When to Get an Intervention

An intervention is a process that brings together friends, family, and loved ones of someone who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol in an effort to get him or her to accept professional addiction treatment. For decades, interventions have helped get countless addicts and alcoholics the care they needed in order to recover from this disease. In fact, studies show that 90% of interventions are successful on the first attempt when a certified interventionist is present. Today, interventions continue to help both the addicted individual and his or her loved ones so that a life no longer needs to be controlled at the hands of addiction.

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How Does an Intervention Work?

Interventions are carefully thought out processes that are designed to produce one goal: to get the addicted individual to accept treatment. If you want to hold an intervention for a loved one, the first and foremost step that needs to be taken is to find a professional, certified interventionist. Interventionists can be located through a referral from a primary care physician as well as through an online search. Some interventionists work for a treatment facility or an interventionist group, while others perform freelance interventions. When looking to hire an interventionist, it is imperative to ask about training, certifications, and success rate. Once you have decided on an interventionist, the intervention will work as follows:

  • Both you and the interventionist will work to determine which friends, family members, and loved ones will participate in the intervention. Interventions usually do not work when anyone and everyone is allowed to participate, rather they are more successful when the appropriate individuals are chosen. When the group has been formed, the interventionist will work with you and the others to learn more about interventions, what should be discussed, how it should be discussed, and who should speak.
  • Practicing how the intervention will go is extremely important. Interventions tap into the emotions of everyone involved, which is why rehearsing the steps of the intervention is critical. You and your loved ones will be provided with the chance to give it a dry run, which not only helps in the efficacy of the intervention but also helps calm some nerves.
  • When you and your loved ones feel comfortable going forward, a time and location needs to be determined for the intervention. This part of an intervention can feel deceptive, specifically because you are not informing the addicted individual of what is going on, however, it is necessary. Try to work with your loved one’s schedule by setting up a time that you know he or she will be free and a location that he or she can easily get to.
  • Before putting the intervention in action, you and those who are participating in the intervention will work with the interventionist to set realistic expectations. Going into an intervention with high hopes is never a smart idea, especially because there is no way of telling how the addicted individual will respond. Understand that your loved one’s decision can easily go either way and know that whatever boundaries and ultimatums you set while in the intervention must be upheld regardless of the answer.

When to Get an Intervention

Understanding what an intervention entails can easily overwhelm anyone who is dealing with an addicted loved one. You might learn about an intervention and convince yourself that your loved one’s addiction is not that bad. You might even think that if you give it one more independent try, you can get him or her to accept treatment. However, many of those who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol require some form of driving force to get them the help they need. Your loved one might be one of those people if he or she displays the following:

  • Tolerance – Tolerance occurs when an individual needs to continually increase the amount of the desired substances he or she consumes to experience the effects of them. If your loved one shows signs of tolerance, such as using an abnormally large amount of a substance or using more frequently, intervention may be necessary.
  • Withdrawal – Withdrawal is a sign that the body and mind are dependent on the presence of your loved one’s substance of choice. When your loved one is unable to use or cannot use as much as he or she normally does, withdrawal symptoms can develop and include headaches, nausea, shakes, sweats, and chills.
  • Secretive behavior – You begin to notice that your loved one is no longer as open and honest as he or she was prior to his or her substance abuse. For example, he or she might try to hide what he or she is doing, seclude him or herself when using, and tell lies to cover up his or her use.
  • Manipulation – It is extremely common for those struggling from addiction to manipulate those around them in an effort to keep using without interruption. For example, he or she might get extremely upset whenever you mention his or her use, making you fearful of talking about it again. Or, he or she might request money from you for drugs or alcohol because if you do not give it to him or her, he or she will have to partake in dangerous behaviors to support the habit.
  • Using carelessly – Your loved one uses carelessly and in dangerous situations. He or she might use more than one substance at a time, use while driving a vehicle, share needles with others, or use in dangerous places such as alleyways, behind dumpsters, or in the presence of strangers.

Interventions can be conducted at any time, however, the sooner that you can get your loved one into detox and treatment, the better. If your loved one is experiencing these and any other behaviors that make his or her substance abuse his or her primary focus, seeking help through an intervention can be life-saving. Additionally, regardless of what decision your loved one makes in regards to going to treatment, seeking help for yourself and your family members can help to eliminate the mental, physical, and emotional load placed upon your shoulders by this disease.

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