What is the Best Way to Intervene?
One of the most challenging conversations anyone can have is to try convincing an addict of these basic facts.
- They are an addict.
- They need help.
Confronting a friend or family member with these harsh realities means you will likely be met with a great deal of resistance. And when the time comes for this conversation, you’ll have to be ready.
Here are a few steps you can use as a guide for initiating this difficult conversation about drug addiction.
Find a good source to understand addiction
Being armed with knowledge is the best tool to bring into this discussion, because heartfelt words alone will not only not be enough, but have likely already been stated previously.
So, it’s important to know how addiction works, what causes it, and how treatment is the best option for rewiring an addict’s brain and their behavior.
A good starting point is to familiarize yourself with quality resources of information. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains the processes involved with addiction. From how addiction takes place to forms of intervention and the ongoing process of recovery, this helps fill in the blanks.
Fully understanding the addiction
You can’t fully address any situation in life without learning as many details as possible. The same applies – or, it especially applies – to an addiction.
Here are a few things to consider:
Do you know what drugs are being used/abused? Different drugs have different affects or pulls on everyone. For instance, does the drug in question make the user paranoid, euphoric, aggressive? Even if you think you know what is going on, maybe there’s more at play than you realize. It helps to know what you are up against, which allows you to research each drug a bit further.
What is causing the drug abuse? That is, is there an underlying reason someone becomes dependent on drugs? If someone begins using drugs as a form of self-medication to handle depression, anxiety or pain, it could be there is a co-occurring condition at play. This helps sort out what exactly is taking place.
Know the options for treatment. Chances are strong that when this conversation takes place, the addict (or anyone who intervenes) does not fully understand the forms of treatment available. Understanding details such as how long a program takes place, is it inpatient or outpatient care and what aftercare entails are crucial to the equation.
Try to avoid an overly emotional approach
When bringing up the subject of drug addiction with an addict, you’ll have to expect a defensive posture will be taken by them. That’s understandable, actually. If you can imagine your own weaknesses and having someone directly speak about them to you, it may provide an understanding of what takes place.
So try to avoid letting emotions set the tone for this conversation. Yes, many emotions may come out in the process, ranging from fear and disappointment to anger and guilt. But that alone cannot be the basis for your conversation. It’s likely an escalation of emotions will make the subject of this conversation reject all the points and intentions presented.
Instead, try to remain calm (as possible) in explaining how their behavior impacts family, friends, employers and anyone else with whom they come into contact. Instead of using an accusatory tone, an honest and heartfelt overview may be more effective.
Be prepared to begin the treatment process
You are to be commended for initiating this discussion. It’s not an easy conversation to have, but if it is effective, the addict may be willing to take the next step.
Studies have shown it’s best to be able to strike while the iron is hot. If they are open to hearing what you have to say, it could be possible you have found a moment when they are receptive and willing to undergo treatment. A willing addict who wants help has a better chance of succeeding at conquering their addiction.
We are ready to help. Contact us if you need help starting the conversation.