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Addiction Intervention for Families

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Addiction Intervention for Families

Engaging a family member in a discussion about getting help for an out of control drug problem requires forethought and preparation. The fact that drug use continues, despite the destructive impact of addiction that causes ill health, homelessness, loss of significant relationships and the threat of death is a clear indicator that addiction intervention is not only necessary but can be life-saving for many. Even in the face of blatant suffering, it is not uncommon for people in addiction to deny that they have a drug problem. The danger of denial means the individual does not acknowledge their need for help. In this stage, people whose loved ones confront them about seeking addiction treatment may become defensive, manipulative and angry. At the same time, there are others who may appear to be extremely receptive but do not agree to seek help. This reaction can seem incredulous to family members who were unprepared for this response. Even so, studies show that approximately 95% of substance abusers agree to get help after a drug or alcohol intervention. Sadly, only 5% of individuals who enquire about staging a drug intervention actually follow through with staging one.

Preparation

The first step in the family intervention preparation process is understanding the different elements of a drug or alcohol intervention. Although many drug interventions conducted by concerned family members are successful, there are credentialed interventionists that can provide assistance with the planning stages as well as making arrangement for immediate admission into a treatment facility following the intervention. Before retaining a professional however, Louise Stanger a clinical social worker LCSW and Certified Intervention Professional CIP with over thirty-five years’ experience in substance abuse and mental health disorders suggest verifying some important information about the interventionist such as:

  • Qualification and experience
  • Clinical, business and professional affiliation
  • Specific services that will be provided
  • Will the interventionist be working with a team or alone
  • How long will the process take
  • How accessible with the interventionist/team be once they have been engaged

A professional interventionist should also be cognizant of strategies used in most evidence-based intervention models such as family systems theory, human behavior and lifestyle development, characteristics of mental health disorders, substance abuse disorders and process disorders.

family-interventionTypes of Family Interventions

1. The Johnson Intervention Model developed by Vern Johnson is also referred to as the “Surprise” model that takes a confrontational approach. This intervention strategy often occur without much in-depth preparation. It entails calling the addict to a “surprise” meeting of family and friends where the addict’s drug use and its impact are discussed. During this intervention, participants express their concerns as well as offer support if the addict decides to enter a treatment program. One or more consequences may be presented if the addict refuse to get help. Although this is the most commonly used model and has worked successfully for some, the surprise element and use of coercion can send some addicts into rebellion or isolation instead of treatment.

2. The Invitational Intervention Model is a scheduled meeting with family, friends and a professional drug interventionist. The addict is given an expressed invitation to attend the meeting. The model veers from the Surprise Model in that the addict is given the option to accept or decline the invitation to attend. This model is characterized by full disclosure as to the purpose of the meeting and what the addict can expect.

3. The Field Intervention Model integrates elements from both the Johnson Model and the Invitational Model. Flexibility defines this approach which allows the therapist or interventionists to make decisions based on the circumstances presented. It is also designed for all contingencies such as volatile responses, emotional breakdowns or mental shutdown.

4. The Systematic Intervention Model is specifically designed to help those who would be resistant to any form of confrontation. In this model, the ultimatum or “consequences” for not seeking treatment is eliminated in favor of positive encouragement and motivation.

Initiating a drug intervention can take various forms and is best individualized to meet the communication style of the person being helped. Professional interventionist can work closely with family members to design a drug intervention that has the highest potential for success. The ultimate objective of any intervention is to get the person battling addiction the help they need to overcome addiction. Don’t wait for a crisis situation to stage a drug intervention. Contact rehab treatment centers today to find out more about staging an intervention on your own or get advice from a professional interventionist who can help you plan and execute a successful intervention for your loved one. 

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