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Substance Abuse Interventions for Families

It’s difficult to watch a loved one spiral out of control due to an addiction. Feeling helpless and confused is normal if someone close to you is dealing with an addiction or a dual diagnosis. Sometimes family members need to step in to guide their loved one in a positive, healthy direction. This is called a family intervention.

What Is a Family Intervention?

A family intervention is a process in which those close to the individual dealing with addiction, in conjunction with a licensed counselor or interventionist, confront the individual and encourage them to seek treatment. A drug or alcohol intervention is much more than a simple chat or suggestion. During this process, the family and professionals present will:

  • Share how the individual’s behavior negatively impacts the family
  • Present the details of a substance use treatment program
  • Inform the individual of what will happen if they refuse treatment

How To Have a Family Intervention

Family interventions are emotional discussions. Remember to communicate all of the important points your loved one needs to hear clearly and concisely. Here are six stages of intervention to guide your family through the process:

1. Develop a Plan

When your family decides to address a loved one’s addiction, work with an interventionist or another qualified professional to create an effective strategy for your meeting. This person will also offer suggestions to deal with the powerful emotions that will likely arise during your discussion.

2. Research Your Loved One’s Condition and Treatment Options

With an addiction professional’s assistance, learn about your loved one’s drug or alcohol addiction and the appropriate treatment options. Consider making arrangements for your loved one to proceed to treatment immediately following the intervention.

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3. Agree on Potential Consequences

During your meeting, each family member will state what they will do if their loved one does not undergo treatment. For example, you may refuse to loan them money or ask them to move out of your home. Only choose potential consequences that you and your family intend to follow through with.

4. Make Discussion Notes

You and your family must organize your thoughts before entering the meeting to prevent intense emotions from taking over. Have everyone jot down specific situations in which their loved one has hurt them due to their addiction, and refer to these notes during the discussion.

5. Hold the Meeting

Although it is heart-wrenching to keep a secret from a loved one, drug and alcohol interventions work best if the individual does not know the reason for the meeting. Once everyone has arrived, discuss the impacts, treatment options, and consequences as mentioned above.

6. Continue To Offer Support While Your Loved One Is in Treatment

Research indicates that family involvement improves addiction treatment outcomes. Your involvement might include family therapy to learn how to support your loved one, develop open lines of communication, and encourage healthy family dynamics throughout treatment and beyond.

The Importance of a Family Intervention

When one person in a family battles addiction, the entire family feels the weight of the consequences. Studies show that if one of your family members struggles with a substance use disorder, you are more likely to receive the same diagnosis. In addition, you are also at a higher risk of depression or other mental health conditions.

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If a loved one has a drug or alcohol addiction, you are more likely to be exposed to domestic violence, criminal acts, or other dangerous situations. You might also experience marital problems or have difficulty caring for your children or dependents.

Confronting your loved one with the guidance of a trained professional may prevent some of these negative impacts. If you are already feeling the effects of addiction, working with an interventionist to receive family therapy can help you get the help you need to be in the best position to support your loved one.

Compassionate Care at Mind Body Wellness

A thoughtful, heartfelt meeting might be your loved one’s deciding factor in getting help for their drug or alcohol addiction. If you plan to work through the stages of intervention to confront a family member about their substance use, consider the benefits of a program that combines addiction and mental health treatment. At Mind Body Wellness, we use a holistic approach to promote a successful recovery. Contact us today for more information about our outpatient services.