There is simply no arguing the fact that drug abuse and addiction problems are complex and difficult to cope with or resolve. Individuals who have not received thorough information about these problems or who have not experienced them first-hand may believe that they are simply the result of poor willpower, and that an individual who truly wishes to be free from drugs would be able to abstain from further drug use. Unfortunately, this is far from true.
When an individual first turns to drug use, he normally does so through his own choice and action, and he is in complete control. However, when drug substances continue to interact with the human body on a regular basis over an extended period of time, they can force the body to alter its normal functioning patterns so that they include drug use. When this occurs, the individual becomes dependent upon drug substances and has no choice but to continue using them in order to feel “normal”.
In many cases, a drug abuser or addict becomes aware of the fact that they have a problem and they need help, but they are yet unable to do anything about it on their own. It is for this reason that interventions exist and are so incredibly helpful–the individual receives support and encouragement from family members to take that difficult first step and reach out for help. That said, not all interventions are created equally and not all interventions are successful. This can lead one to wonder whether a “reality” television show about intervention is truly as helpful as it professes to be.
The Pros and Cons of “Intervention”
“Intervention” is an Emmy award winning reality television show that recently aired its two hundredth episode on A&E. The show, while difficult to watch, paints a brutally honest picture about addiction and the pain that an individual and his family members struggle with in trying to overcome it. Perhaps even more impressively, it has earned itself a record for having the majority of its subjects remain clean and sober even after the cameras stop rolling.
Over the course of its existence on air, “Intervention” has featured the interventions of two hundred seventy-six individuals. Nearly ninety-nine percent of these individuals, or two hundred seventy of them, agreed to go into addiction treatment as a result of the intervention, which means that only six of them have refused treatment. Furthermore, one hundred fifty-one of the individuals who participated in addiction treatment were successfully able to maintain their sobriety–which is roughly fifty-five percent of the individuals who entered treatment. This is fairly significant when one considers that traditional 12-step programs for Alcoholics Anonymous has a success rate ranging between five and ten percent.
The producer for “Intervention” feels that it is the intervention itself that explains the higher success rate, as it allows individuals to move into the treatment process already having taken a good look at their life and the effects created by their drug use. By the time an individual agrees to participate in treatment, they’ve already been through a rather intense documentary process wherein they’ve been asked very hard hitting, deeply personal questions about every aspect of their lives. This forces them to take an honest look at their addiction problems, which is often the leading cause behind successful interventions.
While the success rates of “Intervention” participants is certainly something to be proud of, it also creates quite a challenge for the “Intervention” team. They routinely have between three and nine hundred individual requests from those who would like to be on the show, making the selection process delicate and painful. The show team knows that out of thousands of submissions only a handful can be selected, and it’s tough to have to make the decision about who gets to receive help. What does seem to help with the selection process is when individuals are willing to be brutally honest regardless of the questions they are asked, because one of the main points of the show is to reveal the absolute truths about addiction and its many effects.