Millions of Americans are currently grappling with a substance use disorder, but just a fraction of these individuals actually make it to treatment for their addiction. The country’s abysmal treatment gap reflects the need for the friends and family of addicts to take a more active approach toward getting help for their loved ones.
One common mistake that friends and families make when helping a loved one overcome addiction is allowing too much time to pass between the intervention and the beginning of treatment.
There are many reasons why friends and family allow an addict to delay treatment, but doing so will greatly increase an individual’s chances of never stepping foot into a treatment facility. Families and friends must understand the consequences of delaying treatment if they hope to save their loved ones from the horrors of addiction.
Time Is Short After an Intervention
Interventions are often an intense, emotional experience. With the help of a professional interventionist, the individual struggling with substance abuse will be able to better understand how his or her behavior has affected the rest of the family.
Additionally, family members will be forced to confront how their own behavior has nudged their loved one toward a lifestyle of addiction. A professional interventionist will be able to navigate these complex emotions and empower the individual to take responsibility for his or her actions by starting treatment.
Unfortunately, memories are short. An addict who was enthusiastic about treatment during an intervention may feel very differently a few days or weeks down the road. In fact, there are numerous barriers to treatment that become even more difficult to overcome the longer an individual goes without help.
Delaying Treatment Encourages Risky Behavior
There’s no telling how an addict’s reaction to the idea of treatment may change once they leave the intervention. Many will desire to go on one last hurrah and participate in as many risky behaviors as they can before rehabilitation begins. In some cases, this freewheeling behavior can lead to individuals overdosing on their drug of choice and facing life-threatening consequences.
In other cases, risky behavior such as unprotected sex or drunk driving can result in legal repercussions that make getting into treatment that much more difficult. These risks can be avoided completely if friends and families make an effort to get their loved one into treatment directly after the intervention.
Addicts Are Unreliable
One of the scariest aspects of substance abuse is how drugs can alter the way the human brain functions. This is also the aspect of addiction that families have the hardest time wrapping their heads around. As a result, they are vulnerable to being misled by a loved one struggling with addiction.
The reality is that individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are master manipulators and willing to say anything to continue using their substance of choice. This may include nodding along during an intervention as friends and families implore the individual to seek treatment. The best way to circumvent this risk completely is to ensure treatment begins immediately after the intervention.
You’ve Lost Your Professional Advantage
One of the key advantages of working with a professional interventionist is that he or she will be skilled at deflating the rhetorical tricks and threats that addicts use to avoid treatment. Likewise, interventionists act as a neutral party, unaffected by any pre-existing family tension that may limit communication between the addict and his or her loved ones.
Delaying treatment means that the family will have to convince their loved one to seek treatment at a later date. This effort could be considerably more difficult and even impossible without the help of a seasoned interventionist.
Prepare Your Loved One for Treatment
Considering all the ways that delaying treatment can spoil a successful intervention, it’s important that friends and families plan out their loved one’s path to treatment long before anyone schedules the intervention.
Prior to staging an intervention, make sure that the following steps are planned out to prevent a loved one from delaying treatment:
• Select a treatment facility
• Pack your loved one’s clothes and toiletries
• Develop a plan for managing their personal affairs
• Finish admissions paperwork with a treatment facility
Thankfully, all four of these tasks can be handled with the assistance of a professional interventionist. Tackling intervention and starting treatment right after is the most effective way to ensure your loved one gets the help he or she needs.
Take Our Word for It
At Family First Intervention, our mission is to support addicts and their families. We help encourage those struggling with substance abuse to get into treatment as soon as possible. We also educate family members on the best ways to help their addicted loved one stay sober.
Trust our experience when we say that the longer you wait to guide a loved one toward treatment, the more you risk losing them for good.
Save a Life by Getting Your Loved One the Help They Need ASAP