Opiate Intervention

Opiate Intervention

Opiate Intervention

Opiate intervention begins with helping a loved one overcome denial and other stumbling blocks to recovery. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence[1] (NCADD) explains, “Intervention helps the person make the connection between their use of alcohol and drugs and the problems in their life. The goal of intervention is to present the alcohol or drug user with a structured opportunity to accept help and to make changes before things get even worse.” An intervention asks individuals to take a look at what they have been ignoring, denying or minimizing. An intervention does not “fail” if a loved one does not immediately accept proffered help, because the goal is simply to allow space for open, calm communication about opiate use and options for treatment. However a successful intervention can lead to immediate acceptance of treatment, and it often does. NCADD states that when an intervention is, “done with a person who is trained and successfully experienced as an interventionist, over 90% of people make a commitment to get help.” Those who do not immediately make a commitment become more aware of the concern of their loved ones and feel more comfortable coming back to them later when they are interested in learning more about recovery. Holding an intervention is an important step in starting the recovery process and bringing families challenged by addiction back together and back in communication.

Addiction is an isolating disease, and this isolation tends to worsen over time and as addiction progresses. An intervention reverses some of this silence and distance. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration[2] (SAMHSA) states, “People who abuse substances are likely to find themselves increasingly isolated from their families. Often they prefer associating with others who abuse substances or participate in some other form of antisocial activity. These associates support and reinforce each other’s behavior.” An intervention that reopens options for communication gives opiate users options when it comes to social connection. An intervention lets individuals know they do not have to rely on fellow drug users and can pursue a healthier life and healthier relationships. Addiction treatment will expand on this message of healthy communication and positive relationships. Medscape[3] shares, “Group therapy is argued to be especially effective because it can target the social stigma attached to having lost control of a substance. The presence of other group members who acknowledge having similar problems can provide support and be therapeutic in developing alternative methods of maintaining abstinence.” Individuals who accept treatment offered during an intervention find immediate social encouragement followed by even more options for reconnection. Other recovering users offer practical and emotional support for recovery.

Even before an addicted loved one is involved, an intervention cannot “fail” if family and friends come together during the planning process and start discussing their concerns under the guidance of a professional. NCADD states, “Much of the intervention process is education and information for the friends and family. The opportunity for everyone to come together, share information and support each other is critically important.” Friends and family members are often silent about their concerns or have become so over the course of the loved one’s substance use. Addiction changes everyone it touches, not just the opiate user. Families often become silent, angry, emotional or otherwise unbalanced. These changes are often denied or ignored as vehemently as the addict ignores his or her substance use problem. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics[4] explains, “Living with addiction can put family members under unusual stress…What is being said often doesn’t match up with what family members sense, feel beneath the surface or see right in front of their eyes. The drug user as well as family members may bend, manipulate and deny reality in their attempt to maintain a family order that they experience as gradually slipping away.” Family members may not be connecting drug use to the problems they face, and an intervention is a great opportunity to help not only the addicted individual but those who surround, love and want to support him or her as well.

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Opiate Intervention for the Family

Healing begins with action. An intervention should not be aggressive or negative, and it does not have to be formal or structured. It is a process that works best with the guidance and support of professionals who understand what family members and those they love need. No two situations are the same, so there is no one-size-fits-all intervention. Call our helpline to learn more about options for intervention and healing as a family. All calls are free and confidential, and you will be directly connected to a knowledgeable and compassionate admissions coordinator. He or she will talk with you to learn more about your situation and guide you towards the best next step toward recovery.

[1]    https://www.ncadd.org/family-friends/there-is-help/intervention-tips-and-guidelines. “Intervention – Tips and Guidelines.” National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. 25 Jul 2015. Web. 4 May 2016.

[2]    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64258/. “Impact of Substance Abuse on Families.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2004. Web. 4 May 2016.

[3]    http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/287790-treatment. “Opioid Abuse Treatment & Management.” Medscape. 16 Mar 2016. Web. 3 May 2016.

[4]    http://www.nacoa.org/pdfs/The%20Set%20Up%20for%20Social%20Work%20Curriculum.pdf. “Living with Addiction.” National Association for Children of Alcoholics. Web. 4 May 2016.