Monday, July 6, 2009

A&E Intervention...how to help an addict?

Could the new series on A&E that faciliates interventions on behalf of the families/friends of addicts have helped someone like Michael Jackson, Robert Downey Jr or Heath Ledger? Or any addict for that matter? What makes an addict finally seek help or give their habit up?

Robert Downey Jr. battled an addiction for many, many years, what made him finally get clean? And other public figures like Rush Limbaugh, Nicole Richie, Elvis Presley,Paula Abdul, Heath Ledger all battled addictions to various substances from heorin to painkillers. And it's a problem that affects our whole society not just the entertainment industry.

What is an addiction anyway? Below is a link to definition of the word. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiction

Intervention on A&E gives an eye opening look at addictions and the lives of people it affects.

The love that families and friends have, and the desperate pleas they issue for the addicts in their lives to overcome their addictions....is very heartwrenching at times. There is a feeling of helplessness that is sad to watch.

To the outsider....we wonder why can't they just give it up. We see what it is doing to the addict, to their families and loved ones....yet they cannot see what they are doing to themselves and those around them. Worse yet the fact that so many of the these people don't even realize they have a problem.

For the most part that is the real problem....addicts don't see themselves as having an addiction or substance problem. Which becomes quite obvious when you watch the show. And many an addict will argue they can stop any time, they like it....why give up something they like. Sure they like to tell themselves they can quit at any time. Unfortunately, the reality is....once anyone takes any substance for an extended period of time, the body is going to go through a physical and mental withdrawal, which depending on the drug, is unpleasant for most.

Never mind that they don't seem to understand, or even care about the harm they are doing to their body or mind, nor the affect it has on their families, friends, or even kids. And the shows that involve kids are definitely the saddest. Back to the topic.....

It's common knowledge that drugs of any type eventually produce changes in a persons mental and physical state. Over the course of time, extended use of many of these drugs, small or large doses, has been shown to change brain chemistry....making withdrawal a painful and tedious process. Not to mention, as this series shows, even with the best of treatment, the relapse rate is very high.

So what is the answer?????

How do family and friends help a loved one with an addiction? If they deny having a problem, if they refuse help....what can really be done? Even when they admit to having a problem...what is the best treatment? Could anyone have saved Michael Jackson or Heath Ledger? Do interventions really work? The show is very enlightening in that like life, not all stories have a happy ending.

The show allows us to see how addicts become consumed with their substance to a point they don't even realize how it affects themselves, nor those around them.

They think nothing of lying to family and friends, when in reality their lies are obvious to all. The lies are almost as bad as the addiction itself. They do whatever it takes to obtain the substance including stealing, prostitution, doctor shopping, etc.. Often times becoming financially in debt, and as A&E shows many become homeless. Even celebrities have been known to lose all their money, their fame, and even families to such habits. Many an addict on A&E Intervention has gone from everything to nothing. Yet no one thinks it could happen to them.

It affects all classes and jobs. Doctors themselves are not even immune to the problem. As not every addiction involves illegal drugs....many of the addictions that do occur are to prescription medications. Many people don't even realize they have become addicted to such medicines until they try to go without them. This is what we continue to hear more about in the media as big names continue to succomb to such addictions. Addictions don't always involve drugs, the Intervention show also includes other addictions as well, such as food, gambling, sex,etc.

How do we get these people the help they need? Are shows like A&E Intervention helpful? Will they help people with such problems to seek help? And how do the people who don't have insurance or money, obtain the money to get help? It's not only about getting help but being able to maintain it.

Supposedly people claim they knew Michael Jackson had a problem with painkillers....yet it seemed no one could stop him from using them. Some allegedly tried but he only went on to seek those who would reinforce what he wanted, and push those away who truly cared. Sad but true for most people suffering from addictions.

Hopefully their deaths were not in vain and our society will learn more ways to help people with substance abuse problems find the help and treatment they need. This A&E show is definitely a good start.

Question is....how do family and friends intervene to help their loves ones with addictions and substance abuse problems get help? How do you help people when they can't help themselves? Especially the ones who don't feel they need help. That's a question a lot of people ask and will continue to ask. And after watching the show it makes you think about all the people who are in need of intervention in this country but never get it.

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