappoint them. They will learn to work towards a common goal that is shared by everyone involved in the treatment – the addict, their family and friends and the counsellor.
Confronting the reality of addiction
It’s not an easy for an addict to give up drugs or alcohol, even if they are causing a major disturbance to their life. During the intervention, the family and friends of the addict individually plead with them to consider getting professional treatment at an inpatient or outpatient addiction rehab clinic. During this process, the addict is confronted with the harsh reality of his addiction and how it is affecting their relationships with their family and friends. There is always some confrontation during this process, but it has to be handled with love and compassion and a true understanding of the addiction.
Is someone you care about affected by addiction? Please leave a comment or contact Addiction Friend for independent advice and support.