What If Trying an Intervention Makes Things Worse?

What If Trying an Intervention Makes Things Worse?

A failed intervention for Xanax addiction may strain relationships, but can serve as a step on the journey toward recovery

When done right, an addiction intervention for drugs like Xanax involves much planning and carries with it a great deal of expectation and hope. When the addicted individual who is the focus of the intervention chooses not to respond by entering treatment, it can be deeply disappointing for the friends and family members involved in the process. Sometimes things even appear to be worse after an unsuccessful intervention, but there are generally positives mixed with the negatives. Often a failed intervention serves to get the attention of the addicted individual and serves as a step on the journey toward eventual recovery.

Maintaining Relationships

When people say that things are worse after an intervention, they often mean that there is heightened tension in personal relationships. This is not unusual because people who have been the focus of interventions may feel threatened and defensive. They may become more irritable and easily angered.

After an unsuccessful intervention, it is important for friends and family members to avoid being drawn into emotional drama as much as possible. Generally interventions set a certain communication tone that it is wise to maintain afterwards. The goal is to communicate love and acceptance while at the same time stressing that some behavior is counterproductive and will have consequences. It is rarely helpful to engage in name-calling or arguing.

The addicted individual may be angry, but it is also common for friends and family members to have their own anger to deal with. Finding healthy ways to do so can be significant. If they have not done so already, those who love the individual struggling with addiction may wish to join a local or online support group after a failed intervention. They may also wish to seek counseling.

Experiencing Consequences

Whether or not they lead to treatment admission, it is important that interventions signal that life has changed and things will not continue as they were. Most interventions involve the setting of consequences in which friends and family members discuss actions they will take if treatment for addiction to drugs like Xanax is not sought. It is vital that people involved in the intervention carry through with these declarations. People struggling with addiction must understand that their disease carries consequences both for themselves and others. Although family members sometimes feel that coercion is counterproductive, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that incentives and disincentives from family members and others can significantly increase the rates of treatment entry and recovery success.

After a failed intervention it is also important that any enabling behavior be stopped. Enabling involves acting in a way that makes it easier for people to continue their addiction. The Merriam-Webster medical dictionary defines an enabler as “one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by helping that individual avoid the consequences of such behavior.”

Although there can be multiple reasons that people who need addiction treatment fail to seek it, a lack of understanding of their condition is a very common cause. A 2007 report by the National Institutes of Health reports on a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration which found that more than 94 percent of people dependent on alcohol or drugs who did not receive treatment did not believe they needed it. This type of denial is thought to be due to cognitive impairments caused by substance abuse, which can affect memory and learning. Helping addicted individuals to connect behavior and consequences is an important part of helping them move toward treatment.

Remaining Focused

Sometimes an intervention is conducted flawlessly, but the addicted individual still chooses not to seek treatment. At other times it is possible to determine that some things could have been done differently. People involved in the intervention might have lost their temper, for example, or said things with an accusatory or attacking tone. Either way it is important for friends and family members to avoid blaming themselves or each other for an intervention failure and to maintain a united front. The focus should continue to be on helping the loved one struggling with addiction.

There are no rules about whether or when to hold another intervention, but often a second attempt will prove successful. If no professional interventionist was hired the first time, it may be wise to do so the second time. Professionals may have further suggestions about how things can be changed to increase the chances of a successful outcome.

Let Us Join Your Team

If you need help dealing with your own addiction or that of a loved one, give us a call. Our helpline is toll-free and staffed 24 hours a day. We can answer your questions, including about intervention options, and can help you find a treatment program. We can also check your insurance coverage if you wish at no cost or obligation. Call now, and let us join your team.

Are you ready to seek treatment?

If you are ready to beat a Xanax addiction and start a new life in recovery then we can help. We have admission counselors standing by 24 hours a day to take your email, live chat request, or phone call to get you in the addiction treatment center that best fits your unique & specific needs.