Behavior Intervention Plan
Is there such a thing as a behavior intervention plan? I
touched on this subject on the What
Is Early Intervention
page. Having some knowledge about addictions and their
progressive characteristics, made me want to better understand whether
there are things that people (and parents in particular) can or should
do to head off addictive behavior early. If you believe that
person can have a genetic predisposition to addictive behavior, does
that mean that families should take additional steps? That's
I'm referring to when I speak of having a behavior intervention plan.
and research on having a behavior intervention plan are scarce.
As such, I reached out to Dr. Mitchell Wallick, an addiction
specialists, to share his thoughts:
"Gambling has become as
serious problem among young adults in our community! College
poker parties, high school card games, etc. are all becoming the
rave. Anecdotally, those of us who deal with gamblers are
the average age of gamblers going down and down in an
steady trend. Based on our experience at C.A.R.E., most of
gambling patients report early histories of gambling.
elementary school with matching pennies and flipping cards, it is often
our finding that most of our compulsive gambling patients have started
this way. This does not mean that every child who flips cards
will become a compulsive gambler, nor does it mean that they should be
immediately rushed into therapy and treatment. What
mean is that gambling in our society can be a serious
is a problem that often starts at a very early age.
communities are attempting to address this problem. For many,
feeling is that they can control the activity. For example,
East Coast community hosts card games for their young
When questioned, community leaders explain that they would
have them gamble and drink in a controlled situation rather than
participate in this activity without supervision. To this
the young men and women are allowed to bet up to twenty five dollars a
night. The hosts bring in a case of beer and permit their
guests up to one beer a night. Unfortunately this
permission message that tells the participants it is ok to gamble and
drink, both of which are illegal activities. A similar
being inferred by Las Vegas themed birthday parties, etc.
the problem of addictive behaviors is easy. The more
step is to implement a strategy that will deal with the problem.
The following is an outline of the steps that I would
to parents and communities:
Starting at the earliest possible time, children should be given as
much information as they can handle regarding addictions.
includes the dangers of alcohol, drugs and compulsive
For those who have an additional genetic risk, it is even more
important to ensure that they have a proper understanding of the
- Lead by
Parents need to set a proper example. This does not mean that
parents should not drink and/or gamble, but rather they need to show
responsible behavior. This behavior needs to be pointed out
their children. In other words, with privilege comes
- Drugs should
always be a NO NO. Drugs are an illegal behavior
and should never be tolerated.
- Alcohol is
illegal for those under 21.
We all know that drinking behaviors often begin a long time before this
age. It is suggested that parents make it clear that this is
acceptable behavior. They can point out the legal
talk about responsibility etc. Under no circumstances should
encourage, enable and/or condone this behavior in their home with their
children and/or guests.
children alternative, healthy activities.
Often people become addicted due to boredom.
- Make certain
that there is open communication. Very
often youngsters turn to addiction to bury feelings instead of
expressing them. We call this self-medicating.
- Pay attention
to school problems like ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), etc.
Untreated, these emotional problems can often lead to addictive
There is no way to predict who is going to have a problem.
For that reason the key word is, as with most things, Educate
by word, and far more importantly, by Example
Mitchell E. Wallick Ph.D. CAP CAGC
Executive Director of C.A.R.E. Addiction Recovery
Dr. Mitch (as people call him) for sharing your expertise on what a
behavior intervention plan might look like with visitors to the site;
your time is much appreciated! I feel that taking heed to
steps becomes a worthwhile behavior intervention plan. To
more from Dr. Mitch, click over to Help
to learn how to download his free ebook: "Sick
and Tired of Being Sick and
Tired - A guide to addiction treatment & recovery for your
family and you".
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