How to Plan a Heroin Addiction Intervention
Heroin is a drug unlike any other. Addiction to heroin can happen quickly. There is no such thing as “recreational” heroin use. Breaking the cycle of heroin use requires patience and help from family, friends, and those in the medical field. Heroin addiction intervention is a common method of assistance.
The process of planning a heroin intervention needs to be carefully thought out. The steps need to be detailed and discussed by everyone who will be involved. The decision of who to involve on the day of the intervention of the heroin addict also needs to be carefully planned.
Treatment plans that follow the intervention of the heroin addict may vary. Depending on the level of heroin addiction, you or your loved one will require additional care designed to treat your specific needs. At any level of heroin addiction, support from medical staff is the key to preventing relapse.
How Is a Heroin Intervention Different From Other Interventions?
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is a form of opioid that is chemically created. Opioids are created from the opium plant and are used in the medical world to treat pain. When opioids are misused and abused they can become a highly addictive, very dangerous substance. The addiction to heroin is so dangerous that overdose is common. Many overdoses result in death.
The heroin user seeks a high that makes him or her feel intensely happy and excited. The need to be pain-free is also a reason why some become addicted. Heroin is a drug that builds up in the user’s system. The need for the next “high” becomes so intense that larger quantities of heroin are necessary each time the drug is taken.
Heroin’s Effect On Your Body
The use of heroin causes dopamine to be released in the body. Dopamine creates a feeling of overall happiness and is known as the “feel-good” hormone. When someone abuses a drug such as heroin the receptors in the brain get worn down and the heroin addict requires more of the drug in order to feel any effect at all.
Why Family and Friends Need To Be Involved In The Intervention
The intervention process for a heroin addict can make the difference between the addict living or dying. Heroin users are focused only on their next high. They lose all ability and desire to
- Make practical decisions
- Control their behavior
- Regulate their emotions
Heroin addiction intervention needs to be arranged as quickly as possible. Including both family and friends in the intervention can be helpful in creating an atmosphere of support for the heroin addict. The addiction to heroin is aggressive, and a treatment plan should not be delayed.
How Can Family and Friends Prepare For The Intervention?
An addict never wants to hear that they have a problem, much less be confronted by friends and family and asked to seek help for their addiction. Interventions only work when those who are participating make plans and preparations. The one thing that never works is an intervention that creates more chaos and adds more pain to the existing situation.
Preparation for the heroin addiction intervention is crucial in order to make the best use of the time. It is important for everyone involved in the intervention to make sure that they let the recipient of the intervention know these things:
- The addict has support readily available if they want it: The group as a whole needs to emphasize that they planned the intervention because of their concern for the addict’s well-being. It is important to emphasize the concern and support that they have for him or her to regain sobriety.
- The addict needs to be responsible for his or her actions: The heroin addict needs to understand that their addiction is not going to be “ignored” any longer. It needs to be said that it is time for the addict to own up to their problem and address it.
- Concern for the consequences of past and future possible behaviors: This is a time for family and friends to voice their reasons for joining the intervention. The addict needs to hear from their family and friends about how their addiction to heroin has affected the lives of those around them.
What Are The Steps That Can Be Taken In Preparation For The Intervention?
Setting up an intervention for a heroin addict is an important step that could make the difference between their living or dying. It is a process that may encourage the recipient to seek the medical help necessary in order for them to become sober. It is important to take every step possible that increases the possibility of reaching a positive outcome from the intervention.
Below are suggested steps that encourage a beneficial outcome from a heroin intervention:
- Hire an addiction specialist: Including a professional addiction specialist in the intervention will provide an impartial, neutral, and guiding hand to help keep the meeting on track. Addiction specialists can include social workers and therapists. These are people who are trained to handle various problems that may arise during the intervention.
- Choose an intervention group that is truly invested in helping: Focus on the overall health and well-being of the recipient when choosing the people who will participate in the intervention. It is important that they do not relay an accusing tone. An atmosphere of genuine support is necessary.
- Provide education about treatment options: Be prepared to discuss what you feel are the best treatment plans for the recipient. By deciding on this before the intervention, you will be able to give guidance and support to back up your reasons for suggesting the treatment plan.
- Select the right setting for the intervention: The site for the intervention needs to be on neutral ground for the recipient and family and friends. The atmosphere of the intervention location is very important. The overall “feel” needs to be non-threatening and comfortable.
- Prepare for the intervention by rehearsing: Rehearsing your meeting will make things flow better and keep everyone focused. This is a time to practice your concerns for the recipient of the intervention. It is best to keep comments short.
What To Expect During a Heroin Addiction Intervention
Preparing and then participating in an intervention is not an easy task. Thorough preparation and rehearsal before the intervention take place will provide a smoother, and hopefully more productive, meeting. Everyone that agrees to participate must realize that hard conversations will take place, and they need to be ready to have an honest, open discussion.
- The intervention will allow each participant to tell the heroin addict their perspective on the negative impact that the addict’s behaviors and choices have affected their life.
- It is a time for the participants who have been “enablers” for the heroin addict to make it known that the addict’s behavior will no longer be tolerated. The destructive support that the addict received previous to the meeting has ended.
- It needs to be emphasized that everyone participating in the intervention is there as a support system. The addict needs to know that they can lean on these participants as they work through the process to regain their sobriety.
- It is possible that the recipient of the intervention started using heroin to avoid facing problems with some – or all – of those who are participating. The members of the intervention need to be ready to have honest conversations. Everyone needs to understand that this is an important step in order to form a sense of trust with the recipient.
How Do Family and Friends Follow Up After Treatment?
An intervention with a heroin addiction takes place with the hope that the addict agrees to enter a treatment program. Heroin addiction is a tough situation to overcome, and withdrawal symptoms can be severe. It will take a lot of support from family and friends as well as medical personnel to become and stay sober.
Once the addict has made the decision to stop using heroin and accept help, withdrawal symptoms can appear within hours. These symptoms can include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Muscle spasms
- Joint pain
On average, it takes approximately a week for the symptoms to lessen. The time during withdrawal can be very rough. The temptation to relapse and start using heroin again is strong. It is best, and the most beneficial, for the addict to be under medical supervision and in a rehabilitation facility while working through this process.
The process of rehabilitation from heroin addiction is a lifelong commitment. Successful outcomes happen when there is a strong support system from family and friends. It is also important for the rehabilitated addict to continue therapy and attend support group sessions. These forms of self-care go a long way to prevent relapse.
What Can You Do If Treatment is Refused?
Unfortunately, there are situations where the heroin addict may refuse any help. Many times the addict denies that they have a problem, as it is easier on their conscience to deny that there is a problem. This denial or refusal is extremely hard on family and friends who gathered to participate in an intervention, only to see it fail.
If the heroin addict refuses help, it may be beneficial for family and friends to seek out help for themselves. This act of self-care may provide the guidance and support that they need in order to come to terms with the situation. It may help to have the opportunity to sit in a group therapy session and compare notes with others who are experiencing the same circumstances.
Overcoming heroin addiction is not easy. Setting up an intervention is a step towards reaching out and letting the heroin user know that they can no longer hide their addiction. It shows them that they have concerned people in their lives who support them and want them to regain their sobriety and become the person that they used to know. It is this show of support during the heroin addiction intervention that can change a life for the better.