Intervention for an addicted person is the first step to deal with addiction that negatively affects the family situation or hinders proper functioning in society. Very often, specific alcohol or drug addictions are stigmatized for years, without a firm reaction from the family, which does not want to get involved in the so-called. war footing, but this is an incorrect approach that supports the “unhealthy” relations of the household members. In today’s article, we will tell you how to motivate an addict to treatment. We will also explain how a crisis intervention for an addicted person should proceed
What is an intervention for a person addicted to alcohol?
Intervention against a person addicted to alcohol (or other addictive substances, including the abuse of painkillers) is a confrontation, i.e. a factual presentation of the most important information related to the functioning of the patient. In our opinion, this is a kind of help without which the addicted person will not notice the problem and will consider the current state of affairs as appropriate.
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How to motivate an addict to treatment?
Motivation of an addicted person for treatment should be based primarily on crisis intervention. It consists, as we mentioned earlier, in a conversation between the closest family members and the sick person. Before holding a confrontation, focus on 3 key elements:
- atmosphere of the meeting,
- content provided to the addict,
- selecting the right interviewers.
Remember to make the conversation as effective as possible. Perhaps this is the only possible confrontation with the sick. From experience, we can say that an intervention conversation will be effective if we approach it objectively, specifically and kindly. Additionally, it is worth presenting the so-called first-hand facts and have the right attitude towards the ailment. To sum up, the intervention towards an addicted person should be carried out:
When participating in the intervention, one should refer to specific facts and disturbing behaviors (e.g. leaving work too often, unpaid bills). We recommend that you discuss only certain topics, avoiding talking about aspects that we are not sure of, for example – counting abstinence days or claiming that the addict must have consumed alcohol after work because he did not return home for too long (although these are only our guesses).
Crisis intervention for an addict should be specific. We do not recommend using generalities such as: “you’ve been drinking too much lately”, but use only specifics, for example: “for the last 5 days you started drinking beer right after work, and before 10:00 p.m. you finished your tenth can, despite the fact that you promised your children to go to cinema.
What phrases should NOT be used when talking to an addicted person?
- you thought no one would know;
- you are an irresponsible parent;
- you blow everything.
What wording should be used when talking to an addicted person?
- you hid 10 bottles of beer from me on Thursday afternoon and I found them;
- you did not go to the cinema with your children despite your promise;
- you were supposed to prepare dinner for us.
It is also worth quoting specific expressions of an addict, which we considered as insults. Speaking in generalities increases tension and may cause the person not to want to continue the meeting by simply leaving.
Kindness is a fundamental aspect during crisis intervention. We need to show the chosen person that we care about them. We can’t build an atmosphere of tension and anger, because that will only make things worse and possibly not even allow us to finish the meeting.
A friendly atmosphere will make it possible not only to provide the most important information, but also to make the patient carefully listen to them, additionally implementing them (e.g. in the form of going to rehab center).
4. First hand facts
We only rely on first-hand facts. Let’s not use phrases like: “Your friend said you also drink outdoors.” These are just rumors for which we have no confirmation. We should mention certain situations that we have also experienced with this person.
5. Appropriate attitude to a given ailment
We need to properly adjust all family members participating in the meeting to the ailments the patient is struggling with. Well, he has a problem and often does not realize it, which is why he unconsciously “turns on” specific defense mechanisms, denying the facts or not noticing the harm of drinking alcohol.
Therefore, it is worth being aware of the patient’s ailments and not making him angry, not manipulating him, or pursuing the truth at all costs. Let’s “open up” to him, tell him what we feel, present the facts and arouse in him the desire to change by pointing to situations that could have had a much more positive course if not for his alcoholism.
Resources: Vita Recovery
Crisis intervention towards an addicted person – what to say during the conversation?
Crisis intervention towards an addicted person requires not only an appropriate approach, attitude and presentation of specific facts. It is also important to choose the right wording.
First of all, we should make it clear to the patient that we care about him. Then, relate to the facts, explaining how it affected our family life, and finally, present the forms of help available to addicts. In our opinion, it is crucial that during the conversation:
A. Say a sentence like “we care about you”
It is the duty of the persons conducting the intervention towards the addicted person to introduce a friendly atmosphere. Next, it is worth showing the patient tenderly that we are worried about him. How to do it? It is enough to support each fact with nice words (e.g. “I love you very much and I don’t want to lose you, so I decided to say that due to your alcohol abuse …”).
B. Address the facts about addiction
Effective intervention against an addicted person is based, as we mentioned earlier, on presenting the facts. However, these cannot be “dry” anecdotes, but specific situations supported by several aspects:
- what happened,
- how an addicted person behaved,
- how it affected us.
Let’s remember not to let emotions dominate this part of the conversation. They are important, but the priority element is a list of facts supported by specific behaviors of the patient, our feelings and consequences.
C. Present the available forms of help for addicts
At the end of the intervention towards an addicted person, we should present the available forms of help and the consequences of the patient’s lack of action. A good option is to use the so-called ultimatum from his wife. For example, “If you don’t see a therapist in 15 days, I’ll move out.” Let’s remember that this should actually be done if the husband skips the visit to the psychologist.
We also recommend making the husband aware that he has to be sober from the moment of setting the “ultimatum”. We know of such cases that husbands regularly go to therapy, and after the visit they drink the proverbial monkey and return home.
How to motivate an addict to treatment? – summary
One of the best ways to motivate an addict to treatment is through crisis intervention. However, we should carry it out factually, specifically, kindly, based on facts, being properly disposed to talk to the patient. It is also worth showing the person in need that we care about them, pointing out how the given behavior affected our family life and presenting the available forms of help, such as help in a private addiction therapy centre.