1 in 7 Americans will suffer from some a substance abuse addiction at some point in their lifetime.
During any given time, 0.1% of men and 0.4% of women will suffer from anorexia nervosa, the most dangerous eating disorder.
Both drug addiction and eating disorders can turn deadly if you do not address them head on. In fact, opioid deaths are now on the rise in Reno County.
As such, you and your family and/or friends may be forced to hold an intervention to save someone you love.
It isn’t easy, but knowing how to have an intervention is key for ensuring it actually works for your loved one and results in them getting help.
Read on for more information on hosting a successful intervention.
Before you host an intervention, it is crucial to understand exactly what you’re doing.
An intervention is when an individual’s loved ones come together to unexpectedly tell the person that they need help. During this session, those involved will often tell the person receiving the intervention of how their disorder or disease has affected them negatively.
They may also present statistics or discuss dangerous habits the individual has. This may also be coupled by a doctor’s statement or results of recent health screenings that show the person cannot continue their addiction and be healthy.
Most interventions offer the person receiving the intervention consequences for not getting help. These consequences may be that those present are no longer in the individual’s life, that they no longer provide money or shelter, or that they do something incredibly drastic like commit them involuntarily.
In most cases, those holding the intervention will already have researched treatment options. They may also have a place ready for the individual at a treatment center.
A California rehab, for example, is a very popular destination for those seeking to heal.
Not everyone responds well to interventions. If you put yourself in the person’s shoes, it’s easy to see why. This is especially the case if the person is in denial about their drug use or an eating disorder.
You should not hold an intervention if you or another loved one has not spoken with the person about their addiction or eating disorder. You should acknowledge that you know they are being destructive and have brought up that you do not want to see them continue down this path.
Additionally, you should have already spoken to the person about seeking treatment, and the obstacles that prevent them from doing so.
An intervention should only happen once you’ve established that the person will not seek treatment on their own. Typically, the refusal to seek treatment is not based on the cost alone but based on the fact that the individual is not interested in getting better.
Before holding an intervention, it is necessary to get together the most important people in that person’s life. These can be partners, parents, siblings, cousins or good friends. These are the people who have noticed the addiction and are negatively impacted by it the most.
Don’t have someone there that the person doesn’t really know or doesn’t deeply care about. If they’re not honest with themselves about their addiction, they may be embarrassed for people outside of a certain circle to know about the intervention.
If you’re holding an intervention and have a treatment center in mind, some will send an intervention specialist to help you run your intervention successfully.
You may also speak to a local therapist who specializes in eating disorders or addiction to discuss a plan of action. An expert can help you map out what to say specifically to the situation.
Additionally, you may want to invite the person’s therapist, if they have one. You can also choose to invite the person’s doctor or GP if they feel this is appropriate. This may be the case for individuals who suffer from eating disorders. In this situation, a GP can outline what the person is doing to their health in a concrete manner.
If the person’s GP is unwilling to attend, you can still have a doctor who specializes in the physical aspect of eating disorders and drug addiction, but does not personally treat your loved one. This person can also outline the damage being done to the body, or the risk of death relative to their drug use or how out of control their eating disorder is.
Holding an intervention cannot just happen at random. This is especially the case if the person feels as if they have been doing better, or is possibly actually doing better.
Ambushing them when their disorder doesn’t seem to really be as much of an issue isn’t helpful. Neither is ambushing them when things are not at a crisis level.
Instead, you’ll need to stage an intervention when things have gotten to a point where an event has occurred. This could be a mild overdose, a person missing too many days at work or school and being fired or kicked out, the individual fainting at work or possibly even a hospitalization.
With a major event fresh in their mind, they’ll know things are getting serious.
An intervention isn’t the time to freestyle, nor is it the time to ramble about how the person’s addiction has impacted you. Instead, beforehand, the group that is planning the intervention should meet. If you have hired an interventionist, this person will help you with the process.
If you’re doing this without the help of a professional, you should all write a letter to the person and plan to read it aloud during the intervention. Let the person know how much they mean to you, and how watching their addiction has hurt you.
You may also want to bring up the fact that they are not the person they used to be, or that they seem to have lost interest in things that once made them happy.
If they are suffering from financial troubles due to their disorder or addiction, this is appropriate to bring up as well.
During an intervention, you have to be aware that it may not go to plan. This means that an individual may walk out and they may refuse treatment. Unless the person is in grave physical danger, there is little you can do to force them to go to treatment.
In some states, you can advocate to make decisions for them, but the circumstances for this need to meet very particular guidelines. It isn’t something just anyone can get because they feel someone would benefit from treatment.
If the individual is suffering from severe depression or suicidal thoughts an ideations as a result of their disorder or addiction, you may be able to have them involuntarily committed to a mental health hospital. However, this does not guarantee they will receive specialist treatment for their disorder or addiction.
Because of this, you need to let them know that your relationship will change if they do not receive treatment.
If you’ve ever watched the show Intervention on A&E, you’ll know that the line “If you do not receive treatment, our relationship will change in the following ways…” is iconic. And that’s not just because it’s for the show, it’s because it actually works.
So, be harsh and set boundaries, even if they are difficult. Let the person know you’re no longer willing to do certain things if they do not receive treatment because you take their mental health seriously.
Be aware that the intervention may have the opposite effect you intended. It can cause the person to withdraw from their support network, and they may feel as though everyone is “ganging up on them.” They may also be willing to take the consequences over having to give up their addiction, especially if they don’t feel their addiction is a problem.
The individual may also agree to treatment, whether medical or therapy based, and then “escape” or simply walk out.
This could mean that the person will slide further into their illness, but this time, they may not call on you or anyone at the intervention if they need help in the future. This could have devastating consequences, so it is important to be prepared.
Learning how to have an intervention is a long process, and having one itself can be emotionally, and physically, draining. Because of this, it is important that you never attempt to have an intervention alone.
Instead, always have an intervention with other people. You will also need a support system, especially if the intervention does not go to plan.
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