A review of the episode

This episode from the TV series “Intervention” describes the story of a 24 year old girl Cristy Celaya, an alcohol and meth addict who faces intervention.

This is known to be the most famous episode of Intervention. It is an unforgettable story of Cristy containing scenes of constant nudity, bizarre delusions and aberrant behavior due to alcohol and meth addiction.

Cristy has been addicted to crystal meth for 10 years. She explained when she is on meth, it overwhelms her with energy and so she has alcohol with it to balance out the effect of meth. Cristy drinks and takes drugs for three days straight without any sleep. Her father Armando is shocked by the amount of alcohol she can drink and the amount of drugs she can put in her body.

Halima NoonHalima Noon is working at Willing Ways as a clinical psychologist. She has done her MS in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Her published MS thesis includes current trends of materialistic values and compulsive buying among young adults. She is a Certified Reiki Practitioner from Ijaz Psychiatric Institute. Halima is also an artist by profession.

Editor: Halima Noon

Dr. Sadaqat Ali of Willing Ways  suggests that methamphetamine affects the brain and may create feelings of pleasure, elevate mood and increase energy. He explains that methamphetamine gives the user the ability to stay awake and be involved in continuous activity with less need for sleep.  The release of the neurotransmitter dopamine leads to the pleasurable effects of methamphetamine. Dopamine plays a role in motivation, motor function and experiencing pleasure. Research shows that methamphetamine releases twelve times more dopamine that released by food, sex or other pleasurable activities.

Dr Sadaqat Ali also explains that in methamphetamine addiction, the signs and symptoms may include increased activity and wakefulness, experiencing a rush, increased talkativeness and euphoria, among others.

indexCristy used to be a fun-loving and outgoing person but now she gets further away from reality. As now her addiction has changed her into a person her family does not even recognize. Her mother, Gloria reports “I don’t know who she is anymore”. 

Meth use causes hallucinations, delusions and erratic behavior known as “meth psychosis”. Cristy claims when she is under the influence, she feels as if she may be possessed by the devil. Her mother explained that the person she sees now in Cristy’s body is not her daughter.

In her meth psychosis, Cristy believes that she is the sister of Satan and Jesus and walks around outside with no clothing on as shown in some scenes in the episode.

In one scene of the episode, Cristy has about a dozen of empty bottles of alcohol in her shower. Written on one of the walls are a lot of numbers. Later, it is found out that these numbers are a part of Cristy’s “formula” which somehow proves to her that she is God.

An individual seeking alcohol addiction treatment requires detailed education about her disease and the steps in her recovery process including constant attention to all her symptoms and to any health complications due to alcoholism. She needs emotional support as her awareness develops on how alcohol and drug abuse impacted her life and loved ones. She requires understanding, compassion and extensive professional help.

This is where the role of intervention takes place. Intervention is an education process directed by a professional that results in a face to face meeting of family members and close friends. Individuals who are struggling with addiction may often be in denial and are unwilling to seek treatment. They may have difficulty recognizing the negative effects their behavior is having on themselves and others around them. Therefore, intervention helps them make the connection between their alcohol and drug use and their problems in life. The goal of intervention is to present the addict with a structured opportunity for accepting help and make changes before a catastrophe occurs.

When Cristy was 9, her parents separated. Cristy may seem to use that as an excuse to live her life without limits. During that time, she became very different and as her mother reported “something snapped in her”.