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Intervention with addictions?

2010

I have recently been watching the show "Intervention" and I am just wondering if an intervention is a realistic approach when dealing with an addiction? I realize that sometimes caregivers unknowingly enable their children in regards to addiction. What do you think?
 
Leah Turk
Abbotsford, BC
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Leah asked whether an intervention is a realistic approach when dealing with an addiction ...
 
What's the 'success' level behind the TV show intervention vs other methods? There is your answer.
 
Lisa
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I know that from a personal experience with a family member that an intervention is what worked to keep him drug and alcohol free for the last 5 years. It was an intervention through his employer which ultimately saved his life, his job and his family. I would say that for some people intervention is the way to go.
 
Nancy Mcmanus
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Hi Leah,
 
I absolutely love the show Intervention.  Is it a realistic approach?  I think it is for sure.  It's not an ultimatum, it is still a choice for the addict whether or not they choose to enter treatment for their addiction.

The family members on the show are simply letting the addict know they will not support them in their chosen behaviour should they choose their path of addiction over treatment.  It us ultimately up to the addict what they want to do.  The purpose of the show is to enlighten the families as to how they are enabling their loved ones and how this is also a choice for them.  The families are then choosing to no longer enable the addict by stopping their own behaviours of lending money, providing a place to stay etc.  It is up to the addict to stop the behaviour of abuse they are exhibiting.
 
The follow-up on the addicts appearing on this show vary from a complete change in their lifestyle for the positive to relapse after relapse and the continuation of their addictive behaviour.  The addict has to not only be ready for change, but has to also want that change.  For those who are ready and willing I think it an intervention is a very positive and helpful step in the right direction.  It's an opportunity for them to hear positive encouragement and love from their family as well as a reality check for what they are no longer willing to provide in order to enable their behaviour.
 
Robyn Bocking
Calgary, AB
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I don't think the "success" (or lack thereof) of the TV show cases demonstrates whether or not it is an effective approach. Take a look at the "success" rate of any program or treatment, relapse rates are extremely high. I'm not saying this approach is the best option, just that we can't write it off based on raw numbers.
 
Jillian Enright,
Winnipeg, MB
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Interesting discussion, 2 of my family members went through the "Intervention" program last week and have just begun their treatment. The show will air in 5-7 months.
 
Jon DeActis
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I believe that the method used on the show Intervention is probably one of the best.  Like someone else said, it still provides the user with a choice. It is not an ultimatum, but a bottom line.  You are giving them the choice to continue with their addiction if they so choose, but you are also telling them what they will be forfeiting if they choose that path.  I am a recovered drug user myself, and I have brought my husband up from the darkness of addiction as well. I have a lot of experience here and my long-term career goal is to be a drug counsellor for youth.
 
The problems with dealing with addiction tends to lie within the families. Family members care about the addict and try to do everything in their power to save them, and so they meet all the other needs that aren't related to drug use.  They may pay the addict's rent, or buy him groceries, or give him money or drive him somewhere... the list goes on.  As long as the addict is receiving all of these things from his family, what motivation is there to stop?  Why bother?  He can have his cake and eat it too.  That is why an Intervention is effective.  If the family can stick to their guns and withhold all of these things, the addict is left with nothing but the drug. For some this may be alright, but for many its not.
 
I do think that an intervention should be more of a last resort.  After all, it's a finality.  Either you enter treatment or you live without all of these things we have been giving you.

Lyndsay Macdonald
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