Drug Addiction Intervention

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Watching someone you love struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction is a heartbreaking and painful experience. In this situation, most people feel compelled to help their loved ones get into treatment as soon as possible — but before they accept your help, you may need to have a drug addiction intervention.

What Does “Intervention” Mean?

An intervention is an organized event in which concerned people confront a loved one about their substance use disorder. During an intervention, you have the opportunity to be fully honest with your loved one about how their addiction has impacted your life, and you can present them with options to help them start drug or alcohol addiction treatment.

Helping a loved one struggling with drug addiction

Holding an intervention for drug addiction can often feel like a last resort. It can also be a bit uncomfortable if everyone in attendance has to explain how their loved one’s addiction has negatively affected them. However, it’s important to remember that for many people misusing substances, interventions are a didn’t lifeline that they didn’t realize they needed — or they were too afraid to ask for.

What Are the Telltale Signs That It Is Time for an Intervention? 

It is not easy to convince a loved one suffering from substance use disorder to seek treatment. Aside from the fact that the person will most likely deny that they have a problem, it is often difficult for family members and friends to initiate the conversation.

When faced with this challenge, staging an intervention is the ideal approach. Nonetheless, if you are unsure whether or not it is time to stage an intervention, here are some signs that could indicate that your loved one needs your help immediately.:

  • Poor personal and oral hygiene
  • Forgetfulness or inability to focus
  • Secretive behavior
  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Lack of motivation
  • Aggression
  • Work-related problems
  • Financial difficulties
  • Health issues

When is a Drug Intervention Appropriate?

You can hold an intervention for anyone dealing with any kind of addiction, from drugs and alcohol to gambling, compulsive eating, or sex. But when should you hold the intervention? Here are a few signs that your loved one’s condition warrants an official intervention:

  • Your loved one is taking dangerous risks to fuel their addiction.
  • Your loved one’s health (or even their life) is very clear in danger.
  • Your loved one has already refused help (like inpatient rehab treatment) when offered in a casual setting.

What to Consider Before an Intervention

The Group

Drug addiction interventions typically bring together people from all parts of a person’s life — their coworkers, family members, friends, etc. All these individuals are concerned for the person, and they all hope that an intervention for drug use can help the person get help. However, it is very important to unite the “right” group of people.

Avoid having people at the intervention that your loved one doesn’t like, as well as people he or she may have used drugs or alcohol with in the past. These people can unintentionally undermine the message of the intervention, making it harder to convince your loved one to get help.

Your Remarks

Hosting an intervention for drug use is not a spontaneous event. You need to carefully plan how the intervention will progress, as well as what you plan to say to your loved one about their addiction.

Take time to write down what you want to say about how your friend or family member’s addiction has affected you. Be sure to use “I feel” statements (this will keep you from sounding accusatory), and try not to deviate from your planned remarks during the intervention (this will help you keep your cool).

The Ideal Outcome

Before you start an intervention, it’s important that everyone involved reaches an agreement on the desired outcome. Obviously, everyone involved wants the person struggling with substance use to get help — but what does help look like in this situation? Should the person enter inpatient care, or is outpatient rehab treatment sufficient? Do you want them to enroll in a program right away, or can they start treatment in a few days?

Take some time with the other people hosting the intervention and come up with a detailed treatment plan for your friend or loved one. This may mean connecting them with a free or funded rehab or introducing them to an addiction treatment professional. But whatever outcome you want to achieve, make sure that everyone is on the same page!

What Are the Different Models of Drug and Alcohol Interventions?

Every addiction story is unique. As such, there is no single intervention model that would work for everyone. An interventionist or a medical professional will use one or a combination of different intervention models depending on the person’s addiction experience, family conditions, and recovery goals. Below are the more popular intervention approaches used in drug and alcohol addictions.

The Johnson Model of Drug Intervention

This model was developed by Dr. Vernon Johnson in the 1970s to get addicted individuals into a treatment program and encourage them to complete it. The Johnson Model taps the capacity of family and loved ones in persuading the person to change. With the assistance of an experienced interventionist, the family members will convince their loved one with substance use disorder to change their life in a caring and non-judgmental manner.

The Johnson model is anchored on care. Family members and friends are directed to consistently offer love and encouragement throughout the process while remaining strong in their decision to stop enabling the addictive behavior of their loved ones.

Invitation Model

Also known as invitational intervention, ARISE intervention, or systemic family intervention, the invitation model allows the family to play an active role in the recovery journey of the loved one struggling with substance use disorder. The intervention process focuses not only on the individual, but also on the entire family.

This model recognizes the crucial role that the family plays in motivating the addicted loved one to enter treatment. One study on the ARISE intervention revealed a success rate of 83 percent in helping families and other concerned people to get resistant individuals into addiction treatment.

Field Model 

The field model approach uses a confrontational method similar to the Johnson model. It is centered on convincing the person that their addictive behavior is deleterious and that treatment is needed immediately. The Field Model requires a highly skilled interventionist with experience in developing and carrying out on-the-spot crisis management strategies to address emotional outbursts, violence, or other issues that may arise during the intervention process. 

How to Have a Successful Drug Intervention

An intervention typically involves three steps: bringing the group together, reading impact statements (letters explaining how a person’s addiction has affected you), and offering help to the addicted individual. It is best to rehearse these steps before meeting with your loved one, as this can help everyone stay on track and in control of the event.

