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Individuals and families may hesitate to utilize treatment and intervention services for a variety of reasons, from fear of costs or judgment from their community to not knowing when even to use such services. Yet, if the latter impedes any family’s ability to utilize crisis intervention, the family may endure worsening and lingering complications of untreated crises, such as chronic substance-using behaviors or dysfunctional family dynamics. By learning what defines a crisis and knowing what services are available in times of crisis, individuals and families can feel better prepared and empowered to participate in crisis intervention services as soon as crises take place.

We at CCM understand the challenges that may stand in the way of families’ ability to participate in crisis intervention services. Yet, without professional support, the effects of a crisis can ravage not only the lives of individuals and families but also the lives of those in their greater communities. Fortunately, we at CCM provide holistic behavioral health solutions to individuals and families throughout the entire continuum of care. By first understanding what defines a crisis, families can feel more confident in their decision to engage with crisis intervention services when necessary.

Defining a Crisis

Contrary to what some may believe, there is no exhaustive list of events that define a crisis. Rather, crises are subjective and refer to the way that an individual reacts to an overwhelming, shocking, or otherwise traumatic event. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, a crisis is “an acute emotional upset; it is manifested in an inability to cope emotionally, cognitively, or behaviorally and to solve problems as usual.” 

Crises can be personal, familial, environmental, and communal. They can arise from otherwise normal life changes or, on the other hand, unexpected trauma. Some common examples of crises include natural disasters, suicides and other unexpected experiences of grief, sudden financial disruptions, domestic or workplace violence, car accidents, unplanned pregnancies, the discovery of a chronic or terminal illness, and parental divorce.

Is Substance Abuse a Crisis?

As mentioned previously, a crisis is not defined by the happenings of an unexpected event. Rather, crises can also occur as a slow burn; a series of events that indicate the potential for future harm, whether or not such consequences are yet apparent. In this way, substance abuse is certainly a crisis; as are untreated mental health disorders, behavioral addictions, and chronic pain. 

When an individual engages in chronic alcohol and/or other drug use and such use goes untreated, it can be a cause of destruction for not only the life of the individual using substances but also for the lives of everyone who surrounds them. The same can be said for those who have untreated mental health disorders which, if severe, can impede an individual’s ability to function normally in daily life. 

It often takes time for substance abuse to surface concerns. Yet, as soon as warning signs surface, families must respond and intervene as timely as possible to prevent future consequences from affecting their lives and the lives of their loved ones using substances. 

Understanding the Value of Crisis Intervention Services

As the publication Crisis Intervention by authors Wang and Gupta explains, “Crisis intervention is a short-term management technique designed to reduce potential permanent damage to an individual affected by a crisis.” Those affected by a crisis are at risk of harming both themselves and others. Fortunately, crisis intervention services work to mitigate such risks. 

Additionally, in their publication titled Psychology of a Crisis, the CDC highlights:

In a crisis, affected people take in information, process information, and act on information differently than they would during non-crisis times. People or groups may exaggerate their communication responses. They may revert to more basic or instinctive fight-or-flight reasoning.

It is human nature to revert to instinctive reasoning when we or someone we love feels threatened or stressed. However, in a crisis, this acute stress response may be triggered to its extremes and make us vulnerable to developing trauma-related symptoms, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Thus, crisis intervention services help individuals and families healthily navigate the behavioral and psychological effects of crises to ensure lasting healing and recovery for all who are affected by them. 

Responding to a Crisis: When to Utilize Crisis Intervention Services

There is no set timeline for when individuals and families should use crisis intervention services. However, a golden rule would be to utilize such services when an individual no longer feels confident in their ability to cope healthily with all that is happening in their lives. Likewise, those struggling with untreated mental health disorders and/or substance use disorder (SUD) are encouraged to utilize crisis intervention services as soon as possible to avoid worsening symptoms and consequences from affecting their lives and the lives of those they love. 

We at CCM offer treatment and intervention services for individuals and families, regardless of where they are at in the healing and recovery process. Our approach empowers clients by providing the most effective and appropriate long-term wellness options for their unique needs and recovery goals. Whether an individual needs refuge from PTSD, chronic pain, behavioral addictions, alcohol and drug addictions, or other mental health disorders, we have the knowledge and professional support that clients need to achieve lasting healing from crises. 

A crisis is defined as an acute emotional upset that manifests as an inability to cope with an event or series of events. Those affected by crises are at risk of harming themselves and others, often turning to maladaptive behaviors in an attempt to cope. Further, leaving the effects of crises untreated can place individuals at risk of developing mental health disorders like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the use of alcohol and other drugs to self-medicate. We at CCM are prepared to help individuals and families healthily navigate crises by personalizing approaches and curating the best long-term wellness recovery plans. Learn more about our crisis intervention services by calling (855) 467-3226 today.