Interventions are meetings put together by family members who want to make sure their loved ones get the substance abuse treatment they need. Substance abuse of illicit drugs alone affects around 24.6 million people in America ages 12 or older; that’s a shocking 9.4 percent of the population. When you consider the effect alcoholism has on America, the truth of how serious substance abuse has become is clear.
Drug use is most common for those in their late teens and 20s, which is considered to be some of the best years of a person’s life. When those years are wasted, it can have a major effect on a person’s job prospects, education, and other areas of his life.
People who are addicted to drugs and in denial about their problem may need a drug intervention. Families and friends of addicts can seek a drug intervention to help their loved one.Learn More
Alcohol addiction can be blinding. Many times an alcohol intervention may be necessary to help a loved one break through their denial and finally seek help for their alcohol problem.Learn More
Many times when a loved one is confronted with addiction, they may experience co-occurring mental health symptoms which is when a crisis intervention is needed.Learn More
What is an intervention, and how can it help your loved one? An intervention is a deliberate process where others step in and discuss a person’s behaviors, how those behaviors affect others and that person’s life, and encourage the person to get help from a professional.
The objective of an intervention is not to upset the individual, because this can result in the person refusing to get the help they need. Interventions begin by confronting a person in a non-threatening way. They are then allowed to see their self-destructive behaviors by listening and seeing the effect on others, including close family and friends, as well as themselves.
90 percent of parents who struggle with an addicted child believe it's their fault.
Approximately 90 percent of interventions are successful the day of the intervention when a professional is used. If the guidelines of the intervention are used, then the intervention is more likely to succeed.
Although many people call for interventions, it's up to the family to decide if they'll go through with it. Getting a family on board can be more challenging than the intervention itself.
Interventions are usually put together ahead of time and have an interventionist present. If the person agrees to seek help, the interventionist is able to take the person to a facility for treatment directly following the intervention. During the intervention, several people will talk about the person and to the person with the destructive behaviors. The intervention is not based in emotion as much as it is based in fact, because emotional confrontations can backfire against those who want to be involved in getting a loved one help.
If you have a loved one or friend who doesn’t want to talk about their problems, an intervention can still be a helpful tool. In the past, you may have thought that this would result in backlash from the person, but today it’s believed that people shouldn’t have to hit rock bottom before they are given the help they need to stop the cycle of addiction. Even if a person is resistant to the idea of treatment, they often do so following an intervention and can do well in the recovery program.
There are several signs that a person needs an intervention. While many signs may be ignored for some time while people try to see if the individual can correct his or her behavior, there comes a time when these signs need to be addressed by people around the individual in order to provide the assistance that the individual needs.
There are around 10 signs that a person needs and intervention. These are listed below with their explanations. Some people may have all the signs, while others have only a few; anyone who sees them may want to consider speaking to the individual about their health or well-being.
Trying an intervention is better than not trying at all, since it opens up possibilities for the patient. Research suggest that in the numbers of people who underwent an intervention of any kind, those with closer familial bonds, tend to have a higher success rate than other.
Interventions aren't just for the person addicted to drugs or alcohol. These interventions can help families better understand addiction and how to help their loved ones. In addition, this also opens up the addict to the scope and reach of their addiction issue.
90 percent of calls for interventions are from women in the family, such as mothers and daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women tend to call for interventions nearly twice the reported rates for men, showing that the responsibility is unevenly distributed between the sexes.
A person who is usually upfront and honest, truthful, or open about his or her life suddenly being secretive or deceptive can be a major sign that something isn’t right. Those who are addicted may try to hide behaviors that are unsavory; they may hide alcohol or drugs out of sight; they may come to events while drunk, so they don’t look like they had anything to drink in public, or they may even use unmarked bottles to hold their prescription medications. Some people may put prescriptions into bottles for over-the-counter medications, so it looks like they’re taking normal medications when they’re actually taking addictive pills or substances.
A messy appearance is pretty normal once in a while; maybe someone was running late or had a problem with the shower at home. When a normally clean-cut individual starts being messy every day, that’s when a problem is more likely. When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, that person’s appearance will deteriorate. He or she may look tired, unshaven, or disheveled. Sometimes, someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol will try to cover up the addiction by dressing better; if you see a decline, it may be a later stage of addiction, which can be dangerous for the individual.
