successful intervention

8 Elements of a Successful Intervention for an Addict with Depression

Last updated on July 1st, 2019 at 12:31 pm

One in three people who suffer from depression will use alcohol as a way to cope. Although it’s a depressant, it can have a euphoric effect on people in smaller doses. But, at higher doses they start to lose coordination.

It’s only when their use gets out of control that someone is able to start noticing the pattern of addictive behavior in their life. As more problems develop, it may become clear that it’s time for them to have an intervention.

If you’re the loved one of someone who is suffering from addiction and depression, you’re not alone. There are steps you can take to get them help. Learn how to host a successful intervention here.

1. Understand How Depression Works

People who have to fight depression are dealing with an uphill battle every day. It’s difficult to have the energy to get basic tasks done. They may start to give up their social activities and hobbies as the illness takes them deeper and deeper into sorrow.

If someone has been treating their depression with alcohol or drugs, overcoming addiction is the only way to restore their mind to health. Otherwise, their energy is being drained from them by the booze before they have a chance to use it.

2. Include Loved Ones and Friends

The intervention team that you put together will have a major impact on the outcome. You usually want to try to find four to six people that the addict loves and respects to share their feelings about their use. 

It’s important not to ask anyone to the intervention that the addict dislikes or that will not be able to hold themselves back from saying everything they are feeling. You don’t want someone there who is going to sabotage your efforts.

3. Make a Plan for the Intervention

Every intervention should have a plan for what the arguments are, what the solution will be, and what steps the group will take to get there. Make sure you get everyone together for a preintervention so you can all get on the same page.

4. Keep the Conversation Focused on Solutions

At this intervention, you will need to work hard to stay focused on the solutions that you are offering to your loved one. You will notice that they give you a lot of push back and want things their way. They might say things that are designed to push your buttons. 

Just make sure that you keep your attention on the problem at hand. Don’t respond if someone tries to make you mad.

5. Anticipate Their Objections

Your loved one will most likely challenge the idea that they need any form of serious treatment for their substance abuse. They may mention that they have other commitments like children or work that they need to take care of. 

Make sure that you have a prepared and rational response for each of their concerns before you host the intervention. You need to be able to give them the support they need to engage in treatment.

That might mean arranging someone to watch their child, speaking to their coworkers about who can cover their shift, and volunteering to help your loved one get to their treatment program if it’s not inpatient.

6. Ask For an Immediate Commitment

Many people who are faced with an intervention want to run away and take some time to use before they go to treatment. But you shouldn’t give them this time if you want them to be successful.

The more your loved one delays treatment, the longer they will continue to have a problem. When it comes to using drugs, you never know when someone’s last day is coming. So make sure they get into treatment right away.

7. Let Them Know They’re Not Alone

Your number one goal in this intervention is to make your loved one feel like you are there to support them without enabling them to continue to hurt themselves.

Make sure you lay down your line but also make it clear that if they respond, you are there to take this journey with them. Many addicts feel like it is too late for them to get forgiveness and make the right choice, but it’s never too late for anyone.

8. Don’t Give In

An intervention isn’t over until the addict says yes. Unfortunately, not everyone responds well to their first intervention meeting. They could become angry or defensive and may even be resentful about being accused of having an addiction.

They may also lash out and call you a hypocrite or feel like you have betrayed them. It’s important that you are ready for all of these potential responses while still acting out of a place of hope. Even if your intervention doesn’t seem to be working in the moment, you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Where to Go for Help

Many people will experience emotional highs and lows at various points throughout their lifetime. But clinical depression is a lasting depressed mood state that can interfere with someone’s ability to work, provide for themselves and maintain a good lifestyle.

When you struggle with depression for years, it can feel like there will be no end in sight and many people choose to turn to substances to get rid of the emotional pain. But the more you use, the more dependent you become.

It’s easy to slip to the point where you need an intervention. But hearing the truth from a loved one is incredibly difficult on a fragile depressed mind. It’s important to take care to find a quality treatment center to help. Learn more about treatment options here.

References:

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

About Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.