Risks of Substance Abuse Intervention and Signs they Might be Ready for...

Risks of Substance Abuse Intervention and Signs they Might be Ready for Change


The decision to perform a substance abuse intervention should never be made lightly or in haste.  The reasons for this are because:

1) There is some risk of isolating the struggling addict or alcoholic further by confronting them in such a manner. Formal interventions can be overwhelming to the addict, and if they respond with a fear based response, it may drive them deeper into isolation and addiction.  So this is a risk that the family and friends must decide on beforehand.  In some cases, the addict is spiraling out of control in such a way that the family decides it is worth the risk.

Plus, some addicts and alcoholics tend to be confrontational, so doing an intervention is no big deal.  But some people tend to be shy, reserved, and tend towards isolation, and that is when you might want to exercise caution.

2) Interventions are expensive and largely ineffective depending on the timing. In fact, timing is probably everything.  In other words, if the addict is not ready to take the steps needed to get clean and sober, then everyone is wasting their time, money, and effort with the intervention.  Such is the nature of denial.

Perhaps the addict has admitted in the recent past that they do have a problem.  Does this make them a good candidate for an intervention?  Not necessarily.  The problem is that admitting to a drug problem and actually being willing to take action to resolve it are 2 completely different things.  Just because they have admitted to their problem in casual conversation does not mean that they are ready to totally surrender to their addiction, take drastic action, and completely change their life overnight.  Make sure that you are accurately assessing the person’s level of desire for change before you waste everyone’s time by organizing a full scale, formal drug intervention.

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How do you know when the person is ready for such an intervention?  A couple of signs might be helpful to watch for:

* They are leaning towards thoughts of suicide or self destruction.  They become more reckless than usual with personal care.  They make statements about how they do not know if they can keep going like this.

* They have recently suffered major consequences due to their addiction.  Examples would include legal problems, such as arrests or drunk driving convictions, or relationship problems, such as when spouses have left them, etc.

Unfortunately, many people will not change until they are facing major consequences or devastating life circumstances.  If everything is going good in their life then they are not likely to change.

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