Addiction Intervention

An intervention is an organized conversation between a person with a substance use disorder, their loved ones, and usually supervised by an intervention specialist (also known as an interventionist). The goal is to motivate the person struggling, in a non-threatening way, to seek treatment for their substance use disorder. Often, a family will organize an intervention to share how a loved one’s substance abuse impacts them.

Often before relying upon an interventionist, a family member or close friend will attempt to speak with the person using to address an addiction problem and encourage them to seek professional help. If that effort is unsuccessful, a group intervention is a constructive next step. While the word “intervention” is often used, there is a lot of confusion about what one is and what occurs during one.

The goal of intervening in someone’s life is to impact how that person behaves and change the way loved ones may be inadvertently enabling them. An intervention can be an effective way to reach someone who is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as they may be unaware of the pain they are causing their family and friends through their continued drug or alcohol use.

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How Does the Intervention Process Work?

The goal of intervention is to help someone get into recovery treatment and ultimately begin a life of sobriety. During an intervention, a group of loved ones aims to approach a person with support, comfort, and concern. They intend to get the person to commit to getting professional help, ideally recovery treatment in a substance abuse rehab program.

Typically, the events that take place during an intervention are decided upon beforehand. This places importance on all members of the group to be prepared. The group likely comes together before the intervention to discuss who will say what and in what order. In addition, the group selects a leader who will do the most talking during the intervention and guide the conversation. In some cases, the leader is an interventionist.

The following are some of the basic steps in the intervention process, but keep in mind that everyone’s journey to sobriety is different:

1. Speak to an interventionist and discuss the situation as well as a potential treatment plan

2. Create an intervention strategy with the interventionist, which specifically addresses the person struggling and their particular situation. Often participants write letters to read to explain how addiction has impacted them individually

3. A meeting place is chosen, ideally at a time of day when they would be sober

4. The goal of the intervention is to get the person to agree to go to treatment, but there is also a backup plan if they do not agree to go – as such, it is important to set boundaries and consequences if the loved one does not go to treatment

5. In most situations, the group involved in the intervention aims to get the person to reach a “moment of clarity,” where the group’s stories so move them that they agree to go to treatment

While interventions do not work for everyone, research suggests that one may be more likely to seek drug and alcohol treatment if an intervention is staged. The reality is that many do not fully grasp how profoundly their addiction affects those who they love the most, and an intervention is a powerful way to motivate someone to enter rehab.

When to Stage an Intervention

Knowing when to intervene for a loved one isn’t always easy. Approaching a person who is struggling with substance abuse is difficult and scary. In many cases, the individual will deny even having a drug or alcohol problem, making it hard to start the conversation. An interventionist is trained to help someone move past their denial and into treatment.

If you are considering staging an intervention for a loved one, you may love someone addicted or struggling. An intervention is ideal for a person who is unaware that there is a problem and/or unaware of how their problem with alcohol or drugs is impacting those around them.

Some of the most common signs of a substance use disorder include:

  • Borrowing money often
  • Suffering from health problems
  • Physical appearance is changing/deteriorating
  • Behavior becomes very secretive
  • Aggression rises
  • Encountering issues at school or work
  • A decline in motivation or energy

In addition to these outward signs, a person may suffer from co-occurring disorders like depression. Treatment is an excellent way to diagnose and treat an individual with a dual diagnosis.

So, do interventions work? While some people are receptive to interventions right away, others are not suited for that type of approach. The group of loved ones included in the intervention must create a plan and follow through. Regardless of those details, interventions have tremendous power to be effective.

Are you thinking about staging an intervention for a loved one? Would you like to speak with an interventionist to learn more? Call (844) 978-1524