biopsychosocial intervention

Working With Addiction: How Information Is Gathered And Why It’s Important For An Intervention 

Due to the complex nature of addiction, working towards recovery means taking a broadened approach to the disease. Rather than relying on strictly medical or biological models, recent research indicates a need for incorporating social and psychological influences as well.

The more unified Biopsychosocial approach examines addiction as the product of biological, psychological, social and cultural influences. That’s why a successful intervention involves interviewing multiple sources and looking at multiple pieces of information. Professional Interventionists are called when other attempts have failed and succeed when viewed as an invitation to accept and seek care.


With mental health & addiction problems, people reach out when their hearts are hurting: someone may have lied, cheated, or stolen from them. Perhaps they have been raged at, had money missing, or been told they’re no good because their loved one has a substance abuse disorder.

While people often think of mental and/or emotional stress as a catalyst, many addictions start with chronic pain. 90% of all pain resolves itself naturally in less than 90 days. Pain that lasts longer than 90 days is considered chronic and managing it can lead to substance abuse, particularly with opioids. When people address their addictions, they must also find new pain management treatments as they navigate the pain cycle during recovery.


Mental illness commonly co-occurs with addiction. They become tightly entwined and one can trigger or worsen the other. It may be difficult to determine which came first, but both must be addressed.

Trauma is another factor to consider when looking at addiction. Trauma causes intense feelings of discomfort and substance abuse is often used to mute those feelings. Trauma is both subjective and objective and comes in a wide variety of forms such as divorce, death, physical and verbal abuse.


For an effective intervention, it’s essential to have a comprehensive view of family history. This includes not just disorders but also marriages, deaths, and sexual acting out, relational attachment, money issues, digital addiction and extreme religiosity. Families are complex and so are the problems within them. In addiction, interventionists must consider lifestyle factors and cultural factors such as preferred treatment approaches.

By looking at a robust picture of a client, what they are doing and where they came from, Dr. Stanger can create a family map to determine which problem to tackle first. It’s critical to create this picture from multiple sources of information. This helps her develop a plan for building an intervention that leads to healing both those struggling with addiction and their families.


“I am the mirror who reflects back their pain, their fears their voices. I am the inquirer who asks difficult questions, who searches for evidence and patterns. I am the companion on the journey bringing my own story to the encounter, making possible an interpretive collaboration, I am the audience who listens , laughs , weeps an applauds. I am the spider women spinning their tales.. I am the therapist who offers cathaersis support and challenge… I am also the stage manager coordinating the intersection of three plays-the story teller, the narrator and the readers inviting your voice to the drama”