An intervention is what we call it when a person or group takes some type of drastic action to help a loved one break an addiction, usually to drugs or alcohol. The problem with this type of intervention is that it comes too late to prevent the problem from occurring. By the time there is an intervention, there is already a problem that is probably too big to be dealt with by an informal intervention.
What’s needed is a way to identify and deal with problems before they lead to the kind of addiction we generally reserve for interventions. Fortunately, there are actionable, early warning signs. Addiction is usually the second part of what is called a dual-diagnosis. Identifying, and treating the first part can go a long way towards avoiding the second.
It is useful to know that even if the situation is too far advanced for informal intervention to do any good, there is a co-occurring disorders treatment that is customized to provide high levels of addiction treatment by knowledgeable and experienced therapists. Individuals will receive group and one-on-one counseling throughout their stay in a safe environment. But before it gets to that point, here are three problems that, if dealt with, can stop the addiction before it even starts:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the more insidious mental disorders one can have because it is a product of what is often the most heroic action one can take. Nearly 30% of vets treated by the V.A. have PTSD. That is because they have experienced the ultimate stress of watching people die in the worst imaginable ways. These brave men and women often come back from war with physical injuries of their own.
They will frequently turn to opioids and pain killers for increased feelings of pleasure and calm. But over time, the drug turns against them, causing physical dependence and, ultimately, a lack of control and calm. Soldiers are not the only people at risk of PTSD. Anyone who has suffered traumatic stress should be considered at risk. Successfully treating this condition can be the key to bypassing a life of addiction.
Antisocial Personality Disorder can develop early in life. But alcoholism makes the condition much worse, increasing the likelihood of more antisocial behavior. People who drink excessively are 21 times more likely to deal with ASPD compared to people who don’t. So while excessive drinking does not necessarily cause ASPD, it most certainly intensifies it. The Mayo Clinic lists the following as some of the signs of ASPD:
• Disregard for right and wrong
• Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others
• Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or for sheer personal pleasure
Quoting statistics from the American Journal of Managed Care, dualdiagnosis.org states: About 56 percent of individuals with bipolar who participated in a national study had experienced drug or alcohol addiction during their lifetime.
Bipolar Disorder was once known as Manic Depression. People who suffer from it are characterized by sudden mood shifts, as well as difficulty maintaining relationships and economic stability.
The thing to remember about all of these underlying problems is that they are medical and treatable. There is no need for these problems to progress into full-blown addictions if the signs are caught early and treated appropriately. Addiction can’t always be avoided. But with a bit of vigilance, we can help our loved ones long before it gets to that stage.
–Sara Stringer is a freelance writer who most enjoys blogging about lifestyle, relationships and life as a woman. In her spare time, she enjoys soaking up the sunshine with her husband and two kids. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this article.