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Addiction Intervention Methods and Techniques – Part 2

addiction intervention methods

Addiction often causes a feeling of shame, fear, and loneliness. People struggling with this condition live their lives feeling guilty for the things they do. Many of them need help but are afraid to ask. When it comes to substance abuse and mental illnesses, there is a stigma surrounding our society, creating even more difficulties for people to undergo treatment. Imagine to have to deal with a dual diagnosis – substance abuse and mental illness – in a society that has a low level of understanding what you are going through. I am not inferring  that society is to blame for the one’s substance abuse issues. However, the community has a valuable impact on the person’s future behavior. Many decide to hide these problems or try to solve them on their own because they are embarrassed or afraid to admit they face difficulties.

addiction intervention methods

As time progresses, more and more people become addicted to drugs and alcohol. There is no better time to recognize the seriousness of the situation. It is up to all of us to accept these facts – and most importantly, accept people who deal with these scary conditions. They need help. And it’s our duty to help them save their lives.

Intervention is the beginning of the recovery process. Many families hide the fact that their loved ones are addicted or face a crisis. The denial can come from both sides, the addicted one or the family. Substance abuse intervention – when done properly, under professional supervision – will bring issues to the surface and also encourage change. There are a handful of addiction intervention methods that have helped many people face this reality and treat their condition.

Three groups of addiction intervention methods:

  1. Indirect addiction intervention methods – a group of family and friends ask for the help of a professional that guides them through the way of interacting with their addicted loved one. It is a process where the family creates an environment for the addicts and helps them feel loved and supported, which will influence the decision of seeking help.
  2. Direct addiction intervention methods – most of the intervention methods are in this group and are crucial to the recovery process. In this type, family and friends help the addict face the situation by organizing a direct, face-to-face encounter. They get help by an interventionist throughout, which is essential. Direct substance abuse intervention methods may be suitable for people that are ashamed or scared to seek help and with the intervention, everything is planned for them. With direct methods, the family only awaits the loved one to accept treatment.
  3. Forcible addiction intervention methods – these addiction intervention methods are forcing the person to attend rehab against their will. They can be formal and include a professional interventionist and informal, without a professional on board.

addiction intervention methods
Why start a professionally assisted intervention?

Many of our loved ones avoid admitting they deal with such condition as addiction, or simply are in denial. It is beyond hard for an individual to acknowledge having a problem. It requires courage and self-acceptance. Families are the support system the substance abuser depends on. However, when planning an intervention, family members might decide against professional assistance, believing they are strong enough to handle the situation. A professional interventionist is a highly-trained, experienced person that will guide the family through those difficult times.

Dale from Alexandria, Virginia, shares the story of his family’s intervention, emphasizing the need for an interventionist during the process. “There were two big problems with my parents’ plan. The first one we learned the hard way and that is always hire a professional interventionist unless you like a whole of drama.”

He continues “My sister eventually gave in and she agreed to go to the rehab my parents had chosen for her in Florida.  After the intervention was finally over we all felt completely wiped out and crashed on the various couches. I can’t stress enough don’t do what we did and try to have a family intervention without an interventionist. We learned the hard way that you need somebody who is a trained professional. If we had an interventionist there they would have kept things from getting out of hand and would moderate everything for everybody.”

substance abuse intervention methodsTypes of addiction intervention methods:

1. Johnson Intervention Model

The Jonhson Intervention Model is one of the most common. It is a confrontational model, where family and friends meet the addict and confront about his/hers behavior and how it affects the family and the surrounding. The whole atmosphere should be supportive and encouraging so that the addict feels safe and comfortable. During any addiction intervention method, various outcomes may arise. One of them is the person staying at the defense zone and continues with the same excuses and false promises, just to avoid treatment. Therefore, this approach might not be suitable for people that don’t like confrontation and pressure, or taken by surprise.
Moreover, a study conducted by the School of Social Welfare, State University of New York at Albany, USA, comparing the Johnson method with four other methods, showed that “those who had undergone the Johnson Intervention were more likely to enter treatment than those in any of the four other groups. Of those that entered treatment, the Johnson Intervention and the coerced referral groups were equally likely to complete treatment, and both groups were more likely to complete treatment than those in the other three types of referral.”

2. Invitational Model

Unlike the Johnson Model, the Invitational Model works without the element of surprise. Family and friends arrange a meeting with an interventionist and invite the addict to attend. Therefore, the group informs the substance abusers of their plans. The meeting will happen regardless of the addict’s decision of attending.family intervention

3. Systemic Intervention Model

Furthermore, a good choice for addicts that are sensitive to confrontation with their close friends and family on such a delicate problem, is the Systemic Intervention Model. The main focus is to encourage the person to deal with the problem, instead of trying to break the denial. Moreover, the principle is rather same as in the Johnson and Invitational Model, where during a meeting with an interventionist, the addict is positively influenced  to quit the addictive behavior. If the person agrees, the process continues with family counseling at a rehab facility or a number of therapy sessions.

4. Field Model

This model combines the Johnson Model and the Invitational Model. It is specifically designed to adapt to the intervention groups’ needs handling all situation that arise at the meeting. It’s a flexible model that can be used when a negative response is expected.

5. The ARISE (A Relational Intervention Sequence for Engagement) Model

This model contains three stages. The element of surprise is excluded and the goal is to get the person to accept treatment without the confrontation. The first stage of the ARISE Model is to call a specially trained interventionist. In the second stage, the group arranges three to five discussion meetings. The addict can accept help at any stage. The third stage is the actual intervention. In addition, by applying pressure to the person, family members and the interventionist discuss how addiction affects family and negotiate treatment options.
addiction intervention methods

6. Motivational Interviewing

This technique focuses to engaging a meaningful conversation with the addicts that will hopefully encourage them to make positive changes. The main objective is for the addicted one to gain confidence and build enough trust to change the addictive behavior.

7. Tough Love Model

The absolute last approach for the closest family that has drained other options is the Tough Love Model. The purpose of the model is to cut any connections with the addict, on both personal and financial level. Also, this method is a double-edged sword, since after feeling rejected, the addict can alienate, leaving the family with the feeling of guilt for this decision. On the other hand, when consulting a professional interventionist, the addict will have a person to talk to in those difficult times and make progress.

8. Confrontational Model

The traditional Confrontational Model is in the group of direct intervention models. In a direct confrontation, the family of the addict challenges his/hers behavior. They point out all the consequences of the addictive behavior, manipulating and forcing the person to accept treatment. Also, they blame the person for the addictive behavior.
Today, the extreme cases of confrontational intervention are rare, and even though some people might still use this method, the family must offer support and encouragement. However, in many cases, the family blackmails the addict that they won’t be there for him/her if he doesn’t accept treatment or quit the treatment before it ends. Therefore, this method is considered as unsuitable for today’s standards.
addiction intervention methods

9. Crisis intervention

Crisis intervention method is classified in the direct and forcible group of addiction  intervention methods, depending on the circumstances. If the addict is facing a breakdown and the family, with the help of the interventionist, urges him/her to accept treatment, and get a positive answer, the crisis intervention is direct. Moreover, the addict may face serious crisis and still refuse to seek help, making the family members and the interventionist to force him/her to accept treatment.
There are many other types of addiction intervention methods that can be used when dealing with addiction. Choosing a professional interventionist to evaluate the situation and select the most optimal method is the best approach.
For more information please call our Addiction Treatment Helpline at (844) 439-4765. This is a Free and completely confidential call. We are available 24/7. In many cases, your health insurance company will cover 100% of the treatment cost. So please call now.

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