There’s not much you can do to prepare yourself for the fear, anger and pain that accompanies learning your child has a drug or alcohol addiction. Substance abuse affects the whole family, and the best way to help your child get the help needed to recover is to thoroughly educate yourself.
The more you know about addiction, the better you can help your child come to terms with their addiction, find helpful resources, choose the right treatment program and become involved in your child’s treatment and aftercare in the most effective ways possible.
This 14-part series is designed to help provide you with the information you need to face this struggle and help your child and your family find the path to recovery.
Intervention as an Option
It’s frightening and frustrating when your child has an addiction but is either in denial about it or has no interest in entering treatment. In some cases, interventions can help your child come to the decision to enter treatment.
An intervention is a carefully planned process that ends with a meeting between your child and his concerned friends and family members. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, an intervention that’s planned and executed with the help of a professional has a 90 percent success rate in getting a loved one to seek treatment.
Are Interventions Right for You?
In some cases, interventions can cause more problems for an addicted individual and her family members than it will solve. The National Institute on Drug Abuse points out that sometimes, interventions can escalate into violence or otherwise backfire, and they recommend focusing instead on trying to get your child to a doctor, since people will often take professional advice over that of family members.
But in other cases, interventions can be the catalyst your child needs to realize how far-reaching the consequences of her addiction are and agree to enter treatment. It’s important to discuss your child’s addiction with a mental health professional, addiction specialist or professional interventionist for help in determining whether interventions are a good option for you.
Why Professional Help is Essential
Before holding an intervention, understanding the mechanics of addiction and how it affects brain function and behavior is essential for success. That’s why the first critical step of an intervention is intensive preparation for the intervention team, which is comprised of loved ones whom your child likes and respects. A professional will provide you with the education and information you need in order to make the intervention more successful.
During interventions, emotions often run high, and it’s critically important to keep the meeting positive and productive. If anyone on the intervention team becomes angry, frustrated or confrontational, the intervention will likely backfire. It’s also important to avoid placing blame, which can be difficult in many circumstances. A professional interventionist will help defuse negative emotions, keep the meeting on track and ensure it’s as short and productive as possible.
“When Your Child Has an Addiction” Continues
In the next entry in this series, learn about the different parts of a successful intervention and what the next steps will be. Continued in “My Child Has an Addiction, Part 11: Intervention Steps”.