Your son or daughter has been spiking her coffee for months, and you notice that she is acting differently. Nightcaps turn into empty bottles of Vodka the following morning; she is missing out on class because she overslept, and she got into a fight in school and shrugged it off because she just lost her temper. Around you, her breath smells of alcohol, but she is still sweet and nods when you air your concern about her health. If this scenario sounds familiar, your child is most likely suffering from alcoholism. However, like most parents, your heart softens when you see him/her suffering. Now is the time to get help because unless the addict begins to straighten up, he/she will destroy their entire life. This is the time to call an interventionist.
An interventionist is a professional counselor or psychiatrist in the field of mental health therapies. He/she is trained to handle individuals who are addicted to substances and not just to alcohol. Most of the time, an interventionist is called when the addiction concerns illegal drugs like crystal meth, and the family is no longer able to control the addicted loved one. Of course, the addiction does not have to be that severe before a professional can intervene.
An interventionist is trained to assess the level of addiction and to act on it accordingly. If your son/daughter is only mildly addicted, the interventionist can visit your home to casually talk to him or her. Later on, the interventionist can tell you if detox or an inpatient rehab program is necessary.
The important thing is to call an unbiased professional who can gauge the situation for you. Generally, families need to call an Interventionist because they are too emotionally invested in the situation and do not really see the full problem. Parents can be in as much denial as the addicted son or daughter. Denial does not help to get rid of the addiction because this type of thinking underrates the seriousness of the situation.
For an alcoholic, a bottle of wine might just mean fun. They drink to relax and finish an entire bottle on their own in less than two hours. Without intervention, this dangerous drinking problem will be overlooked, even by parents who see their child engage in this behavior every day. Do not wait for the addict or alcohol to drive under the influence of alcohol and get into legal trouble before calling for intervention. By then, it may already be too late, and serious damage could have been done.
If you try to talk to your child about the repercussions of drinking and your concern does not affect their habits, a professional intervention will be needed to make a difference. If they do not listen to your advice, a stronger factor may be getting in the way. Your child could be dealing with serious peer pressure, s/he could be depressed, or the alcohol or substance abuse has been prolonged for so long that it has started to create behavioral changes.
If your words don’t have much of an effect anymore, don’t shrug it off as stubbornness. You may be looking at severe substance addiction, and this type of problem can haunt your child for their entire life. Ask for help while it is not yet too late.