What Is early intervention?
What is early intervention? When speaking of disorders or
diseases that can affect a child's ability to learn and develop
normally in terms of academia, early intervention seems more than
intuitive. A dyslexic child can develop normally if taught
certain skills early on. A child with poor vision can avoid
issues learning in school by getting fitted with glasses. A
child with a hearing disability can develop normal language and speech
if fitted with hearing aids in the first months of life. It
seems very natural and obvious for these ailments. However,
what does early intervention mean as it relates to problem gambling?
I've been researching the topic of what is early intervention in the
context of gambling and other addictions. It's a little less
well defined, and certainly not nearly as intuitive, but the concept
does still exist. The general spirit is fairly obvious, which
is that early intervention is meant to help avoid the devastation that
can come a gambling addiction problem, both financially as well as with
friends, family, and one's general health and well-being. But
how early is early? To be honest, I haven't found a lot of
good literature or professionals who can really speak well to this
topic, though it's generally accepted that intervening sooner rather
than later can have a positive effect.
Keep in ind that early intervention doesn't mean convincing someone to
go to treatment before they've lost a certain amount of dollars.
Though that can be a form of early intervention, it's not at
the core of the strategy. In other words, it's even more
fundamental than putting a price tag on losses, or counting the number
of friends or family relationships impacted along the way.
Some even talk about a stage before early intervention as
being prevention. In this context, treatment does not even
equate to intervention, but rather, treatment is a stage following
problem gambling education, and service (i.e. therapy) awareness.
So then what is early intervention? For me prevention is a
stage where someone with the risk factors of addiction (even a young
child) becomes aware and educated. As stress and adversity
can often develop into triggers for addictive behavior, youngsters can
learn healthy techniques for coping with stress. But how
aware can, and should a child be about a predisposition to addiction
that they may have? Is it more of a subconscious lesson a
child learns by growing up in an environment where the family system
copes with adversity in healthy ways? Or is the child
specifically taught about the actual problem of gambling? Are
they told never to go to a casino, or just monitored for healthy vs.
unhealthy recreational patterns that drive what further education or
rules are required?
If you have children that have grown up in a family with an addict (of
any kind), this topic is probably of great interest. I'm
continually seeking more definitive information on this topic, so if
you have any good sources of such information, please feel free to Contact
me. In terms of adults, I think the key takeaway here is that
you don't have to wait until you're relationship is destroyed, and
you're financially devastated or bankrupt before an intervention can be
considered. In fact, an intervention ostensibly "brings up
the bottom" as a form of early intervention for someone who hasn't yet
reached what they would define as their rock bottom.
If you're still not sure what is early intervention, I recommend
keeping in mind that waiting is never the better strategy, and the
earlier the better is generally a good perspective. For more
information about the actual intervention process for someone who is
already in the throws of a gambling problem, please visit the Addiction
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