Certainly one of the more important factors to be considered in a diagnosis for substance abuse treatment is how long the person has been afflicted with addiction. A recent study reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry shows that substance abuse can begin at a far younger age than was previously assumed. The research uncovers that 15% of high school seniors in the U.S. who abuse alcohol or drugs started the habit sometime at the age of 14 or 15.
The lead author of the study, Joel Swendsen, underlines the importance of applying intervention and prevention methods during those critical early years. It seems that by the time the problem becomes obvious and rehabilitation is finally considered as a solution, the person may have already undergone years of addiction. Imagine someone in their twenties who fits this early use/abuse profile. His or her particular situation may have acquired complications that would likely require more extensive treatment.
Addiction is a chronic, progressive disease. Early treatment often results in better outcomes. It can be difficult to convince a user substance abuse is a problem, especially if they haven’t yet hit rock bottom. Many turn to intervention as a formal plea to seek help for a loved one. Interventions are emotional for everyone involved, but with careful planning, they can convince an addicted person to seek treatment.
The following people will participate in the intervention:
Participants will identify clear reasons why using has become a problem. They’ll also promise to support your loved one if they agree to get help immediately and to identify consequences should they refuse.
The interventionist’s role is to help organize the meeting, invite participants and keep the meeting on track because it’s easy for interventions to spin out of control. If your loved one decides to get help, the interventionist will also likely escort them to rehab and help them enroll.
You and others who care for your loved one can provide additional help by:
Interventions do not always succeed, so you and your loved ones should be prepared if it doesn’t. Keep in mind, though, many struggling addicts decide to get help after a “failed” intervention.
According to intervention experts, one of the more common misconceptions about addiction is the overemphasis on the substance being abused. Whether it’s MDMA or caffeinated alcoholic beverages, the addict isn’t specifically enamored by the substance. He or she may even sincerely dislike it. But the drugs and alcohol provide a way to escape or cope with emotional, psychological and or physical turmoil, and that is ultimately what the substance abuser seeks. This could be any type of pain sustained by family or social circumstances.
An inherently complex problem such as addiction can only be made more difficult by a lengthy history, especially one that begins at young volatile age. Substance abuse treatment can only be effective if it takes into account the totality of the person rather than narrowly treating the addiction. There is always hope for rehabilitation.
Posted on May 1st, 2012 in Blog