It can be difficult to approach a loved one that is abusing drugs or alcohol for fear of making matters worse or evoking a sense of betrayal. Although family and loved ones may have the best intentions, they may not be successful in persuading an individual to get help without professional assistance. Many individuals struggling with an addiction to either drugs or alcohol do not decide to seek help for substance abuse until they are faced with the opportunity and encouraged by those around them to seek out a lifestyle that better benefits their well-being. Interventions are scheduled meetings in which an experienced intervention specialist guides and chaperones loved ones as they encourage their addicted loved one to seek professional help for an addiction.
When is an Intervention Necessary?
More often than not, an addicted individual will not seek the help of treatment on their own terms. Substance abuse has a way of convincing individuals that they don’t have a problem, and most addicted individuals will justify their drug use because they actually believe their lives are under control. Intervention helps by showing an individual that is abusing drugs or alcohol that there are consequences to their addiction and that people in their life are being affected by them. Intervention is necessary when an individual who is addicted either denies professional help or truly is convinced that there is no substance abuse issue. Signs that an individual may be struggling with an addiction and may need intervention services include:
- Keeping secrets or behaving secretively.
- Borrowing funds without legitimate reasoning.
- Mood swings and increased irritability.
- Neglecting responsibilities such as work, school, or family.
- Increased apathy for past interests.
- A decline in physical appearance or hygiene.
- A decline in health.
- Progression of depression or other mood disorders.
Steps for the Family Substance Abuse Intervention Process
- Meet with intervention specialist to determine a coordinated plan for the intervention. This assures that everyone is on the same page and the intervention is organized for the best chance of success.
- Family members and loved ones expected to participate are to be informed of the intervention and set a date for the meeting. It is important that no one on the intervention team tell the addicted individual about the intervention until the day of.
- The family intervention team conducts research on the addiction, consequences of the addiction, and treatment options so that they are prepared with knowledge and are able to offer professional services for their loved one during the intervention.
- Decide upon an ultimatum. Often times, when an intervention offers professional help, loved ones will continue to deny the need for treatment unless there are direct consequences of not doing so. Each member of the intervention team must decide what they will or will not do to encourage the addicted family member to get the help they need.
- Come prepared with written experiences. Each member of the intervention team will be given a chance to express how they have been affected by the individual’s addictive behavior. This expression will not only allow the individual to see how their addiction harms others, but will also feel loved and encouraged as family members all agree that change is possible and treatment can be effective.
- The intervention is conducted without knowledge to the family member struggling with addiction. Each member of the family intervention team reads their experience and offers an ultimatum only if they are prepared to follow through. The individual is presented with a treatment option that is available immediately.