DRUG ABUSE INTERVENTION
Drug Abuse Intervention and the Family
Having a loved one who is suffering from addiction is a terrifying and exhausting struggle. Oftentimes, convincing your loved one to get help for their addiction can be one of the most difficult tasks you’ll ever have to face.
Addicted individuals are rarely aware of how their behaviors are truly affecting themselves, much less how it is affecting their family and friends and breaking them out of their delusion to get them to seek help can seem impossible. Fortunately, there are resources to help you and your family approach your loved one to ensure that the conversation is productive, and most importantly that it is effective.
Who Becomes Addicted?
Addiction happens when an individual develops a physical and mental dependence on a substance. This can happen to everyone, regardless of their sex, race, upbringing or support system. Often, an addicted individual begins their descent into substance abuse in an innocent way, simply by choosing to experiment with drugs or alcohol.
Sometimes the road to addiction starts with a well-meaning doctor prescribing a narcotic medication to treat a health condition. Rarely does anyone ever choose to become addicted. It is important to remember that regardless of circumstances and no matter what their story is, your loved one is not alone, and addiction does not discriminate. People of all walks of life have struggled with- and recovered from- addiction.
What Substances Can Be Addictive?
Though many correlate addictions with street drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin, the truth is that there is a wide range of drugs that an individual can become addicted to. Any substance which alters the user's state of mind can be addictive.
This includes over the counter medications, medicines that are prescribed by a doctor, street drugs, and even alcohol. Whether your loved one is abusing cough and cold medicine, drinking themselves into a blackout daily, or has found themselves abusing street drugs, just remember that it doesn’t matter what type of drug your loved one is using, we can help.
How Does Drug Addiction Affect the Family?
It is important to look at how drug addiction affects the family to get a clear picture of the chaos and wreckage a drug addiction can truly cause. The effects of addiction are far-reaching, and people often forget that the addict isn’t the only person who suffers from a dependence to drug or alcohol.
Families, friends, doctors, counselors, law enforcement, and even perfect strangers can be impacted by one person’s addiction. Those without a strong emotional connection to the addicted individual may find themselves falling victim to theft, being manipulated for a prescription, or just having the poor luck of running into an emotionally abusive addict on a bad day. While these people feel the effects of addiction, no one is impacted in the same way as those who are emotionally connected to the addict.
From the mental and emotional impact of seeing your loved one go down such a dark road, to the fear and anxiety that eats away at you when you wonder where your loved one is at night, addiction takes a huge toll on the families and friends of addicts.
What is an Intervention?
An intervention is a planned and thought out confrontation with the loved one who is addicted, with the goal of getting the addict to agree to go to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. In order to stage an intervention, you should seek the help of a trained and licensed interventionist who can help you to guide the conversation and reach your goals.
An intervention can be small and exclusive to close family members or can be expanded to include friends, religious leaders, spiritual leaders, therapist or counselors. The intervention process will include:
While it may seem cruel to sit your loved one down and tell them how much they have hurt and affected you, you must remember, an addict may be oblivious to the effect they have had on others. It is also incredibly important to the process to tell your loved one what support such as communication, money, housing, transportation- you are willing to take away.
Often, the family members of addicted individuals continue to support their loved one through the addiction because they fear the consequences of retracting that help. For this reason, you need to be clear with your loved one that you will not continue to provide them support if they are unwilling to get help. Becoming aware of, and stopping, enabling behaviors can be incredibly beneficial to helping the addict recover.
How Effective are Interventions?
It can be hard for family members who have been suffering to see how an intervention can help turn things around. The truth is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Most interventions, when guided by a trained interventionist, are successful on the day of the intervention. Of course, this requires participants to stick to the plan, and not allow the addict to manipulate them into backing down. Remember, though, that getting your loved one into treatment is only the first step in a long and complex recovery process. It is a good idea to follow up with your interventionist once your loved one has entered substance abuse treatment to decide what steps need to be taken to ensure that the addict continues to follow through, and that you are able to support them while still maintaining healthy boundaries. If you are willing to follow the advice of your interventionist and follow through with the process, you will find yourself on the path to success- for your addicted love one, and your family.
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