The Role Of Early Intervention In Curbing Substance Use Disorder

Juliet D'cruz

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The Role Of Early Intervention In Curbing Substance Use Disorder


Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) can impair the proper functioning of an individual in multiple ways. Continued use of substances can harm the user both physically as well as mentally. It can lead to compromised mental functioning, along with altering physical aspects of the body. 

Over the last few years, there has been growing awareness around treatment options as far as recovery and rehab centers are concerned. It should be pointed out that there are a range of treatment options that differ in form, type, and severity. 

There is not a ‘one size fits all’ model that is applied when it comes to detox or recovery. It depends on several factors like the nature of drug use, time period of consumption, type of substance, age, gender, etc. In other words, no two individuals are alike in their recovery. 

In this resource article, we look to understand and examine the importance of early intervention in drug addiction and recovery. If you or someone you know is currently struggling with a substance use disorder, please learn more about how intervention can help in this article. 

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Intervention in Substance Abuse: Why is it necessary?

What is the first feeling or emotion that comes naturally when you hear someone is struggling with a substance abuse disorder?

Let me guess. You are more likely to blame the person rather than try to understand what are the factors that prompted them to fall back upon drugs or alcohol. 

Intervention is the process by which friends, family members, and even medical professionals confront an individual that is consuming drugs or struggling with an alcohol addiction problem. This is followed by seeking help from mental health treatment center detox institutions. 

An intervention is a carefully planned event whose purpose is to make the individual acknowledge that they have a problem and offer solace and comfort that they are not alone in terms of overcoming the same. 

Was it because of a failed relationship or being subject to mental stresses while growing up in a dysfunctional family? There can be sensitive reasons that might be behind someone starting to use in the first place. 

Many leading experts that help individuals with recovery say that when it comes to fighting addiction troubles in our society, we are cumulatively guilty of being more reactive than proactive!

We tend to act too late when we notice that someone is seriously struggling with physical or mental side effects. In most cases, if the same care and concern were exercised at an earlier stage, the individual can be helped, and the chances of negative withdrawal can be limited. 

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Addiction and Intervention: Examples where you should stage an Intervention

It is not easy to have a healthy discussion with someone that is struggling with a substance abuse disorder. This is because the primary reaction will always be denial. If things get bad, this can be followed by anger or rage. 

People cannot see or let alone acknowledge that they have a problem that requires addressing. Staging a formal intervention should be done in the following cases- 

  1. Alcohol addiction
  2. Overuse of prescription drugs and medications
  3. Consumption of street drugs
  4. Eating disorders (too much or too little)
  5. Compulsive gambling-related disorders 
  6. Addiction to pornographic elements or sex

In most instances, people that are struggling with any of the above-mentioned problems do not realize the impact their behavior is having on those around them. 

With an intervention, they feel that they are not alone. They get the emotional and mental strength to recognize that there is a problem and that they need to come out of it for not only their sake but for their loved ones as well. 

If you are planning to hold an intervention, you need to focus on three major points of discussion-

  • Firstly, you need to list down their behavior problems in the past and point out how they have changed once they started using. 
  • Secondly, you need to already have a plan of action in terms of researching the recovery centers and medical treatment. 
  • Thirdly, be frank and formal about how the individual’s consumption is affected their loved ones negatively. 

How to Plan the Perfect Intervention for Substance Abuse Disorder in 3 Easy Steps

In the last few sections of the article, we spoke at length about the necessity of intervention and provided various examples of when an intervention can be staged. In this section, we are going to outline three easy steps that can help plan the perfect intervention for substance abuse disorder-

Step 1: Make the Planning Group

Get everyone that wants to support the individual to overcome the problem. Make a plan on the day, date, and time on which you would want to hold the intervention. It is best that you do it in a familiar setting like a house. Try to avoid public places as this is never a good idea. Understand the myriad emotions that will come out during the discussions. 

Step 2: Try to Gather Evidence and Information

If there are needles, syringes, or empty bottles that have been hidden away by the user, you need to get them for the intervention. You also need to ask their extended friend circle and even work colleagues if there have been any changes in behavior. This will help you get the information you need to prepare a detailed analysis of the problem and present it best. 

Step 3: Prepare personalized notes and speeches for everyone in the intervention group

Everyone that is part of the intervention group needs to create their own personal script. This is what they need to read out to the individual that is consuming. It has to be personal anecdotes and life experiences and should be addressed in a comforting and emotional manner. You need to convey how much the individual means to you and why you want them back healthy. 

The Bottom Line

Experts recommend that the earlier you stage an intervention, the better the chances of recovery. The earlier the affected user gets treatment, the more the chances of them regaining their physical and mental health. 

This is because long-term drug use can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms and make the entire process much more difficult. Make sure that you are following the points mentioned in the article with regards to staging an intervention. If you have any doubts or concerns that you would like us to address, please let us know in the comments below. 

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