Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Drug addiction - Denial is the chain that prevents addicts from seeking treatment

Drug addiction of the addict. One must show authentic care for the chemically dependent person. In short, you are presenting the moment of truth lovingly. Whenever possible, engage the help of a professional.

The skilled and experienced counsellor will need to turn the crisis into a solvable problem. Rapport must be established quickly as this will give confidence to all involved, especially the addict. To be credible, the intervention should be backed by a realistic treatment plan and intervention is the first step towards this plan.

The addict's "felt priorities" should be addressed before options for treatment can be presented. Upon refraining the problem as solvable, insight should be given to the addict on how he is making the situation worse.

After initial assessment has been done, the realistic options are presented to the addict. Rather than being presented as a directive, it has to be processed as if to empower the addict to seek treatment himself.

Invariably, there is the need for a support team to manage the crisis. The counsellor should facilitate this. The support team should consist of:

  • Counsellor - to offer insight to the team and how to execute the game plan.
  • Presenter - someone within the family or a religious figure who the addict has a sense of respect.
  • Scout - someone who will make contact with treatment centres, locality, programme duration.
  • Financial coordinator - this person takes care of all the financial implications.

It is absolutely important that the "enabler" is neutralised as this person can and will sabotage the intervention plan. The enabler is the person who does not allow the addict to face up to the consequence of his addiction; the addict will also use this person to his advantage.

In crisis intervention, it is not the role of professional counsellors to take responsibility for the addict or his significant others. The counsellor assists in decision-making but does not make the decision. No matter how many success stories they may have, they should never give false assurance or raise expectations too high as the client/significant others will be devastated if the outcome is negative.

In times of crisis, everyone who is involved will have to keep a clear head at all times, remain calm and composed and not he affected by the demands of the situation.

At the end of the day, the first crisis offers the best opportunity for early intervention and treatment. With each succeeding crisis, the challenge becomes more complex and demanding.

To families and friends with someone that they love who is addicted to drugs, the advice is to seek help early and be prepared to face and manage this first crisis as professionallv as possible.

* Dr Steven KW Chow is founding chairman of"DrsWhoCare" Federation of Private Medical Practitioners'Associations Malaysia. Christopher A. Sekar is an addiction counsellor and psychotherapist. This article is contributed by the Federation of private Medical Practitioners Associations Malaysia.

Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader's own medical care. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all respon-
sibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.


At April 13, 2007 9:20 PM , Blogger Noor Azman Othman GBE said...

Thank you for the info. I shall look up Dr Steven KW Chow. Hopefully I can learn something.

BTW, I may use this article for my readers, with your link intact of course.

Greeting from Malaysia.

At June 8, 2007 11:50 PM , Blogger Master said...

You may use this article, please put source from

Thank you.


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