What Is Actually Involved in an Intervention?

While they vary in specifics, all interventions have the same goal: to come between two interacting objects to produce more desirable effects. For years, concerned families, friends and co-workers have set up convening sessions to express how an addict has affected them with her actions. Afterwards, they set out terms that will change based on whether or not the drug user accepts treatment. However, to see success, you must understand the qualities that characterize well-planned interventions from the entertainment industry’s dramatic portrayals.

Interventions in the Media

Possibly due to how their dramatic portrayals tug on the heartstrings, the media often depicts interventions as a source of entertainment. In fact, one reality TV series is entirely based upon following addicts through their lives to present them with surprise interventions. While certain aspects of these interventions have been questioned by critics, the audience in general does not seem to mind, as viewership is quite high. However, media portrayals of interventions often range from realistic to ridiculous: in one popular comedy, interventions were regularly held throughout episodes to address silly concerns, such as a fiancé, an accent and even a hat! The prevalence of interventions is so high that most people have opinions about these meetings even if they have never participated in one.

The Medical Purpose of Intervention

Prescription drug abuse, illegal substance abuse, alcoholism and even compulsive eating or gambling are often the most legitimate causes for intervention. The Mayo Clinic points out that, “when it comes to addiction, the person with the problem often struggles to see it and acknowledge it.” In such a setting, it might be appropriate to stage a formal intervention, because such a movement might create an opportunity to stop the addiction before it gets any worse. However, given the delicacy of this situation and the fact that addiction is indeed a mental health disease (not simply a decision of the addict), all proceedings should be planned carefully before they occur.

The Real Force Behind Intervention

Many intervention professionals can guide people to voice their legitimate concerns to a troubled loved one. It is strongly encouraged that you consult a professional before you stage an intervention. The entertainment industry often depicts several concerned associates coming together to show shocking pictures and evidence, to protest with tears, to shout at and to speak over one another, but most successful interventions carry on with quite less drama, if any at all.

A professionally-planned intervention will include solid evidence, but participants prepare these examples beforehand to depict their pain, not to shame the drug user. In fact, most interaction will focus on how the  participants were personally affected, preferably with “I” sentences instead of accusations that can put the addict on edge and opposed to rehab. Were a loved one to say he feels mistreated when the addict showed irresponsibility, that sentence would go much further than saying “you never do what you should.” However, while it is important to describe personal pain rather than to accuse the user, you should also remain specific. In short, do not exaggerate reality, as the addict may mentally or verbally contest any overplayed drama.

Another characteristic of a well-planned intervention could be that the addict is presented with a practical, prearranged offer for treatment. In TV shows, this offer is often a “take it or leave it” call to action with little to no flexibility and dramatic consequences. While life-threatening situations may occasionally call for complete and immediate physical intervention with no time to prepare, this situation is quite often not the case. In fact, getting carried away could put the intervening family members or friends in legal danger, regardless of their intentions. In other words, be reasonable. Most addicts need to consider treatment options, but with a modest time limit to arrange for their absence. Be firm, but also fair.

Success Is Possible with Help

Depending upon the circumstances, an intervention can be planned with or without the addict’s knowledge, but you must plan the meeting well. Planning is especially necessary in cases of suicidal persons, addicts with a history of violence and anyone with a history of mood disorders or taking mood-altering substances. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reminds us that most interventions succeed when a professional plans them with the addict’s personal details in mind. Professionals can help you decide what will help as well as what not to do for the best results.

Leave the drama to the entertainment industry, because a calm, loving environment will do much more good for addicts who oppose these attitudes. Even if the addict rejects treatment up front, he will always remember what you did—perhaps not what was said, but how you made him feel. Leave the door open for your loved one to pursue recovery, and you may be surprised to see the results. Please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now to receive further information about this topic and other issues that are related to addiction. You can succeed with the right help.