When a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or mental health problems, it can be challenging to see the big picture and know the best way to help them. If you haven’t confronted them yet, you may be waiting and unsure how to approach them, not wanting to make things worse. If you have tried to approach your loved one, they may not have understood how serious your concern is for them.
An intervention can motivate someone dealing with substance use disorder (SUD) or another form of behavioral addiction to seek help. While an individual who is struggling may be in denial about their addiction, family and friends can provide an outside perspective on the impact of their loved one’s addiction and help them acknowledge their situation.
Bringing attention to an individual’s addiction or behavioral patterns is often the first step toward recovery. To determine if a loved one is right for an intervention, you can consider the following factors.
Which Addictions May Call for an Intervention?
Many people struggling with addiction are in denial about their situation and hesitant to seek help. The following addictions can be treated and may require professional guidance and intervention:
- Compulsive gambling
- Compulsive shopping
- Compulsive eating
- Compulsive internet use
- Sex addiction
What Warning Signs Indicate Substance Abuse?
According to the Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, the following are common addiction warning signs. These may not apply to all SUDs, but they can give you a baseline for determining the seriousness of your loved one’s addiction.
Common signs include:
- Ignoring obligations at work, school, or home
- Taking risks when high or impaired, such as operating a vehicle or engaging in unprotected sex
- Having legal issues, such as being detained for disorderly conduct or DUI
Physical signs include:
- Drastic alterations in appetite, sleeping habits, and appearance
- Eyes with a bloodshot appearance and unusually big or tiny pupils
- Unusual odors on breath, body, or clothing, as well as coordination issues
Behavioral signs include:
- Practicing secretive or suspicious behaviors
- Friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies suddenly alter
Psychological signs include:
- Unexplained mood swings or attitude
- Impatience, disorientation, or explosive anger
- Appears to be frightened, nervous, or paranoid without cause
How to Determine Whether a Professional Intervention Is Needed
Addiction is a brain disease that requires special attention and treatment. If you notice a pattern of warning signs that indicate addiction, it may be time to contact a professional. When significant parts of someone’s life are negatively impacted, such as their education, job or career, relationships, or overall health, seeking help is vital and urgent.
Unfortunately, many people with SUD or behavioral addictions also experience mental health disorders and other conditions that may need treatment. Co-occurring disorders can include the following:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Personality disorders
If your loved one needs treatment for an addiction, the treatment center they choose must also be equipped to treat any co-occurring disorders they have. Managing co-occurring disorders is necessary for addiction recovery.
What Factors Contribute to Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders?
Many different factors contribute to substance abuse and mental health disorders. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Environmental factors, such as stress or trauma, can cause genetic changes that are passed down through generations and may contribute to the development of a mental disorder or a substance use disorder.”
While mental health disorders do not directly cause addiction, they can provoke substance use as a form of self-medication. People with mental health problems such as anxiety or depression may turn to substances like drugs or alcohol to temporarily escape the discomfort of their symptoms. They may also experience brain alterations that increase the rewarding effects of drugs, increasing the likelihood that they will use substances like drugs or alcohol or continue to use.
According to NIMH, substance abuse may result in structural and functional changes to the brain that increase the risk of developing a mental health disorder. The negative effects of addiction on different aspects of life may also exacerbate mental health disorders.
How Are Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders Diagnosed?
Since substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders go hand in hand, it is generally effective to treat them both together. Therefore, anyone seeking treatment for SUD or other mental health disorders must have each disorder evaluated by a healthcare professional.
To accurately diagnose an individual, the practitioner should use comprehensive assessment tools to reduce the chance of a missed diagnosis and provide targeted treatment.
How Can I Motivate My Loved One to Seek Professional Help?
When you notice a loved one struggling with addiction, it can be challenging to approach the situation. A direct, understanding conversation can be difficult to have, especially if you are very emotionally involved in the situation. Proper planning, combined with accurate knowledge of addiction and treatment, can sometimes help.
Before handling such a delicate situation, it is often necessary to research to understand your loved one’s addiction better. Sometimes, outside help is needed to help the family and friends understand how to approach the situation effectively. In these cases, it can be most effective to contact a professional interventionist for guidance.
A professional interventionist can provide you and your loved one with the right approach for your unique situation and can significantly improve your loved one’s recovery process. A simple phone consultation can motivate you and your loved one to seek the help you need.
An intervention is a carefully constructed clinical process designed to bring motivational change in a struggling individual’s awareness and behaviors. Some factors in determining whether your loved one is right for an intervention include a substance or behavioral addiction, mental health disorders, and passed down trauma. Substance use and mental health disorders commonly co-occur and require professional attention. To effectively handle a delicate situation such as addiction, it is important to have accurate knowledge regarding your loved one’s condition. Contacting a professional interventionist to help you navigate your unique situation may be a necessary step for your loved one’s recovery. With the guidance of a professional, you can motivate your loved one to accept the help they need for effective recovery. If you are still unsure if your loved one is right for an intervention, contact A New Hope Recovery Services at (407) 501-8490.