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Approximately 21.5 million people who were at least 12 years old in 2014 suffered from a substance use disorder involving drugs or alcohol, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports.
In 2013, more than 20 million American adults needed treatment for a substance abuse or dependency issue; however, they did not receive the proper care at a specialized facility, NSDUH further reports.
There are many potential barriers to treatment, including cost. Substance abuse costs the people of the United States more than $700 billion each year in expenses related to lost production in the workplace, criminal justice costs, and healthcare expenses, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates. Cost of treatment is much lower in the long run than the expense of continued substance abuse and addiction.
Perhaps one of the largest potential barriers for getting help for addiction is that the individual does not recognize that a problem exists. Addiction takes a toll not only on the individual affected, but also on families, loved ones, coworkers, and society as a whole. In 2013, according to that year’s NSDUH, more than 95 percent of those who needed treatment for a substance use disorder, and didn’t get it, didn’t think they needed help; they did not perceive the need for treatment. An intervention can help individuals to see the need for substance abuse treatment and encourage them to get the help they require.
An intervention is a structured meeting between the people impacted by an individual’s struggles with drug or alcohol abuse and/or addiction and the individual who needs help. The primary goal of an intervention is to motivate the individual to enter into a drug or alcohol treatment program voluntarily. Family members, other loved ones, neighbors, coworkers, teammates, school peers, church members, or anyone else who may be affected by an individual’s substance abuse may wish to participate in an intervention. The key is that these individuals should be close to the subject of the intervention.
Typically, loved ones will plan and schedule an intervention without the individual’s knowledge. Interventions should be well structured and occur at a time when the individual is not intoxicated and may be in the most receptive state. If the individual has a history of mental illness, violence, or patterns of self-harming behaviors, a professional mental health, substance abuse provider, or interventionist is especially beneficial and able to ensure the safety and security of all participating parties. Trained interventionists may choose to become members of the Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS), and families choosing an AIS member can get help from a professional who adheres to stringent code of ethics and meets both performance and educational standards. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCAAD) reports that about 90 percent of interventions run with the help of a professional interventionist are successful, resulting in the person in need seeking professional help. An interventionist can help families to set up, plan, and run a smooth intervention.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a disease that influences a person’s ability to control their substance use, and the disease actually interferes with the way the brain functions. Addiction is highly personal, and what works for one person may not work quite the same for another.
Fortunately, there are multiple methods and variations of drug treatment programs for families to choose from that can help a person’s brain to heal and enhance a sustained recovery. NIDA reports that there are over 14,500 facilities provided specialized drug treatment within the United States.
The first step is getting the individual to agree that treatment can be beneficial and to enter into a program.
Some general steps for carrying out an intervention are as follows:
Addiction is highly personal, and what works for one person may not work quite the same for another. enter into treatment immediately