Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Stage an Intervention
Witnessing a loved one spiral out of control and lose themselves in their addiction can be a heart-wrenching experience. You may be asking yourself whether it’s your place to even say anything. You feel helpless. You don’t hear from them for hours or days. Your normal days are full of stress, worry, and concern. Finally, you decide that you can’t watch them hurt themselves any longer and the time has come to intervene.
Here is why you shouldn’t wait to stage an addiction intervention for your loved one:
It’s quite simple: the longer an individual remains addicted, the more strain his body and mind go through.
If you’ve ever had to interact with a marijuana or cocaine addict, you’ll understand these kinds of drugs can cause feelings of paranoia amidst its users. Such addicts may feel hunted or persecuted and won’t feel they can trust anybody. They’ll feel the need to conceal or lie about their drug use.
Of course, the fact that such drugs aren’t legal will only exacerbate the situation and increase their preference to hide their usage. With time, these feelings of paranoia will only grow stronger and it will become harder for you to reach out to them during an intervention.
Unfortunately, there are a few tough truths to know about addiction. There are individuals who turn to drugs to treat themselves for depression and are usually self-prescribed. In such situations, the patient only feels better whilst under the intoxicating effect of the drug in question.
To make the healing effects last longer, the patient may overuse those drugs and become addicted. Also, bear in mind that several drugs have a withdrawal effect that includes depression or other mood-altering effects that can worsen your loved one’s recovery.
Addiction Can Cause Death
In 2003, the Drug Abuse Warning Network reported that people who overdosed on drugs did so while under the influence of more than one. When a different quantity of drugs is used simultaneously and mixed, the combination of their effects is what can cause death. For instance, if you mix alcohol with painkillers, it can impact your breathing in diverse ways.
You’ll be surprised to learn that prescription opioids are the biggest contributor to deaths due to drug overdose; it occurs because of a breathing failure. A fatal opioid dose amplifies the inhibitory impact of GABA, gradually slowing down the addict’s breathing to a halt.
Alcohol can cause an overdose, in two ways: an addict’s body will attempt to cleanse itself of alcohol by purifying the stomach through vomit. If the addict is unconscious and vomits in such a state, he or she could inhale the vomit and suffocate. The second way is by limiting the excitatory impact of glutamate and can make an addict pass out. If a person is really intoxicated, his breathing will become very slow and eventually stop.
Addiction is a Chronic Disease
The American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine have classified addiction as an actual illness. It’s perceived as being caused due to a number of physiological, natural and behavioral variables that has an adverse impact on the human mind and body.
Generally, when someone sleeps and eats well, they feel content due to the release of specific chemicals in his mind. Such positive emotions are also created due to an addicted person reaching levels of intoxication as the same chemicals are released in the brain.
With the passage of time, the addict will not only crave but need the drug in question to achieve that same feeling of pleasure and contentment. As he or she continues to utilize the drug, the addict’s brain will continue to release such chemicals and their body will be severely impacted.
The addict will prefer to engage in substance application rather than deriving pleasure from daily routine events. Evidently, due to the constant release of such chemicals in the brain, their impact will linger, affecting the mind. It’ll only worsen if you wait to have an intervention and taking back control of his addiction, his mind and his body will become an even greater challenge than before.
Addicted individuals don’t realize the impact their behavior has on their family, friends and loved ones. Staging an intervention could be a wake-up call to them, even if they’re in the late stages of denial and refuse treatment. What’s more is that sometimes it may help if their loved ones talk to them.
In their heads, they’re engaging in normal behavior and there is nothing remotely irregular about it. Giving them a reality check through an intervention may just encourage them to seek out treatment for this addiction or give them reasons to get better.
Your Loved One Needs You
Just like the motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle comes from within yourself, your addicted loved one can be the only one to decide to go for treatment. However, that doesn’t mean that he or she can truly handle it on their own. Sure, we don’t doubt their courage and capability in being successfully treated—the real test begins afterward.
Staying on the bandwagon is the actual challenge. Whether they realize it or not, they will need you before, during and after the treatment to keep them on the road to recovery. You can make yourself physically and emotionally available by being supportive and non-judgmental.
Offer to help them pack for the treatment center and to drive them there. Go visit them on a weekly basis and be there to pick them up when they complete their treatment program. Try to join a productive activity together such as yoga a few times a week. This will give him something to look forward to whilst they recover and keep their body engaged in a healthy manner.
Volkow, N., Koob, G. and McLellan, A. (2016). Neurobiologic Advances from the Brain Disease Model of Addiction. New England Journal of Medicine, 374(4), pp.363-371.