Why do people love reality television like Intervention? Train Wreck or Treatment?

The A&E show Intervention ran for 13 successful seasons for a very good reason: this is compelling stuff. Watching tearful families confront their addicted loved ones, seeing the realities of addiction and how it affects individuals and those close to them, this is the content that makes for the best reality television. Especially for any viewers with the good fortune to never have been touched by the demon of addiction, watching lives collapse and loved ones scrambling to pull them back together again is an emotional roller coaster, ending with a warm fuzzy feeling that this person will get better.

Watching real, live interventions is exciting. We wonder how the addict will react. Is she going to cry and submit? Or will she throw a chair through the window and refuse to get help? What we don’t see is what happens after a successful intervention. All we get is the excitement of an intervention and this can be misleading. What is an intervention really, and how does it help the addict? What goes into a good intervention and how can it go wrong? Should you stage one on your own or do you need the help of a professional? And what happens next?

Intervention is Motivation

The main goal of an intervention is to motivate an addict to recognize his problem and to accept help for it. An intervention can be held for someone addicted to drugs or alcohol or for someone with a behavioral addiction, to say shopping or gambling. Denial is a common trait in all types of addicts. An addict does not want to admit to having a problem for a variety of reasons: the stigma and shame of being an addict, the inevitable treatment, and the need to give up the vice. Hearing from loved ones about how the addiction is affecting everyone is a powerfully motivating tool for eliminating denial.

An Intervention is a Process

If you think you can sit your loved one down and have a simple heart-to-heart about her problem drinking and that you’ll hug and cry afterwards as she promises to get help, you’re kidding yourself. An intervention is a well-planned process that involves several people and it may not stick the first time. To stage an intervention with the best chance of success requires a plan, practice, outlined treatment options, and specific consequences for the addict if she refuses help.

Intervention

Intervention is for the Professionals

To hold an intervention that is not likely to deteriorate into rage, violent outbursts, and a situation that is worse than what you started with, you need the help of a professional. Imagine you were about to be confronted by a group of people and told that you had a problem and needed to change. How would you react? Think of all the possibilities and you may never stage an intervention. Having a professional on hand is crucial for keeping the peace and for ensuring that your addicted loved one will cope in a healthful way with the realities of his situation. You also need to be sure that you have options for your loved one. You can’t just tell him he has a problem and leave it at that. A professional can help you find a treatment program.

Interventions are exciting and fun to watch on television. The drama of addiction is particularly engaging when it isn’t your life. The reality for an addict is not so much fun. If you have been watching a friend or family member struggle with addiction while in complete denial, an intervention could be the motivating tool you need. Most people confronted in this way do end up getting help. Take the step to intervene, but do it right and don’t just get caught up in the excitement of reality TV.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/intervention/art-20047451

http://ncadd.org/index.php/for-friends-and-family/intervention

2018-08-23T06:43:46+00:00March 17, 2014|Behavioral Addiction, Drug Addiction, Mental Health|

Shopping Addiction & Compulsive Buying: A Growing Concern In America

Shopping

“When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it’s not, and I need to do it again.” Have you seen the movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic? The main character, Rebecca Bloomwood, played by Isla Fisher, says that line to describe why she loves to shop.

Sophie Kinsella wrote a series of novels that lead to the script that follows a young woman who cannot stop shopping. While the story is fiction, there is so much truth to the concept and to that simple quote. Shopping becomes a drug, and the user needs a constant fix.

The fact that a movie like this was made, and did well, shows just how much shopping addiction and compulsive buying are a growing concern in America.

The high Rebecca feels when buying something is temporary. She sees that even though the world gets better and feels better when she compulsively buys, that it is temporary and she needs another shopping spree to make her world feel better again. It’s a vicious cycle of ups and downs based on something completely external. Does this sound familiar?

About 6% of people in the United States have some form of a shopping addiction. With a population of almost 314 million, that’s over 18 million people.

Instead of buying clothes and other stuff when it is actually needed, people are shopping as a recreational activity. Clothes and shoes are needed for everyday life, yes, but think about how much you are able to wear at one time. Now think of how many items in your closet you absolutely love. What is all the rest there for?

Think about the reason you bought certain pieces that are in your closet right now. Did emotions drive you to make that purchase? Are there feelings still connected to certain articles of clothing Would you say that these emotions and feelings are healthy?

Unhealthy patterns progress and it seems that shopping is a cure for anything difficult to handle these days. Are you having trouble coping with a painful breakup, or loss of a job or friend? Go buy yourself something nice. Are you bored? Go shopping. Sad? Go buy yourself something to cheer you up. It can also go the other way. Are you feeling great? Did you do something well? Go shop a little. Promotion at work? Go reward yourself for a job well done.

