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3 Ways Reality TV Interventions Aren’t Realistic

3 Ways Reality TV Interventions Aren’t Realistic

Not all interventions are prepared formal meetings with a number of people surrounding the addicted one

It is not surprising to say that reality TV is often very far from reality. And although this is part of the entertainment industry, sometimes reality TV creates a misconception or negative view of some important processes and programs related to addiction treatment and recovery.

One example of this is how addiction interventions are portrayed in reality TV. Often, shows depicting “real” interventions paint an overly dramatic picture of events that are contentious and explosive. Fights, discussions that are out of control, and other negative aspects are shown as a common occurrence in family interventions. And while this may happen in some particular cases, interventions do not need to proceed in such a way.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that a proper intervention should be a professional education process. This means that what happens in an intervention is often just a process of information and education in which both the addict and those around him learn about the connection of addiction and negative aspects of their lives. The NCADD also states that a proper intervention has a 90 percent rate of success.

Hence, since addiction interventions can be understood as a professional process, what is shown in TV is in many aspects different to what really happens in family interventions. These three examples show some of the most important differences:

  • The whole family receives help – While reality TV focuses on the addict, a proper intervention takes into account the healing of the whole family. For example, family therapy given to an addict living in a household with a spouse and children focuses a substantial part of the efforts to care for the needs of those who are not addicted but need to be a part of the recovery. The National Library of Medicine explains how important it is to give particular attention to minors in the household who might have developed feelings or responsibility or guilt upon seeing the negative aspects of the family life. Real family interventions involve the whole family even if only one of them is struggling with addiction.
  • Interventions can be brief sessions of counseling – Not all interventions are prepared formal meetings with a number of people surrounding the addicted one. For example, a brief intervention may be conducted by a health care professional with someone who is not yet addicted but is showings signs of substance abuse. According to the Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration, such brief interventions can last from five to thirty minutes depending on the needs of the patient. In the cases of patients with a higher problem of dependence, brief interventions can be used to direct the patient to a treatment facility if the interventionist deems it necessary.
  • Most of the work is done before and after the meeting – As stated before, an intervention is a professional education process. Before the actual intervention happens, a professional interventionist makes sure that everything is ready and that the most important factors have been considered. This might include educating friends and family about addiction treatment and its purpose. An interventionist also decides who should participate in the meeting and orchestrates what is done in it. Instead of planning a confrontation, the meeting becomes an informative session for the addict in which he learns about the importance of recovery. After the meeting, the interventionist might continue working with the family and friends even after the addict has finished a residential addiction treatment program.

These are only three examples of things we don’t usually see in reality TV interventions. And although it’s true that issues may create tension during an intervention, they are often not excessively dramatic and the meetings usually remain under control.

There are also many different techniques for addiction interventions. Depending on different factors that are taken into consideration, some interventions can even happen over a period of weeks or even months.

For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse presented the benefits of two intervention sessions a week apart for adolescents with problems of substance abuse. The evidence showed positive results related to brief interventions that created behavioral change even six months after the intervention.

Addiction Interventions and Lasting Positive Results

As we can see, addiction interventions are far more than just simple confrontational meetings. And since every patient is different, the approach and techniques used are customized for each intervention.

The best option for someone who is trying to help a family member or close friend is to rely on the advice of a professional counselor, therapist, or experienced interventionist. By doing so the chances of success greatly improve and the benefits become long lasting.

Call to our toll-free helpline and one of our experienced addiction treatment professionals will answer your questions and give you free assistance to find the program you need. Our lines are open 24/7 and we have information about intervention services, a national network of rehab facilities, family counseling, and much more. Recovery is at hand; call now.

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