Why an Intervention’s Success Relies on Cooperative Family Behavior

Having a family member or a friend who struggles with a certain form of addiction or compulsive disorder is never easy. You may want to help out, but you’re not so sure if what you say or do is actually helping. This is an important thought to consider, because a huge chunk of the success of any drug addiction intervention involves the cooperation and proper behavior of the family.

Family and Addiction

With addiction continuing to affect individuals and communities alike, everyone should be involved in spreading out the dangers of substance abuse. In addition, each member of the family should be involved in wanting to change the life of their loved ones who may have become substance-dependent.

To deny that there is something wrong will not help the individual – in fact, it may give the person the opportunity to drown even more in drug addiction. Aside from this, failing to know the right intervention and care for a person going through addiction may cause you to become an enabler.

What is an enabler?

This term refers to a person whose words or actions are helping someone to maintain or continue with their bad behavior (in this case, addiction). Most parents may be in denial at first when they find out that their child has become dependent on drugs. Not knowing what the right thing to do, they may choose to ignore the situation and hope that their child will eventually stop, thinking that it’s just part of growing up.

The reality is that teenagers become more curious as they grow older. They want to explore the world and know how it feels like to be like an adult at such a tender age. Unfortunately, this may lead them to go astray, particularly when these teenagers hang out with the wrong kind of people.

Enabling substance abuse can be highly dangerous. At the first sign of substance abuse, parents or family members should immediately seek intervention. If you feel that you don’t know how to encourage the individual with substance abuse to open up to you, refer the case to a professional who is knowledgeable in addiction treatment.

Enabling promotes a permissive behavior, and so it never helps the individual with a substance abuse problem or compulsive disorder. If you are an enabler, you may not be helping your friend or family member acquire the desire to undergo treatment.

Types of Addictions that Need Intervention

The only way that an individual with substance abuse can be freed from such behavior is to address the immediate cause. Here are the types of addiction where intervention may be necessary and urgent:

  • Alcoholism
  • Compulsive eating
  • Compulsive gambling
  • Prescription drug abuse
  • Street drug abuse

Causes of Addiction and Compulsive Disorder

Both addiction and compulsive disorders are treatable diseases. That is why there is a need to pursue early intervention to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.  Most individuals who have succumbed to such condition did not fall into the addiction without any cause.

People have various reasons why they turn to substance abuse or develop such compulsive behaviors, some of which include the following:

  • Victim of unhealthy relationships: Abused individuals who could not find a way out of the relationship may rely on the intoxicating effects of drugs and alcohol.
  • A solution for negative thoughts and feelings: Individuals who feel depressed or experience mental health issues may turn to substance abuse since it is their only means of self-satisfaction. With these codependent behaviors, there is a need to ensure that the individual is placed in a program that can individually treat substance abuse and mental health disorders.
  • Peer pressure and acceptance: Individuals may feel that they have the power to become who they are not, so that they can be accepted by others.
  • Out of curiosity: Taking drugs for the first time just to try them may lead to an addiction.
  • Being surrounded by the wrong people: Being in the company of people who engage in drug abuse may influence a person’s decision to use illicit substances.
  • Toxic family members: Whether it’s enabling by a family member or poor communication with parents and siblings, a dysfunctional family dynamic may lead a person to drug addiction.

The Importance of Having a Trained Professional Interventionist

Although the involvement of family and other loved ones cannot be discounted, there may be a need to seek a professional’s help to do the intervention.

First and foremost, the intervention may be with the intention of straightening out the individual who may have a substance abuse problem. However, it should also be noted that the family should also be included in the intervention process.

In a healthy home environment, all members of the family listen to what the individual dealing with substance abuse has to say. At the same time, they all need to be aware of how they have contributed to the individual’s substance abuse or compulsive behavior.

The trained professional interventionist is likely to handle the situation better since he/she is a person who is not part of the family, and so the discussions will be kept objective. The expert interventionist has the skills to grab a better understanding of what went wrong with the family that caused the individual to succumb to addiction.

By tapping a trained interventionist, it is highly unlikely to involve bias in the decisions. It would be easier to point out what caused the problem and how it can be remedied.

No matter what kind of addiction the individual may be involved in, there is a reason for an immediate intervention because there is also a need to treat any mental health condition that may have risen from the addiction.

The Family’s Role In Addiction Recovery

The success of intervention for drug rehabilitation becomes greater when the whole family becomes cooperative. Although there may be a bit of denial at first, each family member should eventually accept that this has happened to their family. What’s more important is that they can all together do their best to help their loved one regain normal functioning.

No member of the family should feel weak or discouraged as the treatment progresses. Despite the pain of seeing your loved one go through withdrawal symptoms, reintroducing the substances back into your family’s life won’t help the recovering individual at all. More than taking the individual out of the habit, the family should be present to pour out love and support for the individual during the entire recovery process.


Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash