When is an Intervention Required?

Learn the importance of interventions for individuals in denial of addiction, how professional interventionists guide the process. Our counsellors are here to help you today.



    An intervention becomes necessary when an individual grappling with addiction does not acknowledge their problem, thereby hindering their own path towards recovery. Typically, this course of action is a “last resort” following unsuccessful attempts by the person’s family and friends to address the issue through discussions.

    The essence of an intervention is to convey a collective and clear message regarding the seriousness of the addiction and the need for treatment.

    While this website offers various anonymous questionnaires designed to assess the degree of an addiction, the expertise of a professional counsellor is required to actually determine the treatment needs. Thus the function of an interventionist is to motivate the individual to acknowledge their own need for help and to start taking the first steps towards getting at their own direction.

    Unlike the stereotypical version, a professional interventionist is there to help navigate the complex emotional landscapes from all sides of family members, while effectively communicating with the individual who actually needs the help. This often includes encountering significant resistance, not only from the patient but also from the often problematic and dysfunctional relationship dynamics that, in many cases are contributing to the issues at hand.

    It is in these scenarios an unbiased, confidential third party (the interventionist) is better able to assess the broader dynamics and find actual solutions for all concerned. People very rarely wake up one day and decide to be an “addict” or an “alcoholic”; there is usually a climate of events and relationship distortions that have deteriorated their emotional state to the point where their need to use the substance overshadows their ability to solve the issues at hand.

    There is a common misconception that an interventionist must take sides with the family and ambush the affected individual into submission through tough love. That may work in some cases but in reality in most cases it simply creates greater divides and deeper more galvanized denial and isolation that become counterproductive to the healing process.

    Often, individuals battling addiction or mental health issues are in denial which is a state that blinds them to the necessity of seeking help. Moving from denial to acceptance is a first step for their recovery process to begin and to do that  interventionist function is to help navigate this delicate transition, using therapeutic strategies and direct communication to work through and these dismantle defensive barriers. This approach not only reveals the true extent of the problem to the individual but also fosters a sense of personal accountability to actually start on a path towards resolving it.

    While it is never too late to seek assistance, recognising the signs of addiction and addressing them promptly is always a more favourable option. Psychologically, substances become ingrained in repetitive routines that the mind starts to perceive as normal functions to assist the individual in coping. It is during this transition that convincing an individual of the problematic nature of their relationship with the substance becomes more challenging.

    In the initial phases, several signs may signal a troubling relationship with a substance, allowing families or partners to identify an issue that requires help. These signs can include changes in behaviour, a growing tolerance for substances, neglect of personal hygiene, declining health, relationship problems and work-related issues, among others. Sometimes, recognising these signs is sufficient to overcome denial and resistance without professonal interventions. However, often, without professional guidance, attempts to address the problem can and invariably do arrise through poorly timed threats based on cause and effect that quickly deteriorate into the whos what, why blame game which effectively discounts the sensitivity of these matters.

    Interventions are critical for handling this denial and from a third party perspective providing a moment of clarity for all individual/s involved. More than just confronting the person with the reality of their situation, interventions should be a conducted around the collective best interests of all concerned.

    A professional interventionist plays a crucial role in guiding this process, ensuring clear communication and addressing potential challenges. The effectiveness of an intervention depends on careful planning, including preparing conversations and setting clear expectations and consequences.

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