Interventions: What They Are and How They Work

Interventions: What They Are and How They Work

Recent research shows that alcohol use among adults increased approximately 12% since the start of the pandemic. And most experts are projecting that alcohol use increases may be much higher in coming months.

While substance use has risen over the past two years, many family members may wonder when to start holding interventions. Drug and alcohol addiction conversations can be scary and intimidating to initiate with loved ones.

You may not know what reaction you will get and whether they are effective in facilitating long-term change. Ultimately, the goal of an intervention is to help your loved ones improve their health and wellness.

To start the process, we have put together a complete guide on what interventions are, what the research backs up, and how an addiction treatment program can be beneficial.

Keep reading for more information!

What Is an Intervention?

The term “intervention” aims to prevent or change behaviors or events. In the case of addiction, interventions help change the course of addictive behaviors and patterns.

There are two main categories of interventions: personal and professional. But what can you do to help a loved one seek out the help they need?

The simplest form of intervention is talking one-on-one with your loved one. It can be a simple conversation that addresses:

  • Your concerns
  • Observations
  • Treatment options

When sitting down with a loved one, ensure it is a neutral setting and comes across in an empathetic and loving manner. Once the situation escalates, you are less likely to discuss treatment options.

You should never threaten, criticize, or demand immediate change. Instead, focus on these three points when planning an intervention:

  • Build trust
  • Be honest
  • Respect their privacy

However, some individuals may do better with a group intervention. The challenging part of a group intervention is it could overwhelm and frustrate the individual if they feel attacked.

Instead, choose close friends or family members with whom the person struggling with addiction has a special relationship. Before starting this intervention, meet as a group to discuss goals and what to do if the person responds negatively.

The last intervention is a crisis intervention. If a person puts themselves or others in immediate danger, you need to know the right authorities and hotlines you can call for help.

Do Interventions Work?

Personal or family interventions can work if planned carefully. It is important to note that the individual will likely need professional interventions. In severe substance abuse cases, they may need an inpatient rehabilitation stay or medical detox.

There are typically four stages in addiction recovery. Understanding the stages that a loved one is in can help you plan and implement an intervention. The main recovery stages include:

  • Precontemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action

You may likely intervene during the precontemplation stage. At this point, the individual could deny having a problem.

They may need specific examples of how their behavior is negatively affecting themselves or others. Once a person progresses past precontemplation, they enter the contemplation stage.

If a loved one is in the contemplation stage, they are much more likely to be receptive to what you have to say. Try providing non-judgmental information and be encouraging. Confrontation can stop a person in this stage from progressing to preparation.

Preparation is where the planning starts to happen. If your intervention is successful, this is a critical point! At this stage, you may help with:

  • Planning how to make and implement changes
  • How to use appropriate resources
  • Identifying and removing triggers
  • Finding support (such as addiction treatment centers)

The action stage is where all the planning is put to work. In this stage, you may attend group or family therapy.

How To Eliminate Stigma

Stigma often surrounds addiction and addiction interventions. You may fear how the person will feel if you label their behavior negatively.

Don’t bring up comments or opinions that cause self-doubt or humiliation during an intervention. Instead, do your research!

Many research studies show addiction programs can help:

  • Decrease drug and alcohol use
  • Improve overall health
  • Improve relationships and social functioning
  • Reduce health costs
  • Reduce criminal activity

Change negative thoughts and conversations by stating the benefit of seeking help. You can help your loved one see the benefit of:

  • Addressing their addiction
  • Building relationships with others
  • Developing healthy coping skills

Lastly, help paint a picture of the long-term benefits. Even though the steps to recovery are hard, talk about future goals and health benefits, including personal relationships.

Alcohol Addiction Interventions

Alcohol addiction interventions can be an arduous process. Nearly half of Americans drink alcohol. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to differentiate between addiction and social drinking.

If a person becomes reliant on alcohol with noticeable behavioral changes, it may be time to intervene. Other signs of alcohol use disorder could be mood changes, missed work, or withdrawal symptoms.

Intervention types may depend on:

  • Alcohol use history
  • Co-occurring disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety)
  • Treatment option interest
  • Social and environmental situation

First, plan your intervention. It may help to talk to a medical professional such as a social worker or therapist. Next, find your intervention team.

During the intervention, it is essential that you talk about consequences and share concerns. While consequences may seem harsh, it gives your loved one a better idea of how serious their addiction is.

Make sure you research and discuss treatment options at the end of your alcohol addiction intervention.

Drug Addiction Interventions

Drug addictions include misusing or abusing prescription or illegal drugs. These drugs can consist of medications such as opioids, which are one of the most common.

It also entails stimulants, cannabis, and psychoactive drugs. Many of these drugs affect receptors in the brain that process how you feel.

In the case of opioids, it targets receptors that release dopamine. It affects mood and the reward center in your brain, tricking it into thinking it is produced naturally.

When opioids are withdrawn, your brain isn’t producing the same amounts of dopamine naturally. It will take time to recover these levels. Several physical withdrawal effects can occur, making it crucial that a person enrolls in a detox program.

Staging an intervention should follow the same steps outlined under “alcohol addiction interventions,” while remembering that relapse is quite common when trying to detox from home. Plan ahead and research detox and medication-assisted treatment centers near you for the best outcomes.

Recent research is showing that early-intervention buprenorphine can reduce withdrawal symptoms and ultimately decrease opioid-related mortality.

What Are Medical Addiction Interventions?

The ultimate goal is sobriety and better health outcomes. Not everyone responds to interventions similarly, but there are a few staples that are common in the industry. Some of the more common addiction interventions include:

  • Medically assisted detox
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • 12-step programs
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Withdrawal management

Many of these interventions are found in addiction rehabilitation centers. Not all addiction programs require an inpatient stay.

Outpatient therapy and recovery housing are also common options. Sometimes, these programs are more beneficial since they allow people to ease into job opportunities and rebuild relationships.

How Does an Intervention Work?

Qualified experts spearhead most addiction interventions. These may be:

  • Physicians
  • Counselors
  • Therapists

They have received training on the complexities of addiction and have vast experience working with several individual cases. Interventions are best implemented in a rehabilitation setting.

Outpatient and inpatient interventions often overlap and could include hours of individual and group therapy. Some facilities may also offer holistic approaches such as music or equine therapy.

Interventions require more than one session. The road to recovery is long and takes perseverance.

Most times, individuals start in a detox center. From there, they move on to outpatient or residential centers.

It is important to find a facility that offers multiple levels of care. This can make it easier for individuals to smoothly transition to intermediary programs before diving into real-world applications.

Finding the Courage for an Intervention

Interventions with loved ones dealing with an addiction shouldn’t be scary. It should be a positive step forward in the recovery process.

Many people dealing with substance use disorders don’t recognize their behaviors as negative. Shedding light on the subject thoughtfully and constructively can ultimately help save lives.

Before starting an intervention, contact us at Cenikor, and let one of our professional team members help you design an intervention plan and discuss treatment options.

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