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Intervention and Substance Abuse

Intervention is a deliberate process that usually involves a person or several people approaching a person involved in some type of self-destructive behavior. The intent is to share concerns about the person’s welfare and encourage them to seek help. The overall objective of an intervention is to begin to relieve the suffering caused by a self-destructive behavior – the suffering of the person engaged in the behavior as well as the suffering of family and friends.

People engaged in self-destructive behavior will often times reject any assistance others may offer. However, when intervention is done correctly, is extremely effective in decreasing self-destructive behavior.

There is no absolute right way to intervene in someone else’s life. It is also important to remember that the user himself has to play a part in admission and taking responsibility for his behavior. There are many types of intervention, including family, workplace, court involved interventions, and diversion intervention programs. Oftentimes families will begin the initial stages of intervention. This happens when the substance abuser is confronted by a friend or family member. If this approach does not prove effective and the self-destructive behavior persists, a court mandated intervention is usually handed down.

Several things need to be considered when intervening. The first is always the issue of urgency and safety. Remember that an intervention is often a highly charged emotional experience and it can have varied outcomes. It is important to have a support system in place, for example, trusted family and friends and perhaps a professional who can provide guidance and objectivity.

Intervention will prove to be a hard and difficult task, but no harder than continuing to watch a person fall to their own demise. If a friend or family member is concerned enough to explore the option of intervention, the situation is probably serious and deserves action. The fear that intervention might make matters worse is a concern that stops people from acing, but doing nothing will make matters worse.

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