Interventions: Not Just For Drugs And Alcohol

By June 26, 2013Intervention Programs

Many people associate interventions with chemical addictions like drugs or alcohol. The reality is, however, that people can become addicted to a wide variety of compulsive behaviors. The definition of addiction is: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is physically habit-forming to the extent that it causes severe trauma. This means that anyone who is exhibiting destructive behaviors that have rendered them powerless over their own lives is an addict, and may be in need of help from a professional interventionist.

One addictive behavior that may require the help of an interventionist to stop is gambling. It can be difficult to spot a gambling problem, because one of the symptoms of a gambling addiction is concealing the amount of gambling that an addict is engaging in, or lying about how much money they have lost. It is likely that a severe addict will begin to openly exhibit symptoms once the problem has become too big for them to conceal. It may become apparent that a loved one is facing a gambling addiction when they ask to borrow large amounts of money, or fall so behind on rent or bills that they face eviction or have their utilities shut off. A gambler may also have stretches of time that they are not able to account for, or exhibit delusions that they will be able to recoup their losses if they continue to gamble.

Eating Disorders

Another behavior that requires immediate attention is an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. Eating disorders, like most addictions, are a function of compulsive tendencies. It is very easy for someone who is obsessively using food to binge or purge to lose control of their actions. Symptoms of an eating disorder include sudden and drastic weight loss. Anorexic or bulimic people are also often moody and exhibit the symptoms of depression. Like many other addicts, those suffering from eating disorders often make excuses for not eating or conveniently claim to have eaten earlier or be eating later. Anorexia and bulimia are diseases that are extremely taxing on the body, and should be treated as soon as they are discovered.

Like gambling, shopping is a behavioral addiction that can wreck havoc on a person’s financial and thus personal and professional life. It can be difficult to discern the difference between someone who treats themselves from time to time, and someone who uses shopping as a coping mechanism. If a person is using shopping to feel better after an upsetting situation, or shops so often that they don’t have time to consume what they buy, they may be a shopaholic. It can be easier for people very close to a shopaholic to spot this problem, as they may notice unusually high credit card bills, or an excessive amount of credit cards opened. Like many other compulsions, shopping can feel like an irresistible urge, and lead an addict to make irresponsible choices such as using rent or bill money to shop.

Non-Chemical Addictions

These are just a few of the many non-chemical addictions that can necessitate an intervention. Any time a person is losing control over their life because of their compulsive behavior; be it the above disorders or addictions like sex, video games, and even work, an intervention can be a vital and key tool in helping an addict understand the severity of their problem, and begin to face the reality that even they many be in denial about: that they need help in order to regain stability and autonomy. If you believe that a loved one is endangering themselves in anyway, consult an interventionist immediately for steps on how to plan for an intervention with them.

Behavioral Interventions

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