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How To Stage An Intervention For Meth Addiction

By Neha Kashyap
There are things you should know before staging an intervention for someone struggling with meth addiction.

Watching a loved one struggle with meth addiction, or methamphetamine use disorder, can be painful. Methamphetamines, also known as meth or crystal, can cause severe damage to the body and mind. If confronting a loved one about their meth addiction hasn’t helped, you might consider staging an intervention.

Intervention entails gathering the addict’s loved ones and an intervention specialist to plan a meeting where the addict will be confronted about their disorder. The goal is to gently encourage them toward treatment.

“Our experience and the experience of other colleagues in the field who do intervention work has been that about 80 percent of individuals accept going to treatment the day of the intervention,” Aaron Sternlicht, LMHC, CASAC, co-founder of Family Addiction Specialists in New York City, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “A well planned and executed intervention is highly effective.”

Meth Addiction Intervention: How It Works

The Johnson Intervention is the most popular addiction intervention model. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), this model involves a caregiver, usually a close loved one, who finds others who want to help the addict get clean. The group meets at least twice to discuss strategies with a therapist or interventionist.

“An interventionist will educate loved ones about addiction and recovery, will review family dynamics and behaviors and take a closer look at issues such as codependency, boundary setting, and enabling,” Sternlicht says.

Boundary setting. Enabling can be anything that perpetuates addiction, like paying bills for an addict or helping when they’re sick. To prevent enabling, boundaries must be set. Boundaries can include rules like banning drug use at home or refusing to help the addict with money, according to Narcotics Anonymous. 

Heartfelt letters.Many interventions include loved ones writing letters that will be read to the addict. “They should express love for the individual, express concern for their behavior, detail how you have seen their substance use negatively impact their life and your relationship with them, and ask them to accept the help you are offering them today,” Sternlicht says.

Bottom lines. Preparing for refusal with “bottom lines” and expecting objections are also part of intervention planning. “These are essentially boundaries you have decided to set with the addicted individual should they not accept treatment,” Sternlicht says, “Objections are reasons the addicted individual might give for why they are unable to attend treatment, [which] could be work obligations, childcare, an upcoming event such as a family wedding, or any other excuses.”

According to The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, the Johnson Model might be the most effective intervention method. But it’s important to know that relapse rates for addiction are significant. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of people with a  substance use disorder relapse the first month after treatment. About 85 percent of addicts might relapse within the first year of treatment, according to the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology.

But recovery is possible. “The good news is that the longer an individual is able to maintain their abstinence [sobriety], the better chance they have at long-term recovery” says Sternlicht.

Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.

If you think an intervention could help your loved one, finding an intervention specialist could be the first step. If you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.

Life After Meth Addiction Treatment