Although family members may be aware that a loved one is engaged in destructive behavior, they are often met with resistance when they offer to help. When their loved one refuses to admit that a problem exists, the only solution may be a family intervention. An intervention is appropriate for these behaviors:
- Alcohol abuse or addiction
- Illegal drug abuse or addiction
- Prescription drug abuse or addiction
For several decades, family interventions have been recognized as one of the most powerful tools for confronting and treating destructive behaviors. The intervention involves a group of family members and friends who are coached by a professional interventionist. This group meets with the individual in order discuss the problem behavior. The individual is presented with a treatment plan. The goal of the family intervention is to get the individual to agree to treatment, which usually will begin immediately. The preferred form of treatment is residential rehabilitation, where medical detoxification and addiction therapy can take place in a controlled environment.
The tone of a family intervention should be as positive and loving as possible. A trained interventionist will help ensure that this is the case. During the intervention, each family member or friend should be given the opportunity to address the individual who is the focus of the intervention. They will usually give specific examples of how they have been hurt by the individual’s behavior. The purpose is not to create conflict or pass judgment, but to get the individual to admit that his or her behavior is a problem that must be addressed.
The family intervention process is not easy. It can be painful for all participants. Family members who have sought the intervention will often experience doubt about whether they are doing the right thing, especially when their loved one is in deep denial. A professional interventionist will help assure those involved that their feelings are valid and will help convince the addicted individual that entering a treatment program can be the beginning of a new way of life.