Children whose parents abuse alcohol or drugs often grow up in a tumultuous environment.  They may experience depression and anxiety that will persist beyond childhood.  Due to embarrassment and shame, they may attempt to keep details about their home life a secret.  Child psychology experts have found that the children of addicts often grow up with trust and intimacy issues. Since they are unable to rely on their earliest caregivers, forming close relationships may be an ongoing problem.

Unless an addicted parent receives treatment, the chances are good that his or her children will later repeat the pattern of addiction.  Since many substance abusers live in denial about the damage they are doing to their children, it is often up to relatives or friends to step in.  Contacting an addiction interventionist and setting up a family intervention is the first step towards healing the damage that has been done.  Intervention is the most successful method for convincing a parent that they need to seek treatment for the sake of their children.

Before the intervention takes place, a group of friends, family members and co-workers who care deeply for the substance abuser will meet with a professional interventionist.  They will discuss how they have been affected by the abuser’s behavior and learn more about the options for treatment.  The interventionist will help the group agree on a course of action which usually involves a residential rehab program.  On a prearranged date, the group will join the interventionist and confront the abuser.  The emotional damage caused by the substance abuse problem will be discussed, including how it has affected the children (who may or may not be present).

The culmination of a family intervention is presentation of the treatment plan.   The substance abuser is asked to take responsibility for his or her actions and accept help.  The consequences of refusing help, which may include divorce or separation from the family, are laid out.  If the abuser agrees to cooperate, the treatment plan should be put into place immediately.  As part of the healing process, children should receive counseling to ensure that they understand the changes that will be taking place in the family.

A family intervention is a delicate situation that can be stressful for all who are involved.  It should not be undertaken without supervision by a professional interventionist who will take the needs of each family member into account.  A qualified interventionist will ensure that family members, especially children, are educated about their role in the long-term recovery of their loved one.