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Alchemy consulting has created a multi-faceted approach influenced by the pioneers of intervention. Alchemy’s adaptive Intervention Model “AIM Method” individualizes the intervention technique to accommodate the clinical needs of the family, client and situation to give us the best possible long-term outcome. The first step is to a call to us to determine if an intervention is appropriate for your loved one.  If we see options that can be done prior to hiring the intervention team, we will suggest.  When the decision has been made to move forward and contracts and payment are secured, we will assign the Alchemy Interventionist who best suits your specific needs based on our initial conversations and online assessments. After receiving the Welcome Packet via email, the next step is to set up a conference call to discuss planning, scheduling pre-intervention and intervention time and location. Concurrently, Alchemy is coordinating transportation and admission to the appropriate program for treatment.  The final step is Intervention Day and transport to treatment.

The intervention technique will be modified based on the clinical needs and circumstances of both the individual and the family. The above intervention flow can be modified depending on the needs and challenges of both the individual and the family.  For years we have successfully intervened upon substance use disorders, primary mental health clients, dual diagnosis and process addiction. Our adaptive intervention model is designed to create the best approach based on the clinical needs of the family and client. We believe in and prefer a more invitational process, however, it is not always applicable.

Types of Interventions

Fortunately today, Intervention is becoming more and more utilized and our Adaptive Intervention Model is consistently successful with substance use disorders, mental health disorders, eating disorders, and process addictions. However, it has also created the idea that interventions are only for the worst cases of drug addiction.  The intervention process can also be successful with mental health challenges, eating disorders and process addictions.  Alchemy Consulting has successfully intervened on individuals with all types of disorders and diagnoses.  Below we have information on common mental health challenges, addiction to substances, and process addictions. 

Mental Health

Mental illness is a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and behavior.  The result is an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and can include reckless behavior, changes in mood or personality, emotional instability, and withdrawal.  There are more than 200 forms of mental illness, but the common disorders are:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Dementia
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia

There may or may not be a co-occurring substance abuse problem which complicates the mental health disorders.  Alchemy Consulting intervenes and guides the family and the individual to appropriate treatment.  In many cases, medication management isn’t enough; trauma treatment and learning new coping in life skills are as important as prescribing and maintaining medication.

Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

The use of alcohol and drugs often begins as a socially acceptable lifestyle choice; use may have been “under control” for an extended period.  However, what happens long before anyone realizes it, an individual becomes physically and mentally addicted and loses the choice to take it or leave it. Stigma still surrounds the nature of addiction as a weakness although the American Medical Association (AMA) declared addiction a disease in 1987.  The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines the disease of addiction as:

“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by the inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”

ASAM’s Short Definition of Addiction (the extended version is available at www.asam.org)

Any substance that causes a mind-altering experience can be addictive.

Common substances abused:

  • Opioids and Narcotics – Vicodin, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Fentanyl, Heroin
  • Alcohol
  • Stimulants – ADD and ADHD medications, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Ecstasy
  • Marijuana (and it’s many forms in modern-day- Marijuana today is not what marijuana was in the ’60s and ’70s)
  • Nitrous (huffing) – whip cream cans

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Not only do we offer intervention services; we also provide care management services & sober companions to ensure your loved one gets the best care possible after residential treatment. These additional services maintain congruency of aftercare and support “to create a foundation for life-long recovery.

Process Addictions

Process addictions are treatable and individuals respond well to the intervention process.  Alchemy Consulting helps guide the individual to the appropriate treatment program and mental health professionals who are experienced in the presenting addiction. This is important as the study and treatment of process addictions is fairly a new concept in relation to other disorders and addictions.  Having a team of advocates, such as Alchemy Consulting, is especially beneficial while seeking help for process addictions since the study and treatment of these individuals is less prevalent than substance abuse and eating disorders.

Process addictions include:

  • Gaming/Internet
  • Sex/Pornography
  • Hoarding
  • Gambling

The societal awareness of the devastating effects of process addictions has become more pronounced in the last 15 years.  So much so that ASAM (American Society of Addiction) released a new definition of addiction in 2011:

“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease involving brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry; it can lead to relapse, progressive development, and the potential for fatality if not treated. While pathological use of alcohol and, more recently, psychoactive substances have been accepted as addictive diseases, developing brain science has set the stage for inclusion of the process addictions, including food, sex, shopping and gambling problems, in a broader definition of addiction as set forth by the American Society of Addiction Medicine in 2011.”

ASAM furthered explains process addictions:

The new ASAM definition makes a departure from equating addiction with just substance dependence, by describing how addiction is also related to behaviors that are rewarding. This is the first time that ASAM has taken an official position that addiction is not solely “substance dependence.” This definition says that addiction is about functioning and brain circuitry and how the structure and function of the brains of persons with addiction differ from the structure and function of the brains of persons who do not have an addiction. It talks about reward circuitry in the brain and related circuitry, but the emphasis is not on the external rewards that act on the reward system. Food and sexual behaviors and gambling behaviors can be associated with the “pathological pursuit of rewards” described in this new definition of addiction.

We all have the brain reward circuitry that makes food and sex rewarding. In fact, this is a survival mechanism. In a healthy brain, these rewards have feedback mechanisms for satiety or ‘enough.’ In someone with an addiction, the circuitry becomes dysfunctional such that the message to the individual becomes ‘more’, which leads to the pathological pursuit of rewards and/or relief through the use of substances and behaviors. So, anyone who has an addiction is vulnerable to food and sex addiction.

Eating Disorders

The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) estimates 20 million women and 10 million men in America will suffer from an eating disorder in their lives.  Eating disorders are a treatable mental and physical illness that can affect individuals of every age, gender, sex, race and socioeconomic group.  These disorders range from severe restriction to overeating and everything in between; they are serious and potentially life conditions that can affect every organ of the body.  Relationships, productivity, and health can all be affected.  Co-occurring mental health diagnoses such as OCD, depression and our anxiety are also present. 

  • Binge eating – Characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large amounts of food followed by extreme shame and guilt.
  • Anorexia Nervosa – Very restricted eating with noticeable weight loss, individuals often have severe body dysmorphia – seeing themselves as “obese” when the reality is they are severely underweight.
  • Bulimia Nervosa – Characterized by binge eating followed by purging.  Purging can be classified as self induced vomiting, use of laxatives, and compulsive exercise.
  • Orthorexia – Restricting foods by obsessing over “healthy” diets. 
  • Compulsive Exercise – Extreme and excessive exercising to the extent that is affecting ones relationships, productivity and health.

There are common symptoms, physical, emotional and behavioral, to signal disordered eating and unhealthy body image.  It is important to note, body weight alone is not an indication of health.  Many individuals can appear outwardly “healthy” and “normal” and still be in the grips of disordered eating.  Common symptoms:

  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, dieting
  • Withdrawal from friends, activities, families
  • Extreme concern with body size and shape
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Fad diets, restriction of certain foods (i.e. carb free diet, fat free diet, keto, vegan, etc)
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Feeling cold
  • Dizziness
  • Dental problems

For more information please visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.com for more information.

Alchemy Consulting has successfully intervened on individuals who are struggling with eating disorders.  In a few rare cases, we have brought in additional colleagues to assist in the intervention depending on the severity. If your loved one is struggling with disordered eating we are here to help.

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