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What Is a Drug Intervention?

A drug intervention is when a person is unable or unwilling to seek treatment by him or herself, and other people initiate treatment for them. In this case, close friends and family members may solicit the services of a drug intervention specialist. These specialists have likely performed hundreds, if not thousands, of successful interventions in the past.

In a drug intervention, the professional interventionist, along with friends and family members, creates a plan to confront the drug addict in a loving but firm manner, in a safe environment such as their home. A successful drug intervention results in the individual agreeing to go to a drug treatment center either as an inpatient or outpatient.

Drug Interventions

We’ve all seen it play out on TV shows throughout the years. A character is addicted to alcohol or drugs and their family is worried. They get together and ambush the character with an intervention, giving prepared speeches about how much they care and how concerned they are. The character reacts badly, things do not go as planned, and the whole intervention descends into chaos.

If you believe these portrayals, an intervention is a misguided recipe for disaster. However, people have been doing interventions for decades. So, do interventions actually work?

Steps to Take to Ensure an Intervention Succeeds

Evidenced by the endless number of successful interventions carried out every year, interventions do work. Of course, there are things you can do to give an intervention the best chance of succeeding.

Get professional drug intervention help

Professional Intervention Specialist

One of the most fundamental mistakes you can make when preparing for an intervention is doing it alone. Without a professional intervention counselor helping you, your chances of success are significantly lowered.

This is not just a matter of knowledge. Yes, a professional intervention counselor knows more about the process than anyone else. But even if you have this information, a professional has a lot more to offer.

When you have a family member addicted to alcohol or drugs, you struggle with your own feelings towards the person. While you might be able to accept that they are suffering from a mental illness and want them to get better, they have still probably betrayed you in several ways. Planning an intervention alone is a recipe for disaster because you will struggle to keep your own feelings from impacting the process.

An intervention professional will be able to help you identify the feelings that can get in the way and help you manage them and bring them up in a healthy way.

They will also help manage everyone’s feelings during the intervention itself, preventing it from becoming an argument that helps no one.

Select the participants carefully

Not every loved one will be able to see the addict charitably. There will always be some who have been so badly hurt that their presence will inevitably lead to unhelpful behaviors. They may become accusatory, and the intervention could start to feel like an attack rather than an activity of love and concern.

Most participants are going to have to work to manage their feelings and this should not be a disqualifier. However, once you have started preparing for the intervention, you can get a feel for who is ready to do the work. If someone is not ready to commit to doing the intervention from a place of love, consider asking them to sit it out.

Set the intervention scene

It is important that the intervention is carried out in an environment in which the individual feels safe, while still being pushed to confront their discomfort. This means finding a private, neutral space that will not be crowded, doing it at a time when the person has no pressing responsibilities, and keeping it a complete surprise.

In other words, the person’s focus should be entirely on the intervention, but they should not have the chance to prepare for it. With preparation, they can work up excuses and justifications that will be hard to break down.

Interventions work. However, you need to prepare well before jumping into the process. Hire a professional interventionist to help in preparation and mediation if you want optimal results.

Who Can Benefit from Drug Intervention?

Who Benefit from Drug Intervention

Individuals who have a long history with drug addiction and chronic relapse can benefit from drug intervention. Additionally, a person can benefit if they have a desire to stop using or drinking but cannot find the power within themselves to accumulate a significant period of continued sobriety.

Family members and friends can also benefit from substance abuse intervention because they have had to put up with the addict’s behavior, and the intervention may help to heal the wounds caused by this.

What Happens After a Drug Intervention?

A successful drug intervention ends with the drug addict agreeing to accept treatment. Arrangements are made prior to the intervention, usually with both transportation services and a treatment center. Often, the professional intervention specialist will be in contact with the individual and family for the duration of treatment and can also assist in making plans for aftercare, also known as extended care. Aftercare can include sober living, sober coaching, outpatient treatment services, therapy, and group programs.

Is an Intervention Specialist Necessary?

When someone you love has been struggling with a drug or alcohol problem, you might worry about the best approach to talk to them about getting help. Everyone hopes that an addict will make the right choice and quit their habit, but in many cases, it is difficult for them to reach that resolution. Sometimes addicts are too deep in denial or too absorbed by their lifestyle to agree to attend treatment.

Most people are familiar with interventions as a format for approaching an addict and asking them to enter a treatment center for their addiction. Interventions are truly the best way to connect with a person who has not been able to see how their behavior is affecting others. You can plan and follow through with an intervention on your own or you can seek help from a specialist who can run the intervention for you.

When is it a good idea to plan your own intervention and when do you need to hire a specialist for assistance? It depends on the details of the situation, particularly the personality and circumstances of the person involved. Someone who has a very severe addiction and seems resistant to getting help might be better off with a specialist.

Talking one-on-one beforehand

One way to gauge how effective your intervention may be is to have a one-on-one chat with the addict before you start to plan a bigger meeting. You can bring up the subject of their addiction and the possibility of quitting without being too judgmental or steering them in a particular direction. Try to ask open-ended questions and listen to their responses to get an idea of what they are feeling about their drug habit.

Make sure to talk to them when they are sober so that they have a clear head and are giving you their true thoughts about the subject. Avoid any kind of direct confrontation or argument from developing through the conversation. Simply try to find out their honest opinion to see if they would be open to the possibility of treatment.

If they seem to already understand that they have a problem or have had thoughts about quitting, it might be possible to conduct your own intervention. If it appears that they are still resistant or feel that they don’t have a problem, it might be a more complicated situation. In that case an intervention specialist might be a better choice.

Taking their history into account

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when you are deciding on what approach to take for an intervention. For instance, the person’s mental health history is a very important factor in how you approach them. Someone with a serious mental illness who also abuses drugs may need help from an intervention specialist because they are a more complex case that may require expert guidance.

Someone who has a history of violence or who tends to become aggressive is also a more complicated case. If they have had instances where they became violent while drunk or responded angrily to anyone questioning their substance abuse then it may not be safe or effective to hold your own intervention. A specialist will understand how to deal with violent and aggressive addicts because of their years of experience and expertise.

Another situation that might require the help of a specialist is when the addict has self-destructive tendencies and problems with depression. Someone who has had suicidal thoughts or attempts in the past may not react well to an intervention and could become a danger to themselves. You don’t want to risk this person attempting suicide or otherwise harming themselves as a reaction to things you tell them at an intervention.

In most cases, you should hire a specialist when the person has a more complicated type of addiction such as when they are abusing multiple different drugs. Someone who is addicted to more than one mood-altering substance could be more volatile and difficult to handle. A specialist will know how to approach this person about quitting their addictions.

Achieving the goal of treatment

Whether you decide to set up your own intervention or enlist the help of a specialist, the most important thing is getting the addict into rehab. Always remember that the addict needs to agree to a treatment center and enroll right away so that no time is wasted. You should already have a specific rehab facility in mind before the intervention takes place so that they won’t hesitate and lose their resolve.

No matter what type of intervention you make, make sure that you have the addict’s best interests in mind so that they can achieve a full and lasting recovery.

A professional drug intervention can help

While you may feel more comfortable keeping the intervention within the family, you could be better served by considering a professional intervention. Drug interventions are inevitably very sensitive and can be painful for all involved. Emotions can flare up and you may end up saying things that are counterproductive. Using the services of a drug intervention specialist ensures that your family member does not feel judged and recognizes that you are trying to help.

A professional interventionist is also better equipped to explain just what treatment will look like, and why the person needs it. A substance abuse intervention has the potential to come across in the wrong way, and a professional interventionist will keep it on track, preventing the wrong message coming across, helping everyone come to the best possible solution.

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