Getting help for a loved one who’s struggling with addiction isn’t easy. You may be worried about their alcohol or drug use — or suffering from the consequences of their use — but you’re unsure what to do next. This is where an intervention can be helpful, but here’s the question: Do you need professional …
Do I Need Professional Help Planning an Intervention?
Getting help for a loved one who’s struggling with addiction isn’t easy. You may be worried about their alcohol or drug use — or suffering from the consequences of their use — but you’re unsure what to do next. This is where an intervention can be helpful, but here’s the question: Do you need professional help planning an intervention?
Let’s talk about it.
What is an Intervention?
An intervention is a planned meeting where a family meets with a loved one of whom they are concerned about their drug or alcohol use. While interventions for addiction are most common, they can also be used for gambling addiction and eating disorders.
Interventions can be held by facilitators or by family members, but it is usually recommended — given the emotional bonds you have with the family member — to seek professional help planning an intervention in this instance. Those professionals can include a social worker, doctor, therapist, or interventionist.
Interventionists’ sole role is to facilitate a family discussion where everyone can share their concerns, provide potential solutions, and set boundaries should the person decide not to get help. They may also offer transportation to a facility after a successful intervention.
An intervention has a prescribed format, which starts before the actual meeting, and includes:
- Asking a professional for help with planning an intervention.
- Selecting a team of family members and loved ones who are concerned and can attend the intervention.
- Making a plan and setting a date.
- Conducting research about addiction and gathering information about the loved ones use pattern, the consequences, and how it has impacted the family.
- Writing statements to present to your loved one at the intervention.
- Discussing your boundaries with the intervention members should your loved one decide to reject treatment.
- Hosting a mock intervention to practice.
- Make a plan to follow up if your loved one rejects treatment and how you will support them.
In deciding whether you need professional help in planning an intervention, it’s important to consider a number of factors, including the type of substance your loved one is using harmfully. Each substance presents different risks.
Do I Need Help Planning for an Alcohol Intervention?
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder, can present a number of health risks from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and stroke in addition to the consequences of addictive use. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14.1 million Americans have alcohol use disorder. It’s a serious condition, killing 95,000 Americans every year.
While finding recovery is a positive step, stopping drinking carries risk factors for people with alcohol use disorder. It can be dangerous to suddenly stop drinking if the person is dependent. That means, if they stop abruptly, they will experience withdrawal symptoms that can include seizure and even death. So, it may be best to seek professional help.
An interventionist can help you fully prepare for the success of an intervention and support you in doing all of the intervention pre-work. This includes finding a detox facility as your loved one will likely need medical supervision and possibly medication to detox safely. You may also be asked to research a residential treatment facility that can give your loved one the best chance of sustaining their recovery.
Do I Need Help Planning for an Opioid Intervention?
Opioid addiction, or opioid use disorder, can involve addiction to any kind of opioid, including prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl. Each of these drugs are powerful – particularly fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid that’s 100 times stronger than morphine. Opioids also carry the very real risk of fatal overdose.
According to CDC data, synthetic opioids (like fentanyl) are the primary drivers of overdose deaths in the United States. During 2020 and 2021, deaths due to opioids rose 38.1 percent. It takes just two milligrams of fentanyl to cause an overdose.
Given the seriousness of opioid addiction and its risks, it may be more effective to have a professional facilitate an intervention. Here’s why.
- Knows the dangers of opioids
- Understands the risks and characteristics of opioid addiction
- Is equipped to help overcome rejection
- Will keep the family on track with the intervention and toward a successful outcome
- Can provide a neutral voice and can rephrase the concerns of family members
- Are able to facilitate helpful discussion rather than blaming and punishing the person who is suffering
- Can provide transportation to a facility
Setting Up and Planning an Intervention
When in doubt, it’s perhaps best to speak to a professional who has expertise in addressing addiction and facilitating interventions.
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