Forgetting what you’ve done once in a while is pretty common, but if you’ve noticed that someone who is usually on top of things isn’t remembering what he did last night or can’t think of a conversation you had at a party, then you may be witnessing a person who has a serious substance abuse problem. If the person was intoxicated at the time, the level of intoxication may have been high enough to cause memory loss and even blackouts. If it happens more than once or twice, this is something to bring up during an intervention with the person.
Someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol may try to disguise that behavior; that person may fill a prescription a few days early every month, buy extra alcohol that isn’t needed for parties, and so on, just to get the extra fix needed. As a tolerance develops, the person needs more of the substance to feel normal. Dosages slowly build up, eventually leading to dependency and addiction. If you see someone taking pain medications more often than they should or popping pills too regularly, then you may want to consider that tolerance could be the cause.
On a normal basis, people struggle with money all the time. The moment a normally stable person with no major changes in his life starts to struggle, though, that’s a sign of something being off. If the money problems can’t be explained, money seems to be disappearing, or there is no way of identifying how the person has nothing when he is earning so much, then you might want to consider that the person could be addicted to drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol are expensive, and the cost of substance abuse can quickly put someone into a position where they’re living paycheck to paycheck or even putting himself into debt.
If someone is normally wealthy, it can take time to see this as a problem, or it may never be an issue at all. However, if you’ve been giving money to the person, talk about that in the intervention and tell him that your money will only be going toward getting him the help he needs.
Mood swings can be a huge sign that someone is taking drugs or abusing alcohol. Irrational behavior can be a sign of withdrawal, being on a drug, or coming down from a high. If a person reaches a point where you never know what kind of mood he might be in, this is a serious sign of trouble. You will want to step in as soon as possible, because drugs or alcohol will continue to affect the individuals until they become unstable without the drug of choice.
If a normally social person starts hiding away from family and friends, that can be a symptom of a bigger problem. If someone who normally wants to be out and about decides to start staying home, there could be many issues taking place, from anxiety to depression to drug abuse; it’s important to bring this up during an intervention. If the person’s avoiding doing things that he normally loves or has suddenly latched on to a group of new friends unrelated to family or his past circle, that may be a sign that substance abuse is at play. It’s easier for someone to abuse substances with others who share addictive tendencies, so getting the individual into a room with people who love him is important. Breaking a person out of isolation can help him see the people who care about him and recognize what has gone wrong.
Doing something risky once in a while is fairly normal; you might speed through a yellow light to get to work faster or decide to drive when you have had a drink or two over the course of several hours. The problem is when a person is actually causing damage to themselves or others due to this behavior. Getting a DUI charge for drinking and driving can affect job prospects and a person’s reputation; getting into an accident because of that drinking can cause injuries to others and potentially even cause death.
When addiction progresses, the person drinking or taking drugs no longer considers the implications of these behaviors. That can lead to repeat offenses with the law that get the person into hot water.
There are times when everyone struggles with life. It could be because work is particularly daunting at the moment or because there’s a family argument going on. It’s normal for a person to be late to work once in a while or to sleep in on the weekends; it starts to be a problem when a person’s grades are slipping at school, work is penalizing him for being late, and sleeping in turns into sleeping all day and ignoring responsibilities.
Struggles like these are pretty obvious to the people around the person struggling with addiction. If a normally straight-A student suddenly struggles to get a “D,” or a once-employee-of-the-month has turned into a slacker that never shows up, that’s when a problem is indicated.
Mental health disorders can worsen with the use of alcohol and drugs. Individuals with mental health concerns sometimes use these substances to help manage the conditions, even though the reality is that the substances are making the mental health problems worse.
For example, if a person has mild anxiety, he might feel that drinking alcohol helps him overcome it and interact with others. However, if the addiction continues, he will likely find that his anxiety intensifies. The same is true with depression, which may deepen with the use of illicit substances or alcohol. When addicted, withdrawal symptoms can mimic these mental health conditions as well, making the person more likely to continue the substance abuse than to seek help.
The first step of a successful intervention must start with contacting a treatment facility. There’s no point in having an intervention if there is nowhere for the person to go once the intervention is completed.
When you talk to the treatment facility, explain what’s going on to the best of your knowledge. The facility will then be able to recommend and refer an interventionist to your case, who can help you with the rest of the intervention. Personal information about the patient may be collected at this point, so it’s on file when the person arrives.
