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Interventions for Addiction

If you are thinking of staging an intervention for a loved one with a drug or alcohol problem, it is crucial to have all the facts. Learn how to support and help an addict as they work on healing their minds and bodies.

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Understanding Interventions

Helping a person who is battling addiction is not easy. One of the ways that a caring party can help an addict is through something called an intervention. An intervention is an organized confrontation of an individual suspected to be suffering from substance or alcohol addiction.

The goal is to speak to the person about how their behavior is affecting their life and the lives of those around them. It allows the concerned parties to explain to the addict how their substance abuse has become a problem. In order for an intervention to be successful, it is essential to ensure that it is carried out under the guidance of a medical professional.

When looking at substance or alcohol abuse, an intervention is an organized confrontation of a loved one suffering from the disease. The goal is to speak with this person about how their behavior affects those in their lives. It assists you in demonstrating how drugs or alcohol have become a problem in their life.
When people hear the word intervention, they often think of a treatment that involves doctors and a therapist. However, in this case, an intervention is not a clinical treatment but more of a loving conversation. Professionals take the form of concerned third parties who want to make sure that they can offer the best support possible.
If you are thinking of staging an intervention, it is essential to make sure you do so with professional guidance. These intervention specialists can help guide the intervention to ensure productivity and get the addict to seek help.

Staging an Effective Intervention

There are plenty of counselors out there who can help prepare a confrontation with a loved one. They’ll guide you through creating a controlled environment that can make the addict feel comfortable. These intervention specialists also offer assistance, which will help prepare you for the types of answers the addict may give and help foster a situation that will encourage active listening. 

These interventions are often planned ahead of time so that the person struggling with addiction is not blindsided. That is because, although surprise interventions do work, preparing the addict ahead of time can make it more likely they listen to what you and your party have to say.

Behavioral problems that indicate an intervention is needed include:
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Misuse of prescription drugs
  • Illicit drug use
  • Compulsive or excessive eating
  • Compulsive or excessive gambling
  • Drastic weight gain or weight loss

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it can warn you of a few signs and symptoms that a member of your family or your social circles require a supportive intervention from you and others who care for them. 

An intervention usually includes the following steps:
  • Make a plan and find a suitable treatment program
  • Gather information and form an intervention team
  • Decide on specific consequences
  • Make a note of what to say
  • Hold the intervention meeting
  • Follow up

It’s not always possible to stage an effective intervention if the addict has several issues to address. This is why a professional should always be involved in order to ensure the best possible outcome.

The Success of Interventions

In general, intervention studies have shown enough effectiveness for intervention practices to be widely accepted in the behavioral healthcare and addiction treatment field. They are used as a method for families to help guide a struggling friend or family member toward the help they need, and most professionals in this space think them an important part of the recovery process.

There is no guarantee of success with interventions, and what works for some does not necessarily work for everyone. If you’re thinking of using an intervention to help support a loved one, it is important to remember that this method may or may not work as imagined. It is up to you and the group you are teaming up with to decide whether an intervention would be the right choice in your particular situation. In either case, an intervention specialist is highly recommended to increase the odds your intervention is successful and leads to desirable outcomes.

Different Types of Interventions

Interventions do not consist of a single method, with several different alcohol and drug interventions alone. The kind of intervention that you choose to implement will depend on the goals you set forth, the level of addiction, and the dynamic of the group conducting the intervention. Here are several popular and effective models that demonstrate how to stage an intervention:

The Johnson Model

The Johnson Model was one of the first intervention methods created by Vernon Johnson. In this situation, a family employs a guided interventionist who speaks with the loved one about the issue. This classical intervention method typically takes the loved one by surprise, and the person undergoing the intervention has no prior knowledge of the plan. 

Invitation Model

Another standard model of intervention is the Invitation Model. This method is sometimes referred to as the Systemic Family Intervention method and was developed by Ed Speare and Wayne Raiter. This behavioral intervention method involves the family and the rest of the loved one’s support network. What happens is that the support network brings the loved one to a planned event or workshop to discuss the addiction and help alert the individual to what their struggles are.

The Field Model of Intervention

The Field Model of Intervention is similar to the Johnson Model. In this approach, a family or support network takes a confrontational approach to the situation. They do not alert the loved one to the intervention and are trained to handle any crises or issues that arise from the intervention. This model is recommended for family members suffering from suicidal thoughts, bipolar disorder, or other diseases that may lead to self-harm. 

Alternatives to Interventions

Interventions are not the only way to stand by and support a loved one who is struggling with addiction. Community Reinforcement and Family Training, or CRAFT, is a method that can help give families the knowledge and resources they need to be there for their loved ones. 

CRAFT helps families assist loved ones by helping them:
  • Identify substance use triggers
  • Break enabling patterns
  • Develop better communication
  • Learn to practice self-care and self-love

Consult an Addiction Professional

An addiction professional, such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, a social worker, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or an interventionist, can help organize an effective intervention.

An addiction professional will consider the individual’s particular circumstances, suggest the best approach, and help guide the addict towards what type of treatment and follow-up plan is likely to work best.

Often interventions are conducted without a professional present, and this may result in the intervention failing. Sometimes the intervention occurs at the professional’s office. It is recommended that a qualified professional attends and helps with the intervention, especially in cases where the patient:

  • Has a history of mental illness
  • Has a history of violence
  • Shows suicidal behavior or has recently talked about suicide
  • May be taking several mood-altering substances

Whether taking a classic approach to intervention or looking at an alternative, seeking professional help from a registered healthcare professional is crucial as an intervention may be considered only part of the more comprehensive treatment plan.

How to Find a Treatment Program

An important part of the intervention is being able to offer the addict means of help and treatment. You cannot simply tell the addict they have a drug or alcohol problem. You need to be able to offer them solutions for getting the help they need to overcome their addiction.

Treatment options and choices can vary in intensity, scope and can occur in a variety of settings. Options can include inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment, or day treatment programs.

More severe issues will require admittance into a structured program, treatment facility, or rehabilitation center as an inpatient. Treatments include counseling, vocational services, education, family services, and life skills training.

If an in-house treatment program is necessary, it may be helpful to initiate arrangements in advance. Do some research before the intervention is staged, keeping these points in mind:

  • Find out what steps are required for admission, such as an evaluation appointment, and whether there’s a waiting list.
  • Be wary of treatment centers promising quick fixes, and avoid programs that use uncommon methods that seem potentially harmful.
  • It may also be appropriate to ask the addict to seek support from a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Whatever the agreed treatment plan, remember that recovery is possible as long as the individual and the support surrounding them are cohesive and all-encompassing.

Support The People You Love

Whether you are taking a classic approach to intervention or looking at an alternative, we understand and can help support and guide you. We know how deeply you care about your struggling loved one, and our Treatment Navigators are standing by to offer a hand. Call us today.

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