There are few things more heartbreaking than watching the potential of a young adult be whipped away and shattered by drug abuse or early alcoholism.
It can crush you as a parent, making you wonder where you went wrong or what you could’ve done differently to avoid this fate. As a friend, you can’t figure out where your paths diverged so dramatically.
It’s a tough reality to live in and whether you’re a family member or friend, there’s a sense of utter hopelessness that permeates the whole thing.
Just by being here and reading this though, you’ve clearly not given up on the pursuit of bringing them back from the brink. To that end, an intervention for young adults is very much something you should be considering if all else has failed up to this point.
Perhaps you’re not sure if this is a “phase” they’ll grow out of or if they’re well and truly addicted.
Signs a Young Adult Is Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol
Knowing what addiction looks like is the only way to stand a chance at getting your loved one the care they need for it.
Here are some big things to keep an eye out for:
- Change in their friend group, either suddenly or gradually, to people you don’t know or are of questionable character
- Relationships with family and friends become strained
- Becoming increasingly secretive and lying about what they’re doing and with whom
- Preferring to be left alone
- School, work and homelife are suffering i.e., skipping school or a decline in performance, being reprimanded at work, skipping family dinners
- Overtaken by a lack of motivation and general apathy
- Communication becomes sparse
- Losing interest in activities they typically found joy in
- Disregarding curfew if they have one
- Getting in legal trouble, like stealing to fund drug or alcohol purchases
- Eating habits shift dramatically, accompanied by weight gain or loss
- Significant changes to sleep patterns, either sleeping too much or insomnia
- Mood swings, irritability, and emotionally unstable
- Increasingly poor hygiene, not showering or changing clothes for example
- Slurred speech and drowsiness
- Bloodshot eyes dilated or pinpoint pupils depending on the drug of choice
- Needle marks if they’re injecting drugs or suspiciously wearing long sleeves even when it’s hot
- Picking at skin
- Finding drug paraphernalia
It’s a lot and not everyone will experience all of these but signs but the longer addiction to alcohol or drugs is left to linger, the worse it will get and the more of these will crop up.
If you’re noticing more and more of the signs, it may be time to consider an intervention.
How to Stage an Intervention for Young Adults
Critically, you should not stage one on your own.
Interventions are delicate and highly charged situations that can easily get out of hand if not guided by a trained and professional interventionist.
They require detailed planning and attention to detail that’s unwavering.
First, they’ll meet with you to discuss the goals of the intervention, i.e., go to rehab, and build the intervention around that.
Then they’ll help you assemble a group of family and friends who will participate in order to create the maximum effect.
At this point, an interventionist will also help you research treatment centers that align with the needs of your loved one and make sure everything is lined up so they can go straight to treatment if that’s the goal.
From there it’s about preparing what you’ll say in terms of how substances have taken a toll, expressing the emotional effects, problems they’ve caused, the strain on relationships, etc.
Among the toughest parts, aside from holding the intervention itself, is defining specific consequences for if they refuse help – this is a core part of the process and they need to be enforceable despite how hard it may be.
The whole point of the intervention is to show them how their drug or alcohol use is decimating not only their life but also the lives of the people around them. To jolt them into change by seeing the devastating all at once.
If you’re worried about a young adult in your life and think an intervention is right for them, get in touch with us at Footprints of Serenity, and let’s talk about it.