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Does Family Intervention Work with Teens?

Does Family Intervention Work with Teens?

Teen intervention

There are a few things that you as a parent should know before staging a family intervention with a teen. Discovering your child is using drugs is a moment every parent dreads. Numerous TV shows show real-life youth interventions working. These shows fill parents with hope knowing help is just an intervention away.

The truth is most of these shows are not an actual reflection of reality. Most of the times, the interventions are staged. Also, interventions are not straight as portrayed on TV. They edit out some parts which might give the audience an entirely different picture. Therefore, there are a few things you should think over before setting up an intervention for your teen before you cause additional problems.

  • Does Your Teen Really Have a Drug Problem?

Like most parents, there are chances you are jumping the gun by staging an intervention for your teen. A lot of typical teen behaviour looks quite a lot like the kind of behaviour associated with drug addiction or substance abuse. Adolescence comes with intense mood and emotional changes. Your young teen is developing a new awareness of their individuality.

Poor role models, negative peer pressure, and abuse may lead to disrespect for authority, which parents mistake for drug addiction. So that you do not mistakenly stage an intervention for a teen who is not a victim of drug abuse, speak to a professional intervener first. The folks at might prove useful here.

It might be hard to tell if your teen is doing drugs because both teens and people with substance abuse problems easily result to compulsive lying to guard themselves. Be sure you have identified all the warning signs related to drug addiction, or look for pills or any evidence of drugs in the house. You may also try talking to your teen before taking the next step.

  • Does Intervention Help Teens?

Most professionals do not recommend interventions for teens. No research supports the effectiveness of intervention on teens. Nevertheless, that does not mean it is not effective. What it means is studies are yet to be carried out to show the effectiveness of intervention on teens.

Different families have mixed reactions after getting intervention for their teens. Some families believe that their teens sought treatment following intervention. Other families have negative reviews, mostly because the intervention was poorly conducted or the teen was forced into it. Teens who underwent failed interventions came out with more resentment towards their families and increased indulgence in substance abuse. They did these to cope with the feelings of betrayal and frustration after being ambushed or forced into intervention.

At this juncture, you may be doubting if intervention is going to help your teen. Well, professional interveners suggest that the crucial factor in the success of intervention for teens is the skill of the interventionist. Another factor that directly contributes to intervention success is the support structure around the teen. Teens tend to look up to the people around them for advice. If they are surrounded by people engaged in substance abuse, then most likely the intervention will not work.

All in all, intervention is a universally accepted way to help not only teens, but everybody affected by substance abuse, when done properly by the right interventionist.


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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