It’s important to look at the treatment options now. The person heading into substance abuse recovery may not have the faculties to choose a program that suits him, so choosing the best options now is key. The person might need to be hospitalized for detoxification, transportation may be needed to the facility, and different programs are available for you to consider. Choosing one that is most in line with the person’s beliefs is important, so there isn’t a struggle based on basic disagreements.
The third step is to plan the intervention. At this point, you need to be in contact with anyone who can help during the intervention. That includes the interventionist, family members, and friends of the patient. Interventions have to be planned out well to make sure the person it’s for shows up and is willing to listen; your interventionist will assist everyone in preparing the right information and talk about decorum with you before the day.
Before the intervention takes place, make time to meet with everyone who will be involved. The pre-intervention meeting is the most important step next to the intervention itself. At this point, you and everyone else who will be involved will talk to the interventionist about who will be attending, where the intervention can take place, how long each person is speaking and what they will stay, and who is going to talk to the person the intervention is for.
A plan will be made at this meeting. It’s important to determine what happens if the person doesn’t want to listen, doesn’t arrive, or if other events take place. A fool-proof plan needs to be in place to make sure the person who is receiving this intervention does receive the care and attention he needs, even if that means a stronger intervention has to take place.
Before the intervention, everyone will be encouraged to write lets to the client. That letter can be read to the person at the intervention to help prevent emotional outbursts or other issues that threaten the person. Each letter should be succinct and to the point; the letter should be comprehensive and discuss how that person will help the individual get well through the intervention and ongoing recovery.
The intervention itself can be a moment of great happiness or sorrow, depending on how it’s handled. The intervention should follow the plan as closely as possible to make sure the person coming to the intervention isn’t scared off or offended. The point of this meeting is to show concern, not to talk down to or shame the person with a problem.
At this point, it’s important for family members to influence the person’s beliefs, attitude, and knowledge about the situation. Talking about how the person has changed in a non-confrontational manner can help them see the differences substance abuse causes. The friends and family involved should discuss how the person’s beliefs are hurting them or the person himself; how has increasing alcohol or drug use affected him? How has it affected his job? How has the abuse affected the individuals who love him?
Also discuss knowledgeable facts. Some patients want more than just emotional discussions with family; they need facts about how the drugs or alcohol are really hurting them. It’s okay to talk about the person’s health or how many people are hurt every year because of substance abuse; this can bring the problem into reality for some. It’s also important to describe the ways the person can get help and how treatment facilities can support him while he gets sober.
Increasing support is about more than offering to get someone help. How can you be supportive of someone struggling with addiction? Talk about this. Will you visit the facility if you’re allowed to? Will you write letters, provide a safe home environment after treatment, or encourage the person through your actions in some other way? Talk about the support the person has from you to show that support is available and that you’re willing to be a part of his life, even though drug or alcohol addiction has taken its toll.
Creating a supportive environment at the intervention and after recovery is vital. A person who thinks he has nowhere to go may not see the point in getting help; however, if he knows he’s leaving the program into the arms of a loving friend or family, that can change. Those addicted to drugs or alcohol may feel they’ve failed their families or that the world is against them; it’s important to show that isn’t the case.
How can your family and friends provide a supportive environment? If you’re an employer, can you guarantee a job for the person when he graduates from recovery to take off the concern of debt or money struggles? As a family member, can you guarantee a safe home environment or support system for the individual following and even during recovery? Discuss how the environment around the individual will always be supportive in all aspects of life, so he knows who to turn to if he ever has a problem in the future.
Finally, talk about the resources that have been accessed for the individual. Talk about the fact that if the individual is willing to get help, help is waiting at the facility. The interventionist should discuss how he or she is prepared to help the individual get to the facility and check in, so everything is taken care of should the person agree to treatment.
Once the individual agrees to go to the treatment facility, he will be taken immediately to start treatment.
Finding an interventionist starts with determining which facility you’re going to use. Is it one that is nearby, and therefore accessible, to your home? Is it one that offers specialty services for people with a dual-diagnosis condition? The type of facility you choose can affect the person’s ability to recover, so choosing one in line with that person’s beliefs is important. The interventionist from that facility will be one you get to work with over the next few days or weeks, while you plan to help your loved one.