Sunday, February 22, 2009

A&E's Intervention

My latest TV addiction is the A&E reality show Intervention.

Intervention tells the real stories of various kinds of addicts who've reached the critical point where their lives are at risk, and their friends and family have contacted the show to stage a formal intervention in order to convince them to undergo rehabilitation. Typically, the addicts have been high achievers and the show's main dramatic device, besides showing the struggles of addiction, is to tell the often complex story of their downward spiral and contrast their previous success with the lows to which their addiction has brought them.

According to the show, there are always underlying reasons for addiction and, looking back, the makings of the coming self-destruction can be identified in their childhood, even when outwardly, the addicts were successful as children. Depending on the episode, viewers suffering from anxiety, depression, trauma, or another psychological handicap, with or without an obvious addiction, will often find something about the featured addicts they can identify with. I recently reacted that way to Emily. It's striking how often isolation, need for control, and the expectations and the judgement of others are factors in the addiction.



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