How Do I Know If I Need To Stage A Drug Intervention?
If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, you may be desperate to help but still holding out hope that perhaps, he or she can turn it around. However, waiting too long to make a move has led to countless people losing people they loved to drug related fatalities. So, how you know that a drug intervention is necessary? What do you look for? First things first, let's examine what an intervention is:
Understanding Drug Interventions
A drug intervention is a structured conversation between loved ones and an addict, often supervised by an intervention specialist. However, the intervention specialist is not a compulsory figure, although the recommendation is that you seek one out.
If simply talking to the addicted person does not work, a group intervention is an effective next step. Interventions also show addicts how their actions affect those they care about. The objective is to help the person struggling get into addiction recovery and rehabilitation.
Importance of Addiction Interventions
Various statistics reflect the country's drug problem, including the total number of people that are struggling with addiction. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (or the NSDUH), for instance, over 21.7 million Americans aged 12 or older were in need of treatment in 2015. Unfortunately, just below 11% of those Americans accessed the medical help that they were in need of.
One of the major reasons people who struggle with addiction are unable to get the help they require is because their friends and family enable them to continue - without necessarily realizing they are doing it.
In many cases, friends and family understand that their loved one has an established addiction problem but they are unsure of how and when to reach out and give a helping hand.
These loved ones often feel pressured by concern, fear or guilt to put off ending the enabling behaviors. In reality, delaying a loved one from entering rehabilitation only makes the problem worse. The loved one may even suffer an overdose which could be fatal. In cases like these, the involvement of a professional interventionist could make all the difference.
The Right Time for an Intervention
It is often difficult to know when there is a genuine need for an intervention. Many believe that they can simply talk to the addict in question and lay their emotions out on the table, and then everything will change in their loved one's mind.
It usually doesn't work like that. In fact, it very rarely works like that. Depending on how severe the addiction is, the point of no return when they consciously decide that they have a problem may have been a few exits back.
This is when you need an intervention, when there is nothing that can be done except delivering ultimatums and having a thorough discussion. Detox and rehab still have to be addict's choice, whether or not that was due to emotional reasons shared with them by family and friends during an intervention. They need to walk through those doors with the desire to get, and more importantly stay, clean.
Sometimes, families can stage interventions that actually work and help their loved ones, but they need to know the signs to look for before the addiction becomes heavy enough as to require drastic measures. If you have never been around a person who's suffering from addiction in the past, it can be hard enough to spot the signs for yourself.
Here's a list of some of the most common signs that should raise some red flags in your mind.
a) Abnormal Behavior
When you know someone, then chances are high that you know when something is wrong with them. Their behavior shifts, they have abrupt schedule changes that don't seem to fit right, and they often go out very late at night when they have no sensible destination.
Noticing such changes in behavior often marks the first step towards evaluating whether things are amiss with the individual, and whether it is addiction that is to blame or something else.
b) Increased Tolerance
Has the addicted loved one been refilling his or her prescription meds repeatedly? Does he or she need an extra two shots of rum or an extra few bottles of beer every night just to arrive at the usual level of intoxication? If so, then their body is building up a tolerance to their drug of choice, and they will require more of it each time to arrive at the same high or same drunken state. The addict will begin to add more and more of their drug of choice to their daily life or daily ritual, and they in turn run a higher risk of overdosing as each day goes on.
c) Mental Fog
Do you notice that your loved one has developed a habit of forgetting things that just happened or taking longer than usual to make rebuttals? Has he or she lost some of the sharp wit and fast comebacks that contributed to making them who they are? This may be a sign that their head is in a fog, either attributable to drug use or alcoholism. It is imperative not to brush this off as them just being exhausted, at least when this becomes a steady issue. Do not make up excuses for such behavior, and see if it persists or worsens.
d) Changes in Appearance
All of us have slow das where we do not want to switch out of our sweatshirts and pajama bottoms. But when this becomes a steady habit, then the person is either struggling with depression or addiction.
Many addicts do not care about how they look and how others perceive them, especially when they are seeking and abusing drugs. this is because their substance abuse comes above all other things.
All things take a secondary place in their lives. Of course, the fact that drugs contribute to a terrible oral state or such features as open sores on the skin does not help with the hygiene issue.
e) Enhanced Emotions
This usually manifests itself as unchecked aggression or anger. When you ask them where are going at such a late hour, they may get agitated and overly defensive. Some people like to say different, but absolutely nobody is proud to be a drug addict.
This is the reason why they sneak out at night and then deny everything when confronted. Being accused, even silently, can set them off to a level of explosive rage, and the impact of the drug coursing through their system is primarily to blame.
f) Barely Getting By
Drug abuse is not free, and it certainly isn't cheap. Just like you see in the movies, drug dealers will usually offer their first few fixes for free, only to reveal the true cost of how much their supply is actually worth.
At such a point, money starts to become an issue. If they were living a lavish lifestyle before, or were at least the type of person to never borrow money or pawn off their possessions, things begin t unravel in unusual form.
They start to ask for handouts that get progressively bigger and begin to sell off whatever anyone is willing to buy. When they inevitably lose their job, start lowering their lifestyle capacity, and begin suffering deep financial difficulties, there is a good chance that they are falling ever deeper into drug addiction.
Addicts have a great deal going on mentally, that someone who's never used drugs simply won't understand. They become lost in themselves; because they know other people will disapprove of their addiction. They isolate themselves away in their rooms, stop attending social events, even obligatory ones, and overall become difficult to reach or find.
Fatal drug overdoses get reported several times each day in the country, sometimes on a hourly basis. It is not just a matter of getting their lives back on track; it's a matter of saving their lives.
Interventions are hands-down the most effective tool at our disposal to steer our loved ones away from drug abuse and back into their lives. It is an effective tool to show them that there are people who indeed care about them, and they do not need their drug of choice to feel alive.
Choosing to stage an intervention, or even hire an interventionist to help set things in motion, is not an easy choice by any metric. Persons staging the intervention often feel like they are somehow betraying their loved one or at the very least cornering them and putting them in deeply uncomfortable situations.
But the fact of the matter is that this is the one way you know that it is time to initiate an intervention. When the genuine fear of losing them in any way becomes overwhelming, then it is communicating something to you.
Most of the time, you will not be the only one thinking about having an intervention in place. If the family has been quiet around your loved one and seemingly ignore their odd behavior, it may be out of trepidation or the inability to cope with a thing that they have never had to deal with before.
You are not alone - there is certainly another member of your immediate family who has been thinking the very same thing. It is also important that you realize that there is genuine strength in numbers. Do not be afraid to reach out and talk to a family member about your loved one. It will most likely go a long way in rescuing him or her from crippling addiction.
Addiction counselors are familiar with the many types of programs offered and what is available in your area. They also can do an assessment with you and determine what treatment would be best for you or your loved one.
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- Things To Look For If You Think Your Loved One Has An Addiction
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- What Is The Importance Of 12-Step Meetings For Addiction Recovery?
Call and speak with a counselor to find the right treatment center for you or your loved one.
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