Do Interventions Work?

If you are searching through your child’s room and find bottles of alcohol, drug paraphernalia, devices to smoke marijuana, or other signs of substance abuse, you may be asking yourself, “How do I approach my child about all of this?” or “Can I approach my child about this in the first place?” Approaching your child from a place of care and concern by asking them about what you found is a great first step, however, it can be difficult to assess the best course of action if your child continues down a path towards drug or alcohol addiction.

One course of action that can be taken to address problematic alcoholism and drug dependence is having an intervention. Intervention success rates speak for themselves, nevertheless, it can be beneficial to understand what the intervention process is and how to go about it in order to achieve the ultimate goal of a successful intervention that leads to your loved one overcoming addiction.

What Is A Substance Abuse Intervention? 

An intervention is when one person or a group of loved ones “intervene” in another person’s life. For young adults, substance abuse interventions typically involve their parents, other family members, and maybe some of their friends to talk about their destructive behavior and substance use and encourage them taking the next step towards treatment. Most interventions come off as a surprise to the addicted person, otherwise, the chances of them attending are slim to none. There are many ways in which you can host an intervention when you realize that your loved one’s addiction has gotten out of hand. Here are some examples:

  • Try something small at first with your immediate family and see how it goes. If the person struggling does not show positive change or seek treatment after a few weeks, then it may be time to coordinate an actual intervention.
  • Schedule a “dinner” or “bbq” with friends and family members and make sure they are all privy to the actual purpose of the gathering.

Your loved one may be looking forward to this event, but instead is met with love and support to talk about their substance use disorder. They may feel attacked at first but hopefully realize that there is no malice involved, just genuine care and concern. If it has come to this point, then the goal should be to allow your child to see for themselves how their drug use is impacting not only them but everyone who cares about them. If the message is well received, hopefully, they decide to take action and follow through with addiction treatment.

When Is A Good Time To Have An Intervention? 

If you start to notice certain signs of addiction such as your child acting differently or money starts to mysteriously disappear from your wallet, it might be a good time to have an intervention with your child. If your child is coming home and his eyes are bright red or reeks of alcohol from a mile away after just driving back from a friend’s house, then that is a good time as well to have an intervention. Also, if you notice worsening mental health on top of everything listed above, it could be a sign that your child’s substance use disorder may require an intervention.

How To Have An Intervention? 

It would be best that the intervention be held in a neutral environment where your child feels most comfortable. Maybe for your child, that is your own house, their close friends, or another family member’s. You want to start by calling and reaching out to people your child feels most comfortable with as well as anyone who has been affected by your child’s substance use. It could be specific family and friends, or even coworkers. You will want to organize a specific time when you know your child will be free along with the people attending the intervention. Tell your child on that day that you might be going somewhere fun, like a party or a movie so your child is not worried or filled with anxiety leading up to the intervention.

A well-thought-out and planned intervention may take time, but it will be worth it in the end for your child’s well-being. You can also seek professional help from an intervention team which may comprise intervention specialists, a mental health professional, and an addiction professional for example. This is also known as a formal intervention. They will guide you through the process and provide an outside perspective that family members struggle to procure. Most interventionists recommend that each family member write letters to their loved one detailing the specific consequences that their drug and alcohol abuse has caused. This adds depth and weight to the conversation and allows the group members to express their feelings in a manner that can be hard to convey at the moment.

Do Interventions Work? 

Whether your child suffers from alcohol or drug addictions, neither should be taken lightly and the sooner an intervention is coordinated, the better. According to the Association of Intervention Specialists, the success rate of interventions is between 80-90 percent. It is also said that interventions have a more positive outcome if the child’s loved ones use “I feel” statements to ensure that your loved one knows exactly how their addiction is affecting not just them, but other people involved in their life. It has also been reported that if people follow these four tips, the success rate of interventions goes up by 90 percent.

Tips On How To Properly Intervene Your Child’s Addiction

  1. Do not shame or point fingers at the one who is struggling with addiction 
  2. Keep the intervention short and sweet 
  3. Do work behind the scenes to research addiction treatment options 
  4. Follow through with the person who is struggling with addiction 

But what determines whether an intervention is successful or not? The answer to that question comes down to what happens after the intervention. Ideally, your loved one will make an immediate decision to seek treatment, however, it could take some time before they agree to enter a treatment program. In addition, there are times when the behavior of a family member should be addressed to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Family Members and Their Role in Addiction

According to American Addiction Centers, family members can sometimes contribute to the problem, whether that’s in the form of enabling the person struggling or actually partaking and using drugs along with them. In these cases, it is highly encouraged to get outside help from an intervention team. If you’re curious to learn more about mental illness and addiction, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration contains a wealth of knowledge and resources that can be very helpful.

What To Do After An Intervention? 

After an intervention occurs, that is when a more well-thought-out plan should come into play. This is where friends and family need to set boundaries with their loved ones. If the behavior does not stop after the intervention or proceeds to get worse, then more cautious measures should be taken. This may mean doing some research beforehand on the types of substance abuse treatment centers and programs that will help your loved one overcome addiction. Presenting your loved one with some treatment options can also improve the chances of them agreeing to accept the help being offered. Here are some treatment methods to consider:

  • Inpatient Rehab for Substance Abuse: Oftentimes, an inpatient or residential treatment facility is a great place for a person to start treatment. Most rehabs offer treatment modalities like individual and group therapy which can be very beneficial for individuals struggling with substance abuse. Additionally, rehabs will more often than not provide their clients with a treatment plan for when they leave. This takes a lot of pressure away when trying to figure out what to do after rehab, as any progress can quickly derail if the wrong decisions are made.
  • Outpatient Addiction Treatment: After rehab, it is recommended that individuals continue to seek treatment. Outpatient programs provide ongoing support and accountability that can play a vital role when it comes to transitioning back into real life. Also, a good outpatient program will provide opportunities for their clients to work through the underlying causes of their addiction such as mental illness.
  • Sober Living: Whether this is the first stop or the next step in treatment, sober living homes provide a level of support that is unmatched in the recovery world. Specifically, structured sober living incorporates a full spectrum of life skill development that can increase the chances of achieving long-term sobriety.

Find Help and Seek Treatment

Interventions can be very useful and effective when they are well-planned and thought out. It can be a difficult and uncomfortable situation, however, the end result could be the moment when a person struggling with addiction decides to make a change. If your child is willing to change after being intervened, then that is just the first step of their lifelong process of recovery. Contact New Life House to find out how our sober living in Los Angeles has been empowering young men to reclaim their lives, overcome addiction, and achieve long-term sobriety.

Last Updated on February 21, 2024


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