What is a crisis intervention?

Crisis intervention, what is it and how to carry it out effectively with an addicted person?

Crisis intervention for addicts is becoming more and more common. Properly carried out, it can be the beginning of changes in the life of such a person. Therefore, be sure to find out how to properly prepare for the intervention and how it should proceed.

What is a crisis intervention?

To put it simply, crisis intervention consists in meeting a person struggling with some kind of addiction, e.g. alcohol addiction, and openly presenting to them what changes are expected from them. Most often, interventions are organized in a group of people who are extremely close and important to the addict – sometimes parents, spouse, and maybe even siblings or friends. The choice is a completely individual matter. It is important that the addict feels full trust and sometimes respect for these people. Then he will take the opinion of such people much more seriously, which is of course extremely important during the intervention. After all, dialogue and openness are of key importance during this meeting. The time of beating around the bush is over, now it’s time to put all the cards on the table and try to achieve the goal. What? This is already a very individual matter. However, any intervention should focus on one, at most two, most important goals.

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In the case of alcoholics, the goal of intervention is often to reduce drinking over the course of a week, to gradually reduce drinking altogether, or to start treatment.

During a crisis intervention, it is extremely important to remain calm and prepare for it. However, there is something else that we must never forget, and that is to express our own opinion about the person’s problem. If the wife feels that her husband’s addiction has made all the responsibilities fall on her and she is unable to cope with them, she must say so. However, it is best to focus only on what is here and now, instead of recalling situations from years ago. Emotional issues should also not be overlooked. Often during the intervention, it is also said about the damage caused by the addict’s drinking or what will happen in the future if the patient does nothing about his problem.

How to prepare for the intervention?

Spontaneous interventions are unlikely to ever work, and most importantly, they simply do not have that much power. Therefore, if you are planning to organize such a meeting for someone, be sure to take some time to prepare.

The first important point during the intervention is to give examples of harmful and negative consequences, e.g. excessive alcohol consumption by the addict. It is very important that the examples are strong, relevant and true. Therefore, it is essential that all participants in the intervention should think carefully about them. Everyone should say something from their own point of view that is the biggest problem. This is also a good time to talk about your feelings about all these situations. 

Perhaps the teenager is ashamed that his friends see his father drinking outside the block or the wife is unable to pay all bills and obligations, because the husband spends a significant part of his income on alcohol, and this causes her a lot of stress. The key here is to talk about feelings, but not to get carried away by them. While tears are not a bad thing, screams full of resentment are unlikely to have any positive consequences.

It is also worth mentioning the goals of the addict or the promises he made and did not fulfill because of drinking. It kind of plays on the emotions, but it’s often the best way.

Perhaps everything you say will make the addict feel remorse and will be willing to fight and start treatment. However, you also need to realize that this is not always the case. You also need to be prepared for this option. Well, then it is worth explaining to the addict that if he does not change his behavior, you will take the next steps. What? It’s up to you. Perhaps the argument here will be to submit an application for treatment or even move out and part for the sake of yourself or your children. Sometimes it is only such open conditions that reach the addict.

When is it worth carrying out a crisis intervention?

Living with an addicted person is very difficult and can lead to so-called addiction. codependency. Then the functioning of the whole family is fully subordinated to the addict. The intervention aims to finally take a significant step forward to change this situation and talk about it honestly. However, the most important thing is the correct timing. When addiction is already starting to turn the lives of household members upside down for good, it’s time to start acting.

Resources: Vita Recovery