Should You Hire an Addiction Intervention Specialist?

Should You Hire an Addiction Intervention Specialist?

You have tried just about everything to get a loved one into treatment. You are at your wits’ end. No matter how much you beg, cajole, or even threaten this person, they just will not budge. You are terrified that their drug or alcohol abuse will only get worse – and you know that nothing you say will ever get through to them.

Is it time for an intervention?

According to Earl Hightower, an addiction interventionist who has done over 2,000 interventions over the past two decades, if you are thinking about an intervention, it is likely time for an intervention.

“This is not a question people typically ask themselves. If you are asking it, you know there is a problem. Usually by the time a person even considers intervention there is little doubt the addicted person is in real trouble,” says Hightower.

Typically, families allow an addicted person to continue their behavior for many years. The person may rack up DUIs, lose a job, or destroy a relationship before anyone acknowledges the problem. Why does this happen?

“Addicts are master manipulators,” explains Hightower. “They also know how to compartmentalize. They know how to act with each person in the family to enable their addiction. Most addicts and alcoholics know they have a problem – that’s not the obstacle – the obstacle is a willingness to get treatment.”

Some families may try to intervene on their own, but this is often not successful. The addict has become adept at playing people off each other and doing just enough to make it possible to continuing drinking or using drugs. By hiring a licensed, credentialed interventionist you benefit from the extremely important pre-intervention work that ensures the best possible chance of getting the addicted person into treatment.

According to Hightower, pre-intervention is the most critical part of the intervention process.

“An intervention is not an event,” he explains. “It is a process that includes pre-intervention work, the intervention itself, then post-intervention work.”

Not all interventionists are created equal – if you are considering hiring one, it’s important to look for someone who is credentialed and experienced.

“What you see on A&E Intervention has little relevance in the real world,” Hightower says. “You can’t watch a few episodes then know how to do an intervention.”

Even if an intervention successfully results in the person going to treatment, the next step is even more critical. This is where post-intervention work done by an experienced interventionist is essential.

Treatment is a bridge to recovery. Recovery is a completely different animal. In post-intervention work the interventionists should make sure the patient has all the elements in place to make continued recovery possible. Without that, the patient simply goes home, back to the same old routine; the odds are against them.

“If the interventionist thinks they’re done as soon as the patient enters treatment, they are not doing a complete intervention,” says Hightower.

Is there ever a case so dire than an intervention won’t help? Patricia Meyers, Clinical Director of Admissions at Promises Treatment Centers, doesn’t believe so. Meyers has worked with many of the top interventionists in the country who have helped people in the most extreme circumstances get into treatment.

“I’m the all-time optimist. I believe unless somebody is 6 feet under you don’t give up on them,” Meyers said.

If you are interested in hiring an interventionist, do your research and focus on those who are board-registered interventionists. These people with have the credentials “BRI-I” or “BRI-II” after their name. Also check if they are certified as drug and alcohol counselors (CADC) or have a psychology degree. You can also ask for references from past families they have helped.

Many of the top treatment centers work with the leading interventionists. You can call the treatment center and ask for a referral to an interventionist. They will ask for some information about the addicted person – behaviors, drugs of choice, and level of urgency – to make an appropriate referral to an intervention specialist.

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