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Frequently Asked Questions
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What Is a Drug or Alcohol Intervention?
A drug and alcohol intervention is a carefully structured conversation that involves an interventionist, family, friends, and an individual struggling with drug and/or alcohol abuse. The ultimate goal of an intervention is to get the addicted person to realize that they have a problem, that it is negatively impacting them and their loved ones, and that they need to seek out treatment.
During the intervention process, participants discuss ways that the substance abuser’s addiction is harming them and how their actions have harmed their loved ones. Drug and alcohol interventions ideally offer educational information and plans for recovery for the victim of substance abuse, including constructive content valuable for growth. Interventions should also serve as a safe space for the individual grappling with substance abuse to discuss the impact and reasons contributing to substance abuse. This is also a critical opportunity for friends and family to connect and empathize with the sufferer, and vice versa.
On occasion, challenges may arise, such as the substance use abuser’s denial. If they cannot see their substance use disorder has a deep impact on the lives of others, they are more likely to be resistant to change. Denial can cause frustration in friends and family who want to see the sufferer achieve positive transformation. However, a skilled interventionist and a well-prepared group of family and friends can often resist frustration and overcome these challenges.
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Do You Need Drug and Alcohol Intervention?
It may seem difficult to know when to hold a drug and alcohol intervention for a loved one, especially if the relationship is based on a codependent or enabler-addict dynamic. The first step is to determine whether or not an addiction is present. It is also wise to be aware of the severity of a substance use disorder prior to holding an intervention.
Addictions can cause very strong mental, emotional, and physical cravings, which often motivate the individual to continue using despite the consequences. One of many serious side-effects of substance use disorders is how the mind is altered by using harmful substances. Additionally, the discomfort caused by withdrawal symptoms can result in desperation by the addict to obtain more drugs or alcohol, resulting in potentially risky behavior. The following signs are all indications that a drug and alcohol intervention may be necessary.
- Unclear financial difficulties
- Hiding substance abuse
- Changes in behavior
- Talking about substance use
- Hanging out with substance abusers
- Weight gain or loss
- Health issues
- Having problems at or missing work or school
- Secretive behavior
- Rebuffing attempts to discuss substance abuse
Staging a Drug and Alcohol Intervention: What You Need to Know
Staging a drug and alcohol intervention must be undertaken very carefully, because a carefully planned and executed intervention is much more likely to be successful. This is especially important because a failed intervention often damages bonds and makes it less likely that the addict will seek treatment in the future.
Select an Interventionist
Non-professionals are strongly advised against holding drug and alcohol interventions without the aid of a professional interventionist, also known as an interventionist. Interventionists specialize in planning and executing interventions and greatly increase the chance that they will be successful. Interventionists not only bring expertise and experience in moderating difficult conversations, but they often are seen as a neutral third parties who’s words are less emotionally painful. Interventionists are also trained in crisis intervention and management, giving them to knowledge of what do do in a difficult scenario
Plan the Intervention
Because every situation is very different, each intervention needs to be carefully tailored to meet the demands of that situation. Interventionists are extremely helpful in customizing drug and alcohol intervention plans. Examples of what needs to be planned out include:
- Who will attend the intervention
- Who will speak at the intervention
- Where will the intervention be held
- When will the intervention be held.
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Prepare and Rehearse
It is very important that anyone who is intending to speak (or even attend) an intervention carefully plan out and rehearse their words. In many cases, writing them down is very helpful as well. This is because interventions often become highly emotionally charged, which may cause participants to say something in anger or sadness that they don’t really mean or that is not effective. It is also important to rehearse how the addicted individual will respond, so that participants are prepared with meaningful responses and rebuttals. Everyone should also come with knowledge of addiction and recovery so that they can provide educated support and guidance.
Conduct the Intervention
When the time comes to conduct the drug and alcohol intervention, it is important to follow any preparations made, but also to be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances. Interventions are notoriously unpredictable, and in extreme cases, anything from emotional outbursts to violence may occur. Although even the most carefully prepared intervention may veer in any direction, preparation enables participants to better cope with these changes in real time. Interventionists are also very helpful at guiding the intervention and making sure it stays focused.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
An intervention is an integral part of discovering the aftermath of drug or alcohol abuse. Intervention allows the individual battling addiction to see the destructive patterns of drug and alcohol abuse. Here, they are able to face their inner conflict with substance abuse disorders and take responsible for needed changes.
If your loved one has not yet accepted that they have a problem and that they need to change, it may be time for an intervention. Contact a treatment provider today for more information.
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