Intervention for Drug Addiction
Using a professional experienced Interventionist to guide and stage a family intervention is suggested in the context of drug addiction. Yes, an interventionist adds a cost to the process, yet brings a sense of purpose, method and care planning to a very sensitive challenging life changing oppertunity.
Drug Addiction – The Unknown Factors
With drug interventions we do not know, and probably will have no idea of the exact drugs that are being taken, thus putting great emphasis on the Intervention style and initial detox treatment element.
We do not know because street drugs, legal highs and drugs of all types purchased on the internet do not come with any kind of reliable evidence regarding the exact chemical makeup.
We do no know because the nature of mood and mind altering drugs is that they alter the mind and the mood of the person, thus rendering the ability for accurate quantity and frequency assessment to be hazy at best. Even with prescribed drugs from his or her doctor, we can not be sure they have been taken as prescribed. Additional care needs to be given to the fact that everyone is different, and any kind of reducing regime or detox needs to account for this variable.
Drug Addiction Interventions also have to account for the safety of the group, both emotionally and physically. Many have read so many horror stories about drug addiction, or read that the worst thing about the drug is the law, that reaction to the intervention process needs to be considerate and empathic to views and expectations. Regarding physical safety, some people are aggressive and angry, paranoid or psychotic in response to drug use, which if not managed carefully within the context of the Intervention process can be a scary if not risky situation.
Drug Solution – Drug Problem
Lets be clear, not all drug use is a problem. Drugs are crucial to the regulated health care service across the globe in service of helping poorly people get well, stay well and be able to live a rich and meaningful life. In this context, illness etc, Drug use is a Drug Solution, not problem.
Drug use is contextual. Many advocate opiates for the end of life management, and morphine is delivered accordingly. That is a drug solution. Heroin used at home on your own for avoidance of withdrawal is a short term solution, but in context of health, society, family, finances, sport, hobbies, work etc, would be classed as a Drug Problem.
One reason we need drug addiction interventions is the trap that friends and families become aware is happening to them. They have followed the progression of a loved ones addiction with more and more efforts to help, guide, support and change the drug use. This often means the person has the drugs and the family ends up with the problems.
The Drug Addiction Trap – Family Intervention – Family Problems
“My mother in law is using codeine and can no longer function. I am doing everything for her. Shopping, errands, day to day tasks, and constantly checking on her.”
“My brother is stoned all day and night at University, he is going to get kicked out. I have moved him to other accomodation, been to see his tutor, spoken to his GP, and he is still using. I have paid off his debts to stop his stress, but he just carried on.”
“My husband has a good job, keeps fit, provided for our children, but uses cocaine most weekends, I am scared and lonely. I no longer make arrangements at weekends. I have taken a part time job as we are getting into debt. I do not tell his family for risk of upsetting them and him.”
“It started off with the GP prescribing some diazepam for anxiety, now she is buying it in bulk on the internet. She gets so angry if I say anything. She hides it and I look for it. If she drinks she is a danger to her self and others. I sometimes buy it for her rather than risk seeing her go into withdrawal. The GP will not speak to me about it as it is client confidentiality.”
Addiction Problems – A lesson in walking on eggshells
Addiction trains the family to adopt a fear based approach to their loved one. An Intervention will bring up many emotions for the persons who want to help.
Guilt: “I feel guilty doing this to them”.
Minimising: “The are not always that bad, and I am sure they will pull them selves around soon.”
Fear: The are so angry if I try to persuade them to change or even if I mention the drug use.
Shame: I did or said bad things as well. I caused some of this because off….
Blame: It is not their fault totally. If that or this or him or her had not said, did etc, they would not be like this now.
Family Drug Addiction Intervention – First Steps
Call in a Certified Intervention Professional, and be prepared to put in the ground work. The first step is the Intervention assessment and planning stage. This is a 2 hour session whereby the nature of the problem is fully uncovered. The family and current life situation is assessed. These factors are then combined to assess and advise on two main issues. What treatment and care plan process is needed. What is the best style of Intervention process to use in context of all of the above.