Here are a few tips toward this end:

Employ the “5 Ps of Success”

Holding the intervention process at the spur of the moment can lead to a disastrous ending.  Make sure that the members of the intervention team learn about the “5 Ps of success” before attempting to carry out an intervention. These 5 Ps stand for Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Meet several times before the intervention schedule so that you can rehearse and iron out potential issues beforehand. 

Consider the Timing 

Schedule the intervention on the day and time when your loved one is most likely sober. Staging an intervention after a serious drug or alcohol-related incident may also be a good idea since it is easier to discuss the harmful consequences of the person’s addictive behavior. 

Be Cautious of Your Language and Demeanor 

While openness and honesty are encouraged during an intervention, you should express your thoughts with love, respect, and care. Remember that your main goal is to help your addicted loved one, not place blame or release your anger and frustration. 

Stay on Track 

Your addicted loved one will most likely react angrily. Do not let their emotional outburst disrupt your plan. Remain calm and rational. 

Ask for a Definitive Answer 

Your loved one may ask for some time to think about your treatment proposal. Do not give in. Insist that they answer immediately. Make sure that you are prepared to go to the next course of action once they agree to receive treatment. 

Avoid Confrontation

Avoid being too confrontational during an intervention. Stay calm and focus on how your loved one’s addiction has made you feel. If you make accusing statements or get too emotional, your loved one may simply ignore what you have to say.

Understand The Addiction 

Research your loved one’s addiction. This can help you gain a better understanding of how the substances are affecting their body and mind — which might help you reach them where they’re at.

Consider Professional Help

Work with a professional. Addiction is a serious issue, and overcoming this condition almost always requires expert help. Working with an addiction specialist can help you stay on track during the intervention and help your loved one get the right treatment for their situation.

Essential Steps in the Drug Intervention Process

While the process of intervention varies depending on several factors, the majority of interventions include the following basic steps:

Finding a Reputable Intervention Specialist

The first step that you should take once you decide to stage an intervention is to find a reputable interventionist or addiction professional who will guide you in every stage of the process.  While some intervention meetings are conducted without the help of an intervention specialist, it is better to have an experienced professional by your side, particularly if the person has a history of violence or mental disorder, or has suicidal inclinations.

Keep in mind that a trained intervention professional can determine the ideal approach that best suits your loved one’s unique circumstances. You can also rely on them to advise you on what type of treatment program and follow-up plan would be most effective.

Information Gathering

Given that the end goal of the intervention is to get the addicted loved one into a treatment program, you must take the time to learn about the various treatment options available. You can also meet and make initial arrangements with the addiction counselor so that you will be ready to take action once your loved one agrees to seek help.

Forming the Intervention Team

With the help of the enlisted intervention professional, the next step would be to organize the intervention team who will participate in the process of actual intervention. The members will work with the interventionist to create a structured plan, learn more about addiction and recovery, and rehearse their message.

Determining Specific Consequences

If your loved one still refuses to seek treatment, every member of the intervention team should decide on specific actions they will take to send a strong message that the addictive behavior will not be tolerated. For instance, you can ask them to move out or withhold their rights to visit their children unless they agree to enter a rehab facility. Note that these actions are not punishments, but a way for the addicted person to realize that their actions have consequences.

Preparing What to Say

Every member of the intervention team should take note of specific instances when the addictive behavior caused problems, such as financial issues or emotional distress. These incidents should be discussed with care and with the expectation that change is possible. When you cite specific happenings, it will be difficult for your loved one to deny the problem.

Staging the Intervention Meeting

Once all the preparatory work is done, the intervention is carried out in a familiar and non-threatening place that will help put the addicted person at ease. During the meeting, the members of the intervention team will verbalize their concerns and feelings about the loved one’s addictive behavior, present the treatment options, and communicate what they will do in case the person refuses to seek help.

How Can You Find a Suitable Treatment Program to Offer During an Intervention? 

As mentioned above, you must find a suitable treatment program that you can present to your loved one during the intervention so that their recovery journey can begin immediately. Apart from asking the intervention specialist for recommendations, you may also do your own search, just make sure to keep the following pointers in mind:

Be Wary of Fly-By-Night Treatment Facilities 

While it is easy to find addiction rehab facilities online, not all of them can be trusted. In fact, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Justice Department filed over 190 cases against operators of substance abuse treatment facilities, physicians, and telemedicine companies for fraudulent activities. 

Choose Evidence-Based Treatment Practices 

As you scrutinize the licenses, accreditations, and other credentials of the treatment facility, do not forget to ask about their treatment approaches. Avoid uncommon methods and practices that are unsafe and unproved. Ultimately, evidence-based treatment strategies are ideal since their effectiveness is supported by scientific studies. 

Consider Your Insurance Plan 

Addiction treatment can be costly, so you may want to get in touch with your loved one’s insurance provider to check whether his or her insurance plan will cover addiction treatment. 

Looking for the right treatment provider can be challenging. Instead of blindly searching the internet, you should get in touch with Better Addiction Care (BAC). We are a third-party information service that can help you connect with reputable addiction treatment facilities. BAC has a comprehensive directory of leading drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers in the country and offers free advisory services that can help you find the right recovery program for your loved one.

Contact Us Today For Help

Most interventions end with the group offering the individual help for their addiction. One way to do this is by connecting them with a rehab facility that can admit them for treatment — and if you call Better Addiction Care, you can find the best rehab program for your loved one.

Whether you need to attend a court-ordered rehab, you want to find a rehab for veterans or LGBTQ+ individuals or any other kind of treatment program, our treatment advisors can help you find a rehab facility that’s right for your situation. Call us today to learn more.

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