If you have a loved one who is addicted to alcohol and/or drugs, you know just how painful it can be to witness. Not only is your loved one no longer the same person that he or she was before, but he or she is also putting himself or herself at risk for serious health and life consequences, up to and possibly including death.
Addiction is a chronic disease. This means that without the proper care, it will continue. And, the longer that addiction persists, the closer an individual comes to losing his or her life to this deadly disease.
Therefore, as you watch your loved one spiral into the depths of addiction, you do everything within your power to pull them out to safety. However, odds are that you are more likely to be pulled into the spiral rather than save your loved one. So, in what many view as a last-ditch effort to save both their loved ones and themselves, they hold an intervention.
An intervention occurs when the loved ones of an addicted individual gather together with a professional interventionist to strongly encourage the individual to obtain treatment. During an intervention, the interventionist will lead the conversation and serve as a mediator between family members and the addict/alcoholic. Loved ones of the individual are asked to write notes sharing their concerns and emotions surrounding his or her addiction. Additionally, these same loved ones are asked by the interventionist to prepare and put into action boundaries that protect them from the destructive nature of their loved one. With the overarching goal of getting the addict/alcoholic into a professional treatment facility, loved ones carry out these tasks in hopes that the individual will finally get help.
Why Should I Have an Intervention for My Loved One?
When your loved one is struggling with addiction, it can be extremely taxing on your emotional, spiritual, and psychological well-being. In fact, you might experience a level of distress that makes it difficult to know when to take action. However, it is important to understand the many reasons why having an intervention for your loved one can help.
Consider the following when curious about when to hold an intervention:
Any person who is addicted to alcohol and/or drugs is going to display several behaviors that can be worrisome. Some behaviors might be minor, while others might be severe. Holding an intervention for your loved one can be appropriate when his or her behaviors are not fully blown out of proportion just yet, as initiating early treatment can be a significant benefit. However, sometimes individuals go from zero to 60 in the bat of an eye or remain so distant and defensive that their behaviors become severe. If this occurs, it is also appropriate to hold an intervention, and likely necessary in order to prevent an untimely death.
It is not uncommon for an addict/alcoholic to start to experience changes to his or her physical appearance. For example, abusing substances like cocaine and Adderall can cause an individual to lose an extreme amount of weight, while continuous consumption of alcohol can lead to bloating and weight gain. Other substances, like meth, can lead to tooth decay and skin sores. In addition, all substances possess the ability to cause serious internal damage, such as organ damage, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory complications, and cognitive dysfunction. So, if you notice any of these symptoms occurring within your loved one, seeking out an interventionist to get the ball rolling on having an intervention is a good idea.
As with physical distress, individuals who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol can also suffer psychological changes. For example, those abusing substances can notice an increase in aggression and irritability, as well as display violent and erratic behavior. An intervention can be highly effective when an individual is suffering from such extreme psychological changes that he or she is at risk of jeopardizing his or her well-being (or the wellbeing of others). In some instances, substance abuse can cause symptoms of other mental health conditions or agitate symptoms of existing ones. Either way, the presence of any psychological complications should serve as enough cause for concern that considering an intervention would be appropriate.
Other factors can play into hosting an intervention for a loved one. For example, when a loved one has become financially unstable, homeless, or struggling to obtain daily things such as food, water, and shelter, then attempting to get him or her into treatment through an intervention can be an excellent step to take.
Types of Interventions
The kind of intervention utilized for your loved one will depend on the specifics of your loved one’s addiction and the type of support system he or she has. Below are the different kinds of interventions that can be provided:
The classic intervention occurs where the closest friends and family members of the loved one come together with the help of an interventionist to get their loved one to obtain treatment. At this time, loved ones of the addict/alcoholic will share their concerns and set boundaries with him or her in an effort to force treatment.
Family System Intervention
A family system intervention is best suited for those families where more than one person is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. At this time, the family is treated as a whole and offered professional care capable of addressing each member’s immediate needs.
A crisis intervention can be utilized when an addict/alcoholic is currently experiencing a crisis due to his or her addiction. A crisis might include having just suffered a near-fatal overdose, harming someone else due to substance abuse, or being on the verge of losing everything (e.g., home, job, loved ones).
Thankfully, if you are considering holding an intervention for your loved one, a professional interventionist can help you determine which kind of intervention will be most effective at getting him or her into treatment.
Get Help Right Now
It can be extremely upsetting to watch a loved one go through addiction. However, you do not have to sit idly by. Instead, reach out to us right now to find out how to best help your loved one so that he or she can obtain recovery.
If you are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, you do not have to continue down this road. We are here to help you overcome the many challenges you face, encourage you to develop positive coping skills, and learn how to live happily while sober. So do not wait any longer. Contact us right now to get the help you deserve.
Chris Clancy is the in-house Content Manager for JourneyPure’s Digital Marketing team, where he gets to explore a wide variety of substance abuse- and mental health-related topics. He has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist and researcher, with strong working knowledge of hospital systems, health insurance, content strategy, and public relations. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two kids.