Family interventions in substance abuse


When you find out that someone you deeply care about is using drugs or drinking alcohol excessively it can be a scary situation. These substances will not only change their typical behavior but can also cause serious long term damage to their bodies. Not only is it hard drugs that can be an issue; prescribed drugs can cause damage as they are very addictive. It is something that no family wants to have to deal with and can be a daunting task if it is the first time it has happened. Having to step in and take away a substance which is starting to play a larger and larger role in their life can be a very hard thing to do. Sometimes it is tough to know if you should be stepping in as you do not want to make their situation worse, however it’s a catch 22 as doing nothing is clearly not the best option when it comes to substance addiction. These addictions rarely stop on their own so having someone push the user in the right direction is always a necessary step in their recovery. If a family member is scared to inhibit them then they can become an enabler to their habit, some reasons for this may be they do not want to deal with the stresses of the users withdrawal, maybe they have tried before and the user lashes out at them for trying to make them stop, or maybe they are just too scared to say anything. Whatever the reason may be co-dependency in these situations is never good, this is why having a professional interventionist involved can help the process move along much smoother, they can be found at some drug and alcohol treatment centers and have proved to make thing a lot easier for the family and the user.

How to Detect a Substance Abuse Problem

An individual struggling with a substance abuse problem might have some telltale signs that a dangerous addiction is present in their life. Make sure to be on the lookout for some of these signs if you believe they are having some issues with drugs and alcohol, not becoming an enabler to their habit is your main role in their recovery process. To clarify, enabling doesn’t mean that you help them acquire the drugs and fuel the addiction, it also means that you don’t do anything and allow it to continue,  both of these are as bad as each other, as the longer the addiction continues the harder it is for the addict to stop. The first step in any recovery process is actually admitting that the addiction exists; to yourself if you are a family member, but more important having the user grasps this. Some key signs to look out may include:

  • The addict taking larger doses of their prescribed drug than necessary
  • They are building up a tolerance to theses larger doses each time
  • They are searching through medical stashes within their or other people’s homes.
  • Their physical appearance is becoming dramatically different than it was before i.e. weight loss
  • Extreme changes in body language and frequent mood swings
  • Irregular sleeping habits – much more or less on a day to day basis
  • Acting more secretive with their activities and exchanges with others and avoiding inquiries about where they are spending their money.

If you suspect someone you care for is using due to having some of these signs then don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Take the initiative to have an intervention and stand up to them about their problem. If you are afraid to do so on your own then get in contact with a professional drug and alcohol intervention center, this can make the process to full recovery much smoother as they help everyone in the family come to terms with the addiction and what needs to be done. Don’t waste any time, substance abuse is a fatal addiction and is affecting too many lives. Get the addict the recovery help they need.

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