Strategies in Helping Addicted Loved Ones

addiction denial Nov 21, 2023

Navigating Addiction: A Guide to Triage and Intervention

If you're dealing with a loved one struggling with addiction, you know it can be an overwhelming and sometimes heartbreaking experience. In today's video, we're going to tackle a crucial aspect of dealing with addiction – triaging the situation. I'll walk you through three major categories to help you identify where your loved one might fit and guide you on the appropriate strategy to pursue.

Category 1: Functional but Still in Denial The first category we'll explore is what I like to call "functional but still in denial." It's a challenging situation where your loved one is managing to fulfill about 50% of their responsibilities despite their addiction. The catch is, that because they're still functional, they're often in denial about the severity of their problem.

Strategy: Natural Consequences and Empathy In this scenario, we need to let natural consequences unfold. It's not about imposing punishments but allowing the real-world effects of their addictive behavior to become apparent. While it's tough to witness these consequences, maintaining empathy is crucial. Expressing understanding, even when frustrated, activates the learning part of their brain, hastening the journey out of denial.

Resources: Invisible Intervention Program For a more in-depth guide on helping someone out of denial, check out our Invisible Intervention Program, linked in the description.

Category 2: Non-Functional but Not in Denial Moving on to the second category – "non-functional but not in denial." Here, your loved one likely acknowledges their addiction but has given up on trying to address it. They may have stopped working or going to school and struggle with basic responsibilities.

Strategy: Old School Intervention For cases in this category, a more direct approach might be necessary. Consider an old-school intervention, similar to those seen on TV shows like "Intervention." Professional guidance is essential here to ensure a structured and effective intervention.

Caution: Don't Skip Getting Them Out of Denial. It's crucial to differentiate between individuals who acknowledge their addiction and those who don't. Interventions are most effective when the person recognizes their problem, making it crucial to address denial first.

Category 3: Imminent Crisis The third and most critical category involves an imminent crisis, where your loved one poses a danger to themselves or others due to their addiction. This could include reckless driving, neglect of children, or expressions of suicidal thoughts.

Strategy: Immediate Safety Measures In situations of imminent danger, skip plans A and B and prioritize the safety of all involved. If children or vulnerable adults are at risk, contacting the proper authorities is essential. For individuals expressing suicidal thoughts, immediate action is necessary.

Caution: Involuntary Commitment Consider involuntary commitment for extreme cases, but be aware that it's a complex process. You'll need substantial evidence to prove imminent danger, and it's generally more challenging for substance abuse compared to other situations.

Dealing with a loved one's addiction is a complex journey, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. However, understanding these categories and choosing the right strategy based on your situation can make a significant difference. Remember, your primary goal is to guide your loved one toward recovery and ensure their safety. Check the description for additional resources and links to specific videos that delve deeper into each strategy. 

Amber Hollingsworth

Watch this video next: 

What Really Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol 


The Old-School Interventionist Interview:

How to Deal with the Threats

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