18 Apr Drug and Alcohol Intervention Services in Ontario
Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol tends to take a person by force, and changes everything about that person. It can turn from experimentation to casual/weekend use, to dependency/addiction in seemingly a blink of an eye. It’s difficult to watch somebody in our lives go through the devastating effects of addiction, and simultaneously frustrating and heartbreaking to those around them. It can make us feel helpless to watch somebody suffering from drug or alcohol dependency, but there are options out there for recovery. Sometimes speaking to them directly on your own isn’t effective enough, and it may be time to consider professional intervention services.
When Is It Time For An Intervention?
While most times an addiction is visible, there are many times when those who are using become adept at hiding their habits. There are many warning signs that a loved one is struggling with an addiction. These are a lot harder to see within oneself, and often times addicts won’t want to admit when their drug or alcohol use has spiraled out of control. When somebody we know is dealing with an addiction, it destroys not only their own life but the lives of those around them. Some signs that an addiction is present are:
- Increased mood swings and defensiveness about use
When a person becomes defensive about their drug or alcohol use, chances are they’re aware that it’s becoming problematic, or they feel that it’s necessary to continue making themselves happy, or relying on their use to get through the days.
- Using drugs or alcohol alone
When a person who was once a social drinker begins drinking on their own, or too often during the week, or at inappropriate moments, it’s a major red flag that they’re struggling. When a person is drinking during the day, this is a surefire way to tell that they’re struggling to keep their addiction under control.
Whether some drug users may consider themselves casual or experimenting, when this usage spikes or becomes a solitary act, it’s an indication of problematic behaviour.
- Irrational behaviour
Drug and alcohol abuse can lead to impulsive decision-making, reckless spending, agitation, bouts of anger or sadness, and in severe cases hallucinations and loss of consciousness. Any increase in irrational behaviour can indicate that somebody is having a hard time emotionally due to their dependency.
- Sudden loss of employment, or stealing to make ends meet
The loss of a job or employment which was once regular can be a major indication of a drug or alcohol problem that’s becoming problematic. If your loved one is stealing, or borrowing money, this is also a sign that their drinking or drug use is becoming a dependency.
- Physical changes in appearance
Abusing drugs and alcohol has a physical effect on one’s appearance. Often times abusing alcohol will cause puffiness in the face, red or bloodshot eyes, visible shakes and tremors, slurred speech, and an increase in somebody generally feeling unwell, or continually exhausted.
If you see any of these signs in somebody near and dear to you it may be time to consider hosting an intervention.
Steps and Goals of Drug and Alcohol Interventions
The goal of a drug or alcohol intervention is to make the addict see that their behaviour is not only self-destructive but disruptive and painful to the lives of the people around them.
This is done by gathering a group of people with shared concerns about a friend or family member’s drug or alcohol abuse, who can sit in a safe and comfortable setting for everybody involved, and have an open, honest, and most times emotional discussion with that person and share their concerns. This is best facilitated by using a professional interventionist.
Here are some of the goals and steps that you can expect during an intervention, and ways that an intervention can help somebody fighting an addiction.
Have A Professional Interventionist Facilitate
Having a professional interventionist to host the intervention provides a reliable and tested structure for interventions that have been successful in past cases. Additionally, your interventionist will be able to help you and your loved ones prepare emotionally for how the intervention will go. Remember that they have done this before and have seen most of the common outcomes, reactions, and scenarios, and are able to assess the situation to help everybody involved.
Remember to plan the intervention as well for a time when you know that the person is least likely to have been using, and is going to be sober and more receptive to the intervention process.
Have Each Person Speak Their Concerns
Having everybody in the room taking turns to speak to the addict about how their addiction has affected them is a popular method of interventions and helps the addict to realize that this intervention is being hosted out of love for them, and not out of judgment.
Have A Plan For Treatment
It’s important to go into the intervention with an immediate plan prepared for treatment. This could include a planned detox center, or a confirmed bed available in a rehab treatment center, or a determined next step. In the best-case scenario of an intervention, the person will agree to treatment, and it’s best to have the next step readily available for them to walk out of the intervention and go to.
Prepare For A Negative Reaction
Unfortunately, a negative reaction can be expected the majority of times an intervention is held. Often a person has a difficult time admitting to a fault, or to their addictions. If there have been no warning signs or steps leading up to this point, an intervention may appear sudden to them, or out of the blue. They may not be aware that people have been concerned about their substance abuse. Regardless, a negative reaction doesn’t mean giving up.
Addicts can also react negatively due to their belief that they “need” the drug or alcohol to continue making them happy, or coping with life stresses which they have never been prepared for, or taught suitable coping mechanisms. Addicts may also fear the effects of withdrawal if their addiction has gone on for too long – and after too much time goes by, it becomes necessary to go through a physical withdrawal process which often has to be done under medical care.
When going into an intervention it’s best to be prepared for this worst-case scenario, and clearly outline actions you will take if your loved one refuses to quit using drugs and/or alcohol. These steps may include distancing yourself from them, and it’s important to be prepared to also follow through on these actions and consequences.
Ontario Intervention Services and Treatment Options
It isn’t easy to watch somebody we love struggle with an addiction that changes their personality, their appearance, and destroys the traits in them that we once loved. It’s important to choose a trusted professional who with experience in both drug/alcohol addiction counseling and experience with counseling for mental health disorders.
Our team provides counseling and resources to people in Ontario, and other provinces in Canada, who are struggling with addiction and in need of intervention, therapy, or addiction services. We want to help you make this process of intervention as easy as possible.
Contact us today for help with your own recovery, or that of a friend or relative who may be struggling with their addiction.