When organizing an intervention for teens, you will typically realize that these meetings are different for people who are legal adults. This is due to a couple of reasons. Although adolescents might be asked to check into an addiction treatment center, this should not be one of the ultimatums that you issue to them.
One of the main goals of such an intervention for teens – therefore – would be to get the adolescent to see the need for ongoing treatment and rehabilitation as well as find the will to change both from within themselves and through the help that will be offered to them at a rehab and by family and friends (in the form of ongoing support).
In many cases, you will find that trying to force a teenager to seek treatment will typically decrease the overall effectiveness and success that such treatment might otherwise have achieved.
Why Intervene for Teens
When you look through most public-school hallways, you will most likely come across one – or even several – posters that outline the various dangerous and toxic effects of alcohol and drug abuse.
In the same way, the mass media is replete with messages that are against these intoxicating and mind-altering substances. Further, many parents – unless they are also using these substances – also tend to talk to their children about the dangers of using drugs and drinking alcohol.
Since teenagers are generally bombarded by information against addiction and substance abuse from so many fronts, you might assume that they would never be tempted to opt to abuse drugs over a lifestyle of ongoing sobriety.
However, recent statistics paint a deeply different picture – one that further goes to prove that there is a great need for more people to engage in an intervention for teens to effectively deal with the problem.
A SAMHSA – or Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – study, for instance, found that only about 40 % of all teens think that drinking alcohol once or two times a week was dangerous while around 34.2 percent of them thought that smoking cannabis – or marijuana – was dangerous.
Intervening for Children and Teens
Since numbers are clearly showing that more and more adolescents have been experimenting with these intoxicating and mind-altering substances, it follows that the need for more people to host an intervention for teens is greater now than ever before. This is one of the reasons why so many more families have been engaging in ongoing interventions and meetings to ensure that their drug using teens seek the treatment that they need.
On the other hand, the NIH – or the National Institutes of Health – reports that the parts of the brain that are responsible for regulating impulse control as well as decision making may still be under development for most people below the age of 25.
As a direct result, it follows that teens might not logically be able to make decisions about substance abuse based on the consequences and adverse effects that they will suffer in the long term. In fact, since these consequences seem so far off that they might as well not even be existent in the first place, it is not altogether surprising that many of these underage children prefer the immediate rewards of abusing alcohol and drugs over any thoughts of illness and poor health – both behaviorally, mentally, and physically – in the future.
When teens abuse alcohol and drugs, they cause further damage to these parts of their brains. As such, it is highly unlikely that they will ever see any rewards arising from a lifestyle of sobriety.
The Role of the Family
But what role can the family play in helping with creating an intervention for teens? Many teenagers – both those who use drugs as well as those who do not – have a high tendency of avoiding, ignoring, and pushing their parents away.
Even so, all these teens are children who desperately need and want the help, support, and love that their parents should be able to provide. Irrespective of what they may say – especially during heated arguments and fights – therefore, you should always remember that they can and do listen to you. They can also follow the advice that you provide to them.
As such, parents have a major role to play in intervening when their teenage children have started abusing drugs and/or alcohol. In fact, a Substance Abuse and Misuse journal study reported that parental attitudes – especially towards the consumption of alcohol – were strongly linked to the changes that adolescents had with regards to alcohol use.
Parents who could make it clear to their teens that they thought drinking alcohol was wrong had a cumulatively higher influence of getting their teens to not drink at all.
Apart from the above, it is important that you organize an intervention for teens especially if your child – or children – has been drinking alcohol or taking other drugs. Failure to do this might cause them to start changing in negative ways, such as by:
- Becoming aggressive and violent with members of their family
- Engaging in illegal activities to find, obtain, buy, and use their preferred substances of abuse
- Skipping school
If your teen has just started getting involved with alcohol and drugs, then you might need a simpler form of the classic intervention for teens. This basically means that you should be able to get them to stop and give up the substances before it is too late, and they find that they need ongoing treatment at an excruciating cost to themselves and to you.
In such a case, therefore, the best format of intervention would be to have short – continuous, if possible – conversations with your teenager. Talk to them about the problem and help them find solutions for it before it is too later.
Overall, the importance of intervention for teens cannot be overemphasized. Although these interventions are like those hosted for adult addicts and substance users, you can be sure that – in the long run – they might prove more effective, especially given the vulnerability of teenagers and their susceptibility to ruin their lives, health, memory, and potential in search of fleeting and temporary intoxicating effects.