Adolescence is a time when teens tend to test their boundaries and experiment with drugs and alcohol. This experimentation period also coincides with a moment in your teen’s life when they may also be dealing with new mental health challenges. Once you notice the signs of addiction in your teen, hosting an intervention is an effective way to get them into a treatment program.
Interventions for teenagers require a delicate approach. If you go too hard on them, they may shut down entirely and refuse to listen further. If you go too easy, they may still refuse to get treatment. You might also find it hard to bring up their substance abuse when it hits so close to home. Working with a substance abuse interventionist can help you work through the following steps of planning an addiction intervention for your adolescent.
About Addiction and the Recovery Process
One of the first steps of learning how to stage an intervention is to familiarize yourself with how and why addiction happens. As you do your research, focus specifically on how addiction affects the adolescent brain. Certain parts of your teen’s brain are still developing at this age, which makes treatment now even more critical than ever.
Put Together an Intervention Team
Part of what makes a family intervention so effective is that your teen will see everyone they love gathered out of concern on their behalf. Identify a few key members of your teen’s family and social group you can trust to make an impression. This could be siblings, aunts and uncles, or even childhood friends who are not currently using drugs and alcohol. Including a substance abuse interventionist in your group can give you added support from someone who has encouraged teens to seek help with addiction.
Create Impact Statements
This step is one that many families have the most questions about when exploring how to have an intervention. You might be worried about what to say, and the best answer is to share from your heart. While you don’t want to veer into too much negativity, it’s okay for each person to share how the changes in your teen’s behavior hurt them. For example, a childhood friend might share that they miss hanging out and enjoying their old hobbies together. Being open and honest is essential for getting through to your teen during a family intervention.
Figuring out how to stage an intervention also includes deciding what happens if your teen continues to misuse drugs or alcohol. An interventionist can help you develop appropriate boundaries, but this typically involves making it harder for the teen to engage in their behaviors while still demonstrating love. For example, you might need to cut off your teen’s allowance so that they can no longer have money for drugs. An old friend might need to stop calling or visiting until your teen gets sober. As you talk about boundaries, make sure it is clear that things can return to normal after your teen gets treatment.
Rehearse What Everyone Will Say
Once you’ve put together the immediate plan for how to have an intervention, you are ready to put it into action. Planning a rehearsal gives everyone a chance to fine-tune what they want to say. Each person will also be more confident and better able to stay calm if your teen has an emotional outburst.
Be Ready to Follow Up
An addiction intervention can go one of two ways. Some teens may refuse help at first, which is when you begin reinforcing your boundaries. If your teen decides they want to seek help, then be prepared with a suggestion for a treatment program that offers effective adolescent care. This way, you can talk them through each step and provide them with choices such as going directly to the program right away to avoid time to change their minds.
Music City Interventions believes in offering a compassionate and confidential approach to providing addiction intervention services to people who are affected by substance abuse and their families in the Nashville area as well as the rest of the U.S. Our ultimate goal is to provide our clients with discreet and effective caring confrontation and intervention services that get to the heart of treating addiction.