So what exactly diagnoses a shopping addiction or compulsive buying? Well, do you feel unable to stop? When you are on your way to buy something, do you feel that you shouldn’t be stepping foot into that store? Do you know that a shopping spree right now will mess up your finances, but you want to do it anyway? Are you buying things that you want instead of items that you need?

If you feel your behavior is out of control, you want to stop but you cannot, and you need help to make shopping and buying changes, you may be diagnosable. In any case, finding out how to stop is an important step. Just like an alcoholic or drug addict, abstinence is a very real part of recovery from shopping addiction and compulsive buying.

Treatment centers that help people recover from drug, alcohol, and behavioral addictions, like gambling and love/sex addiction, also treat shopping addiction and compulsive buying. A formal assessment is a great way to find out more.

The treatment team at The Control Center will help determine what treatment is best for you. Call now 877.813.2974 and start building a better life!

2018-08-23T06:44:36+00:00October 10, 2013|Health and Wellness, Mental Health, The Control Center|

Are You A Relationship Addict?

 Heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and relationships. Do you feel like one of these is not like the other?

Heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and relationships. Do you feel like one of these is not like the other?

Heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and relationships. Do you feel like one of these is not like the other?

You may be surprised to find out that all four of these “substances,” along with gambling, Internet activity, shopping, eating, and many more behaviors can all be equally detrimental when they have reached the point of addiction.

Are you a relationship addict? Do you have an intimacy disorder, or an attachment disorder? Let’s find out together.

The following questions are drawn from information in the book, Addicted to Love, by Stephen Arterburn.

  • Were you abandoned or rejected in some way as a child?
  • Have you been the victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse?
  • Do you feel unloved by the world at large and by everyone around you?
  • Are you constantly feeling overwhelmed by the requirements of everyday life?
  • Do you worry constantly? Are you fearful of daily events?
  • Have you set standards for yourself that are too high to ever attain?
  • Do you feel you must be perfect to ever be “good enough” for someone else to truly love you? Are feelings of inadequacy real for you?
  • Have you attempted to fix someone you’ve been romantically involved with?
  • Are you staying with partners for too long in an effort to save them?
  • Do you find yourself attracted to needy people? Does their neediness make you feel like they will not leave you, and you will not get hurt?
  • Are you attracted to emotionally abusive or distant people?
  • Does an emotionally-stable person make you anxious or uncomfortable? Does it scare you to think of being in a relationship with someone healthy who would be strong enough to live without your love?
  • Have you attached to partners quickly? Does attraction lead right to a relationship?
  • Do you stay with a partner because it is better to be with them, then to be alone?
  • In comparison to those you’ve dated, do you seem like the emotionally-stable person? Does that bring you joy or comfort in any way?
  • Do you walk on eggshells, hiding your own opinion about things, to keep the other person calm and happy?
  • Can you honestly say that your efforts to help a partner are selfless, or do your actions in some way always serve you and your need to be loved?
  • Are you aware of your own needs? Do you need to be needed?
  • After periods of keeping your emotions and opinions bottled up, do you lash out with anger? Are outbursts followed by guilt, remorse, and a need to mend the relationship? Why? Fear of abandonment?
  • Are you afraid to ask anyone at all for help with relationships?
  • Does it cause great internal discomfort to think about someone helping you? Does it make you feel “less than”?
  • Do you sometimes think that you will never find a truly loving relationship?
  • Does every new and exciting relationship make you think things will be different this time? Are they ever different?
  • If anything goes wrong in a relationship, do you blame yourself?
  • Do you feel like an outcast?
  • Think about your last relationship: did you appear subservient and giving, but really you held all the power and control?
  • Do you feel like you’re on a never ending search for happiness?
  • Does conflict in a relationship cause you to shut down and become depressed?
  • When you are not in a relationship, do you find yourself engaging in compulsive behaviors? (gambling, eating, shopping, etc.)
  • Do you doubt every decision you make, even down to the smallest, everyday tasks?
  • Are you constantly guessing what your partner wants so that you don’t have to ask? Does it make you feel like a better partner if you guess correctly?
  • If you have difficulty expressing your own needs, do you eventually get angry with a partner for not knowing what you need and not fulfilling your needs?
  • Could you possibly be trying to compensate for what you did not get as a child, by manipulating others to get what you want?
  • Do you act strong to compensate for a weakness?

Whether you answer yes or no to these questions may not matter. It is more important to explore how answering these questions made you feel.

What thoughts, feelings, and reactions surfaced for you?

If you are a relationship addict, or if you have an intimacy or an attachment disorder, you are not alone. If you have come to the end of your own strength, you need help, and that is okay.

The Control Center’s intensive outpatient program helps thousands of people like you who need to heal while continuing to work or attend to other responsibilities. Start recovering today!

2018-08-23T06:53:55+00:00March 10, 2013|Behavioral Addiction, Mental Health, The Control Center|