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reactance during an intervention

How to Avoid Reactance During an Intervention

Trying to help your loved one get sober can be extremely difficult. If you’ve ever talked to them about their drug or alcohol problem, or if you’ve ever seen a real-life intervention, you know that the person can get extremely defensive. Sometimes, when you try to intervene, it almost seems as though you’ve just made things worse. In these moments, it’s difficult to remember that the addict is a sick person who is struggling with a powerful disease. Not only are they battling a disease that says they don’t have a problem, but they’re also struggling with something all people deal with, which is reactance. 

The Psychology of Reactance

The human mind is a fascinating thing, and thankfully, we have decades of scientific research in the field of psychology that helps us better understand how people think and behave. Reactance is extremely common, and it’s described by psychologists as an unpleasant motivational arousal to offers, persons, rules, or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms. So, what does that mean? We have a psychological response when people tell us what to do. 

To better understand this, a good example is teenagers. Young people have higher levels of reactions based on the way their brain is developing at this time in their life. When told what to do, they’ll often do the opposite, and this is due to reactance. For those struggling with addiction, reactance can be even stronger. The disease of addiction affects the part of the brain responsible for survival, so the person feels as though they have to drink or use to survive. Because of this, they try to protect their addiction, which is why interventions often get so emotional. 

How to Overcome Reactance

If you’ve noticed that your loved one gets defensive when you discuss their addiction due to reactance, there are some techniques you can use to help overcome the situation. One of the best things to do is to help them come to their own conclusion. Although some people struggle with cognitive dissonance, the best way to get someone to get help is for them to realize that it’s the best option. The mind doesn’t have nearly as much reactance when the person’s wheels begin turning and they realize they need to get help. One way to do this is to ask questions such as the following: 

  • What negative effects have drinking or using had one your life?
  • How would your life improve if you stopped drinking or using?
  • What could you accomplish if you weren’t drinking or using drugs?

Getting Help

Once you overcome reactance, your loved one is going to need to go to a qualified drug and alcohol detox in New Jersey, and Enlightened Solutions is here to help. Enlightened Solutions is a holistic detox facility in New Jersey, and we help to ease the discomfort of the withdrawal process. After detox, we also offer a rehabilitation program for your loved one to learn a new way of living without drugs or alcohol. If you’d like more information or need help with an intervention, call us today at 833-233-7336.

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