What is a Drug Problem?
A problem is always in context of the persons life and values as it is now. Here are a few simple ways to identify a drug problem.
The Drug Screening Questionnaire
1. Have you used drugs other than those required for medical reasons?
2. Do you abuse more than one drug at a time?
3. Are you unable to stop using drugs when you want to?
4. Have you ever had blackouts or flashbacks as a result of drug use?
5. Do you ever feel bad or guilty about your drug use?
6. Does your spouse (or parents) ever complain about your involvement with drugs?
7. Have you neglected your family because of your use of drugs?
8. Have you engaged in illegal activities in order to obtain drugs?
9. Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms (felt sick) when you stopped
10. Have you had medical problems as a result of your drug use (e.g. memory loss,
hepatitis, convulsions, bleeding)?
Johnson Intervention Addiction Assessment Questions
1. Is the person drinking (or using any other drug) more now than he or she did in the past?
2. Are you ever afraid to be around the person when he or she is drinking or using drugs —
because of the possibility of verbal, emotional or physical abuse?
3. Has the person ever forgotten or denied things that happened during a drinking or using
4. Do you worry about the person’s drinking or drug use?
5. Does the person refuse to talk about his or her drinking or drug use – or even to discuss the
possibility that he or she might have a problem with it?
6. Has the person broken promises to control or stop his or her drinking or drug use?
7. Has the person ever lied about his or her drinking or using, or tried to hide it from you?
8. Have you ever been embarrassed by the person’s drinking or drug use?
9. Have you ever lied to anyone else about the person’s drinking or drug use?
10. Have you ever made excuses for the way the person behaved while drinking or using?
11. Are most of the person’s friend’s heavy drinkers or drug users?
12. Does the person make excuses for, or try to justify, his or her drinking or using?
13. Do you feel guilty about the person’s drinking or drug use?
14. Are holidays and social functions unpleasant for you because of the person’s drinking or
15. Do you feel anxious or tense around the person because of his or her drinking or drug use?
16. Have you ever helped the person to “cover up” for a drinking or using episode — by calling
his or her employer, or telling others that he or she is feeling “sick”?
17. Does the person deny that he or she has a drinking problem because he or she only drinks
beer (or wine)? Or deny that he or she has a drug problem because use is “limited” to
marijuana, or diet pills, or some other supposedly “harmless” or recreational substance?
18. Does the person’s behavior change noticeably when he or she is drinking or using? (For example: a normally quiet person might become loud and talkative, or a normally mild-
mannered person might become quick to anger.)
19. Does the person avoid social functions where alcohol will not be served, or drugs will not
be available or permitted?
20. Does the person insist on going only to restaurants that serve alcohol?
21. To your knowledge, has the person ever driven a car while intoxicated or under the
influence of drugs?
22. Has the person ever received a drink drive conviction?
23. Are you afraid to be a passenger in the car with the person?
24. Has anyone else talked to you about the person’s drinking or using behavior?
25. Has the person ever expressed remorse for his or her behavior during a drinking or using
26. If you are married to the person and have children, are the children afraid of the person
while he or she is drinking or using?
27. Does the person seem to have a low self-image?
28. Have you ever found alcohol or drugs that the person has hidden?
29. Is the person having financial difficulties that seem to be related to his or her drinking or
30. Does the person look forward to times when he or she can drink or use drugs?
Diagnostic Criteria for Substance Dependence
A maladaptive pattern of substance use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three (or more) of the following, occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:
(1) Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
a. A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
b. Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
(2) Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
a. The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance
b. The same (or a closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
(3) The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended (loss of control).
(4) There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use (loss of control).
(5) A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects (preoccupation).
(6) Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use (continuation despite adverse consequences).
(7) The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance. (adverse consequences).
From the DSM IV manual