Professional drug and alcohol interventions work, and there are certified intervention groups across the country performing these interventions. Whether if it is alcohol, street drugs, or prescription drugs, an intervention helps the family regain control and save the life of their loved one. Before talking about, planning, and organizing an intervention, the family would have battled many issues with their loved one and their addiction. Harmful substances have a devastating effect, and the person abusing drugs does not consider how their addiction affects the people around them.
The effects of drugs and alcohol are both short-term and long-term—the family dynamic is ripped apart over the long-term. Homes and the families within them are divided by the strain caused by drug and alcohol abuse. Conflict and argument become normal because family members are always fighting with their loved one who is abusing alcohol, for example. As the family dynamic begins to fail, the trust erodes, and everyone within the home becomes more guarded, argumentative, secretive, and even may begin to hide their problems. Overall, the side effects of drug addiction are felt on both sides and become progressively worse.
Early Intervention, Preventing Drug and Alcohol Use Within the Family
Talking with a loved one about substance abuse is not easy, but early intervention does prevent addiction from spiraling out of control. For example, in the state of Idaho, since 1999, substance abuse issues have tripled in size as far as deaths among Idahoans. During the pandemic, addiction has become a big problem because of the isolation. According to local health authorities, the problems with substance abuse are preventable—it begins with good information and the distribution of knowledge about risks. Substance abuse treatment is also essential; alcohol addiction, for example, would need an alcohol inpatient program in Idaho, or if the addiction involves street drugs or prescription drugs, treatment is still needed.
Early intervention is the first step, followed by accessing treatment, and ensuring health insurance covers the cost if the family is unable to afford it. TRICARE health insurance, for example, covers the cost of certain types of treatment. Active duty military personal and retired veterans would be able to use their TRICARE insurance in Idaho to pay for alcohol inpatient treatment. Many other insurance providers operate in the state to help families access the rehabilitation they need. Everything begins with drug and alcohol intervention and preventing the addiction from taking over and destroying every aspect of the family.
Addiction and the Effect on Young Children
Between 2009 to 2014, the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health showed about one in eight children or 8.7 million kids aged 17 and younger lived in households with at least one parent who had a past year substance use disorder. When children witness the trauma of a parent struggling with addiction, it has long-term effects on the child. Children are also three times more likely to be neglected physically and even sexually abused. Seeing a parent every day battling addiction creates distressing emotions that delay learning development. The child grows up in a household where arguments are normal, along with witnessing family members fight constantly. Even teen drug abuse affects the family, and many teens may begin to experiment with drugs or alcohol because they saw their parents using these substances. The drug and alcohol intervention process does help begin the healing, especially with children—it is also essential for teens abusing drugs.
How do Family Members of Addicts Cope?
The first step is learning as much as possible about addiction, and education helps family members stop blaming and pointing the finger, while also giving them solutions. There are countless online resources, and when a professional drug and alcohol interventionist is hired, they also help educate the family. Family members should also connect with understanding peers. Substance abuse and addiction become a stressful point within the family dynamic. Family support groups are effective and even attending 12-step meetings for family members. The purpose is to regain control and begin to explore the solutions of finding help for the drug-addicted person.
While the individual is attending treatment, the family should also take time to work on themselves, whether this is family therapy or individual therapy. Any family therapy program is designed to break down the distrust and guilt, and it helps family members understand themselves and each other. Overall, the family should always manage expectations, which means knowing things will get better, but it will take time and work. Many of the problems with substance abuse are deep-rooted and need extensive therapy and counseling. Drug and alcohol addiction affect the family in different ways, but with education, prevention, and intervention, any family can regain control and save the life of their loved one.