What is Drug Addiction and How Does Family Intervention Help? 

Family and addict
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Drug addiction is a strong compulsive action or drug-seeking behavior to use drugs or alcohol despite the undesirable effects and dangerous consequences that are likely to occur. Addiction affects every body function and drastically changes how a person behaves and operates physically and mentally. Various substances like alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medications, and even over the counter drugs may fuel the development of an addiction.

The process of family intervention is to help the family take control and no longer sit idly by while their loved one destroys their life. An intervention is a structured conversation between the drug-addicted individuals and their loved ones with a professional interventionist’s help. There is never a bad time to organize and perform a family intervention. Unfortunately, there are misconceptions that an addict must reach rock bottom or reach out for help. These falsities prevent countless families from intervening when they need to.

Noticing the Signs of Addiction and Intervening Immediately

Substance abuse creates physical and behavioral signs of addiction. Behavioral signs are the external relation the person has with their surroundings and the people around them. Physical signs relate to the body’s manifestation of side effects due to the presence of drugs and alcohol in their body. Behavioral indicators involve placing priority on using drugs or alcohol over other things in life. Someone struggling with addiction disregards the harm caused by their addiction.

Father and Daughter talking outside
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Additionally, there is a loss of control, even in the face of wanting to stop or reduce their drug or alcohol use; when confronted about the addiction, the drug-addicted person may deny or downplay their drug use to avoid explaining themselves to others. The physical signs of addiction manifest as side effects of use. Some physical signs include enlarged or small pupils, sudden weight loss or gain, bloodshot eyes, insomnia, and looking unkempt.

Drug and alcohol intervention is an important event, and it should happen immediately. The best way to organize a family intervention is by hiring a professional interventionist. Because intervention is a carefully planned process, there are significant benefits from hiring a professional. Family members have the opportunity to understand their role and how they can help the addict. An interventionist is the third-party mediator and keeps the intervention from spiraling out of control. More importantly, they continue to counsel the family and support the addict through treatment.

Why Do People Use Drugs?

People take drugs for many reasons, such as to feel good or feel better, or because of curiosity and social pressure. Drugs and alcohol produce intense feelings of pleasure, and other effects follow the initial euphoria. Different drugs create different effects; for example, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, cocaine is a central nervous stimulant. Many people struggle with emotional or behavioral problems and use drugs or alcohol to feel better.

Additionally, some people feel pressure to improve their focus in school or at work or their abilities in sports. Adolescents and even adults can feel peer pressure and curiosity to use drugs or alcohol. Social pressure is a common reason why someone would use drugs or alcohol for the first time. The first time someone uses drugs or alcohol, they may perceive the effects to be positive. However, these substances quickly take over a person's life, and over time if the drug use continues, it becomes the sole pursuit in life.

The Scope of the Global Addiction Problem

According to the World Health Organization World Drug Report 2019, in 2017, an estimated 271 million people, or 5.5% of the global population aged 15 to 64, had used drugs. Approximately 35 million people are estimated to be suffering from addiction.

Around 53 million people worldwide had used opioids, which was 56% higher than previously estimated. Approximately 29 million people had used opiates like heroin and opium, and these estimates are 50% higher than previously estimated.

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, as cited by the World Health Organization, there were 585,000 deaths and 42 million years of healthy life lost as a result of drug and alcohol use. Unfortunately, for people struggling with addiction, the availability of and access to treatment remains limited globally. It is estimated that one in seven people with addiction receives treatment each year. However, family intervention works, and there are effective treatment options a professional interventionist can help a family locate.

About Newman Intervention Services

In 2016, the author founded Newman Intervention Services to help families in crisis manage their addicted loved ones’ arrivals to drug rehabilitation. He currently travels all over the United States and internationally to end the conflict, trauma, and loss that accompanies addiction to drugs or alcohol. Before founding Newman Intervention Services, Newman spent 15 years working in addiction recovery and prevention, educating more than 135,000 people on the life-threatening danger of drug or alcohol use.




Bobby Newman, CIP, ICPS, ICDAC

Robert “Bobby“ Newman is an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Certified Prevention Specialist, and Certified Intervention Professional who has helped thousands of people into and through rehabilitation. After going from a strong, moral upbringing in Southern Oklahoma to a drug-related downfall that had him facing federal prison, he understands what those who are addicted feel and think. That’s what enables him to cut through the resistance and manipulative tactics of addiction and help the individual choose life and recovery.