Planning A Drug Or Alcohol Intervention For An Adult Child

Planning a drug or alcohol intervention for an adult child is a sensitive process that requires education and preparation. Seeking professional guidance can help increase the chances of a successful outcome.

Planning a drug or alcohol intervention for an adult child can be a delicate process that requires both consideration and preparation.

Seeking professional guidance and preemptively establishing a treatment plan can help smooth the process and increase your chance of helping your loved one.

Gather Information To Determine The Severity Of Their Substance Use

Before staging an intervention, your first step should be to determine the severity of your child’s substance use.

There are several different methods you can use to achieve this, depending on your comfort level and the circumstances surrounding their addiction.

Direct Communication

Initiate an open conversation with your loved one. Ask them about their alcohol or drug use, the types of substances involved, and any perceived impact on their life.

Encourage honesty and assure them that your goal is to understand and support, not to criticize.

Observational Information

Look for physical and behavioral changes in your adult child such as differences in appearance, signs of illness, or withdrawal from social activities.

Similarly, assess how substance use is impacting your child’s daily functioning. This includes their ability to fulfill responsibilities at work, maintain relationships, and engage in daily activities.

Finally, look for signs of dependence or addiction, such as increased tolerance for drugs or alcohol, withdrawal symptoms, or new health problems.

If you notice significant disruptions in these areas, it may indicate a more severe addiction.

Consult Others

Sometimes, your adult child doesn’t live close to home, or you don’t see them often. If this is the case, speak with friends, family members, or colleagues who may have observed your child’s behavior.

Ask if they can provide additional insights into changes they may have noticed, or if they share your concerns.

Medical And Mental Health History

When gathering information, it’s a good idea to review your adult child’s medical and mental health history.

Substance use can often be intertwined with physical and mental health issues. Gather information about any pre-existing conditions, medications, or mental health diagnoses.

Consider Professional Assessments

If you are unsure about the severity of your child’s condition or you need assistance planning an intervention, consider consulting with an addiction specialist.

Professionals use standardized assessments and clinical interviews to evaluate the severity of substance use, and they’ll use these findings to recommend appropriate interventions.

Research The Dos And Don’ts Of Interventions

Conducting an intervention for an adult child takes planning. By understanding the dos and don’ts of interventions, you can better prepare yourself.

When planning an intervention, you do want to:

  • educate yourself about your adult child’s specific addiction
  • seek professional guidance
  • assemble a supportive team of friends and family
  • choose the right time and place for the intervention
  • choose a treatment center and a treatment program
  • establish boundaries with your loved one
  • stay calm and unified during the intervention
  • encourage immediate action
  • follow through on your ultimatums or promises
  • provide ongoing support

When planning an intervention, you do not want to:

  • surprise your adult child
  • blame or accuse them of wrongdoing
  • offer empty threats
  • expect immediate agreement
  • neglect self-care
  • expect perfection

Professional guidance can be helpful, and involving a qualified interventionist can prepare you for all the possible outcomes.

Assemble Your Intervention Team

Assembling a well-prepared intervention team is an important step in the process.

Involve close family members and friends who have a supportive relationship with your adult child. Choose people who are non-confrontational and genuinely concerned for their welfare.

If your child has a connection to a spiritual or religious community, consider involving a leader or advisor from that community. Spiritual support can be an important aspect for some people.

If possible, include healthcare providers that specialize in alcohol addiction or substance use disorder, such as the individual’s primary care physician, therapist, or addiction counselor.

Professionals can offer insights into your child’s health, potential underlying issues, and appropriate types of treatment, as well as referrals to accredited treatment facilities.

Preparing Your Intervention Team

Preparing your intervention team ahead of time can help ensure a well-coordinated approach.

Substance Abuse Education

Start by giving your chosen team members information about your adult child’s addiction, its impact on their lives, and the expected recovery process.

Understanding the nature of substance abuse can help your team approach the intervention with empathy and knowledge.

Assign Roles And Responsibilities

Clearly define roles and responsibilities for each team member. Assign specific tasks, such as delivering messages, presenting treatment options, or managing logistics.

Designated roles can help ensure a structured and organized intervention.

Discussing Communication Strategies

Effective communication among team members strengthens the overall intervention process.

Encourage open communication within the team. It’s important to make sure each team member feels comfortable sharing their concerns, insights, and emotions.

Forming A United Message

Work together to develop a unified message. Your team’s messages should convey love, concern, and the desire to see your child seek help.

You can also discuss the treatment process and therapy sessions you plan to present.

Avoid blaming language and focus on expressing the impact of the substance abuse on the individual and those around them.

Establishing Boundaries And Consequences

Clarify the boundaries that will be implemented during the intervention if your child does not accept help.

Similarly, you can discuss the consequences of continued substance abuse, and ensure that the team is prepared to follow through with these consequences, if necessary.

Prepare for Potential Outcomes

Before staging an intervention, you should prepare for the potential reactions you might face from your child.

Discuss how the team will respond if your child agrees to treatment, resists the intervention, or reacts emotionally.

Interventions can be challenging, but preparing for different scenarios can help your team stay focused and adaptable.

Rehearse The Intervention As A Group

Conducting a group rehearsal for the intervention can help your team feel ready and improve their effectiveness.

Practice the delivery of messages, emphasizing consistency so that everyone knows what to expect. Address potential challenges, such as emotional reactions or resistance, and strategize responses.

Similarly, you can discuss treatment options with your team and coordinate logistical details. Encourage feedback among team members, reiterating the importance of empathy.

Practice handling emotions and reaffirm the commitment of each team member to the intervention process.

Consider seeking professional guidance if needed.

Through a group rehearsal, your team can enhance its communication, build confidence, and approach the intervention with a unified front.

Select A Suitable Location And Time

Selecting a suitable location and time for your intervention is important not only for its effectiveness, but also for the comfort of all those involved.

Choose a private and quiet setting where your adult child will feel secure, and where discussions can take place without interruptions.

Consider your child’s daily schedule, picking a time when they are likely to be sober and receptive. Avoid times of heightened stress or distraction.

The setting should promote a calm atmosphere, allowing everyone to focus on the intervention’s purpose. Ensure that the location is neutral and free from potential triggers.

By carefully selecting the right time and place, you create an environment where your adult child is most likely to feel safe and open to receiving support.

Learn About Getting Addiction Treatment At Spring Hill

If you have an adult child who is experiencing substance abuse and you need help planning an intervention, our addiction specialists can help. Contact us today.

  1. Cleveland Clinic
  2. Mayo Clinic
  3. Mayo Clinic
  4. National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI)
  5. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

Published on: January 23, 2024

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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