Health & Medical Addiction & Recovery

Can a Drug Intervention Backfire?

A drug intervention is an event at which a group of people confront a drug addict to convince him or her about the need for immediate treatment. Families often resort to interventions when the addict presents a harm to himself or others and has not responded well to other tactics. Intervention is thought of as an effective way to break through the wall of denial and show the addict how serious the problem has become.

Since many addicts are in denial, there is a tendency to become defensive when confronted about the addiction. That is why a drug intervention must be handled carefully. Rather than turning it into an unpleasant experience in which the addict is castigated by his or her loved ones, it is important to create a warm and loving atmosphere in which everyone can express their support for the addict during his or her recovery.

However, this can be a fine line to walk, so it is not uncommon for a drug intervention to fail, at least initially. When the addict feels embattled or becomes overly defensive, he or she may simply withdraw from the proceedings and get hardened in the addiction. In other cases, the addict may simply feel ambivalent. They may not feel that the addiction is as serious as everyone thinks, or they may feel it is not the right time to enter rehab.

To prevent the addict in your life from taking offense to the drug intervention and withdrawing further into the world of addiction, here are some things you can do:
  • Work with a professional interventionist. They can be reached through treatment centers, support groups, the web, and many religious institutions. Your professional interventionist will guide you through all the planning and coach you on what to say and what to avoid.
  • Choose your setting carefully. If you have the drug intervention at a place where the addict feels safe and comfortable, he or she is less likely to interpret the situation as a threat.
  • Emphasize the seriousness of the addiction without making it sound like the addict has a moral failing. Remember that addiction is a disease whose biggest victim is usually the addict herself, so be gentle. Now is not the time to start fights or bring back old arguments. Approach the situation with a fresh mindset, and inform the addict that they have all your support through recovery.
  • Emphasize the benefits of treatment. A drug intervention can be intimidating if the addict does not know what comes next or is scared of treatment. So make sure that you and the others at the drug intervention say a lot of things about how great treatment is and how it can provide tremendous benefits.

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