A recent poll found that of two-thirds of people who mentioned that they or a family member dealt with addiction, 76% stated it affected their relationship with their family. Many also said it influenced their mental well-being and their family's financial status. In dire circumstances such as these, one approach that can motivate someone to seek help for their addiction is an intervention.
What is an Intervention
An intervention is a well-thought-out meeting where people talk to an addicted person about their harmful behaviors and health problems. The goal is to show concern and encourage them to seek treatment. Interventions can be intricate and emotionally charged, however, as addicts may react defensively, lie about the extent of their addiction, or remain in complete denial.
To successfully navigate these difficult situations, loved ones must understand common behaviors exhibited by people with addiction during interventions, approach them with empathy and caution, and employ effective communication techniques. This article explores the intervention process for various addictions, focusing on tips and insights on getting it right.
Decide the Goal of Intervention
Before embarking on an intervention, it's essential to determine the primary goal. Understanding what you aim to achieve will guide the entire process. Here are some common objectives for interventions:
- Encourage Treatment: People with addiction often need treatment to manage withdrawal symptoms, receive medical supervision, and prevent or address relapse. The primary aim of an intervention, therefore, frequently involves persuading the person addicted to seek professional help. This can be particularly effective for individuals struggling with severe addictions. A life after addiction is possible, and most individuals can overcome it. Communicating this message with empathy during an intervention can motivate addicted persons to seek the essential treatment they need.
- Medical Intervention: In situations where the addict's health is at immediate risk due to drug abuse, the goal may be to convince them to accept medical treatment or detoxification.
- Rehabilitation: For those who have previously received treatment but relapsed, the intervention may focus on recommitting to a rehabilitation program.
- Behavioral Change: In cases where an addict refuses treatment, the goal might be to initiate changes in their behavior by setting clear boundaries and consequences.
- Family Reconciliation: Considering the harmful impact of addiction on families, the objective of numerous interventions often centers around restoring damaged family relationships. This is achieved by encouraging the addict to recognize the consequences of their actions and to consider therapy or counseling as a means to mend these relationships.
- Education: In specific scenarios, the intervention's primary objective may be to provide information and educate the addict about the risks and consequences of their addiction.
Common Things People With Addiction Say During Interventions and How to Address Them
When conducting an intervention, it's crucial to be prepared for the typical responses and statements that someone with an addiction may make. Anticipating these reactions can help you respond with empathy and understanding.
Let's explore some usual remarks and how to address them:
- Denial: People often deny the severity of their addiction or its impact on their lives and loved ones. When faced with denial, a close family member might say, "I understand this is difficult for you to confront, but we know you are not what the drugs make you become. Underneath lies a very loving and affectionate person, and we are here to help you return to that person”.
- Blame-Shifting: Some addiction patients may deflect responsibility by blaming others for their actions. Criticism may manifest by holding others responsible for their emotional state or regarding the person conducting the intervention as overly intrusive. Respond by saying, "We understand that there may have been factors contributing to your addiction, but right now, we want to focus on helping you overcome this challenge."
- Minimization: The person with addiction might downplay the seriousness of their addiction. They commonly express their situation with the phrase, "I'm managing things well." Address this by stating, "We recognize you may not see the full extent of the problem, but we're here because we care about your well-being and want to support you in making positive changes”.
- Anger or Aggression: In some cases, an addicted person may become angry or aggressive during an intervention. Reactions such as outbursts, raising of voice, and venting frustrations may occur due to their anger about the situation. They might perceive the intervention as a situation where they feel cornered and judged by everyone involved. Stay calm and composed, and respond empathetically: "We understand this is frustrating, and we're not here to judge or blame. We're here because we care about you”.
After Intervention: The Importance of Follow-Up
A successful intervention is not the end of the journey; it's just the beginning. Involving a spouse, family members, or other close individuals is critical to helping someone with an addiction stay in treatment and avoid relapsing.
Here are some steps to consider after the intervention:
- Provide stability and minimize potential triggers or sources of stress for individuals in drug recovery by establishing predictable daily routines and living arrangements. Ensure that patients are not exposed to situations that could lead to conflicts or heightened stress levels.
- To support and strengthen recovery, offer to participate in counseling or therapy sessions with your loved one. Therapy is often seen as a vital tool in preventing relapse as well.
- Consider seeking therapy or support for yourself to cope with the emotional toll of dealing with addiction in the family.
- Understand relapse is possible and plan how to respond. Avoid blame and encourage your loved one to re-engage with treatment.
Taking Professional Help
In many cases, consulting an addiction professional is crucial to organizing an effective intervention. These professionals have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Here's how seeking professional help can help:
- Expertise: Addiction professionals, such as social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, or interventionists, have a deep understanding of addiction and its complexities. They can assess your loved one's circumstances and recommend the most suitable approach.
- Neutral Facilitation: Professionals can serve as neutral facilitators during the intervention, ensuring that emotions remain controlled and the conversation stays focused on the objective.
- Structured Plans: Addiction professionals can help you create a personalized and structured intervention plan tailored to your loved one's needs and the specific addiction they're dealing with. Professionals may opt for techniques like Motivational Enhancement Therapy, which employs strategies to harness an individual's willingness to modify their behavior and engage in treatment.
- Post-Intervention Support: These experts can also guide the appropriate follow-up steps, including treatment options and ongoing support.
Interventions aim to help loved ones face and deal with their addiction, to mend relationships, and enable a better life. Since interventions can be emotionally tough, staying informed and creating a compassionate environment for your loved ones and yourself is crucial.
Hollywood Hills Recovery collaborates with individuals and their families to ensure they receive essential support and addiction treatment. Our mission is to assist patients in conquering addiction and reclaiming control over their lives.
Contact us today if you or your loved ones require assistance embarking on the journey to recovery and moving toward a brighter future.