Heroin addiction can feel like a nightmare, and those who suffer from it often cannot escape on their own. Their bodies and minds have been conditioned to need regular doses, and the more they consume, the more difficult the addiction is to overcome. Fortunately, there are ways to help. Though it may be difficult, an intervention may save their life.

Recognizing The Effects of Heroin

A single dose of heroin puts a person at risk for addiction; consider what months or years of repeated use can do to the body. Frequent use of heroin alters brain chemistry and deteriorates the decision-making portions of the brain, and behavioral changes are common among those struggling with addiction. Finding the next score to satisfy the addiction becomes the focus of their lives.

Heroin use also results in physical changes, from rapid weight change to a pallid complexion. As the body attempts to process the drug, it struggles to maintain the normal, healthy processes of the body.

Interventions Can Help

The effects of heroin addiction are not limited to the individual using it. Often, a person who uses heroin repeatedly begins to lose touch with relationships as promises are broken and they withdraw from society. They often cannot escape the cycle of addiction without assistance, and that help can come through an intervention.

An intervention is a meeting between the addicted individual and a small group of people, typically the person’s loved ones and a trained professional. They join together  in an attempt to explain how the addiction has affected them and to encourage that person to seek treatment.

How to Hold an Intervention

Participating in an intervention can be difficult and emotional, and it may not provide the desired outcome. However, doing nothing may lead to a far worse result.

Successful interventions are the result of careful planning and should not be attempted without a trained professional. A trained professional, whether they are a therapist or interventionist, will know how to guide the encounter so it has the best opportunity to succeed. They are trained to interact with people who abuse substances and will endeavor to keep the intervention from spiraling out of control if tempers flare.

It is important to rehearse beforehand. When facing a loved one who struggles with heroin, it can be difficult to express the way their addiction is hurting themselves and others. Writing down specific instances, speaking in the first person, outlining the consequences for not seeking treatment and providing immediate treatment options are important parts of the intervention process.

It is also important not to attempt the intervention while the person is high. For your words to have an impact, the person must be as sober as possible. This is another reason why having a trained professional present is important: they will know when to engage and when not to.

Unfortunately, there are risks to performing an intervention. Because of the physiological effects associated with heroin addiction, the person may feel betrayed and may lash out in anger or fear. If that happens, it is important to give them space to calm down. Follow through on the consequences outlined in the intervention. Once they have calmed down, try again. Despite how hard it might be, it is important not to give up.

Watching loved ones struggle with addiction is terrible, but you should not lose hope. An intervention can be uncomfortable and difficult to perform, but that show of love and compassion may be what encourages them to seek treatment.

Nova Recovery Center