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April 29th, 2013

Drug Abuse – Parent Guide – Intervention options


Individual and Family Counseling.

Usually once a week; these sessions are good for dealing with the family issues & personal problems that accompany drug abuse, but not very helpful in gaining sobriety skills. Select a therapist with strong substance abuse expertise or you will probably deal with the wrong issues.

Group Therapy.

Usually weekly sessions (60-90 minutes) are good for drug education, gaining skills to be sober, and dealing with emotional issues related to drug abuse and addiction.

A.A., N.A., C.A. (Twelve Step Meetings).

Often believed to be the single best way to get and stay sober. New members should attend multiple meetings per week and need to obtain a sponsor.

Drug Testing.

Recommended to determine types and amounts of drugs used, to give the user an additional excuse not to use, and to allow parents and therapists to know if intervention is working. Drug testing should not be used as an intervention without psychotherapeutic support.

Intensive Outpatient Programs.

One to four hours of outpatient group therapy and drug education per day up to five times per week. Programs are often comprehensive & effective . . . if you manage to get your kid to participate.

Wilderness-Oriented Treatment.

These are intensive live-in programs in remote locations that combine confidence-building elements of outward-bound experiences with education, counseling, and group therapy. Follow-up with a therapeutic program at home is necessary. If drugs or alcohol is a serious problem, try to find a program with a strong 12-step orientation.

Boarding Schools/ Residential Programs.

Many traditional boarding schools are filled with substance abusing kids who receive little or no help with the problem and often get worse. Residential treatment programs and specialty boarding schools often have excellent success, but as a parent be certain to talk with several graduates of the program about the quality of the program. Keep in mind that the primary job of each program’s admissions counselors is “marketing.”

Psychiatric Hospitals.

Good for stabilization, especially if the addiction is severe or the client is also severely depressed or suicidal. Short-term inpatient programs should be combined with an intensive outpatient program to enhance their effectiveness. If you admit your kid, ensure that the psychiatrist has a strong track record with addictions – as many do not.

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