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Drug and Alcohol Intervention

Is a drug or alcohol intervention useful tool to make the user understand the effects of their substance abuse?

Many people who have a family member or close friend that is dealing with alcoholism or addiction may feel lost or not know what they can do to help.  The addict is often in denial and has problems seeing how their using is affecting those around them, which makes it difficult to approach them about their situation.  A drug or alcohol intervention can be a useful tool to make the user understand the effects of their substance abuse and get them to see that they need help to change their behavior.

What does a drug and alcohol intervention Consist of?

A typical drug and alcohol intervention involves a professional interventionist. Another type of intervention called a Family Intervention sometimes includes a team of relatives, close friends, and others who care for the user, and may include a professional interventionist.  In a family intervention, the team gets together to carefully plan the intervention and have a treatment program in mind beforehand so that the user can immediately enter rehab if they are willing.  It is a non-judgmental way for loved ones to share their frustrations and concerns, and offer the addict a way to address their substance abuse problem.

In a professional intervention a trained professional guides the entire intervention process and convinces the drug user to seek treatment. Family support is often needed for this.

How do I Plan an Intervention for Drug Alcohol Addiction?

The success of an intervention is often directly related to the planning that goes into it.  No matter what type of intervention you choose, an intervention should not be done spur of the moment, instead the team should get together to organize all aspects of it.

In a family intervention loved ones should:

  1. Consult a treatment professional with experience in holding interventions can be helpful in order to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
  2. Get together and gather information on the extent of the substance abuse and research treatment programs that are a good fit the alcoholic or addict’s individual needs. 
  3. The group then needs to contact the treatment program and make arrangements to enroll the user, and let them know they are planning an intervention. When using a professional interventionist he or she can often help with these things and guide the family to help locate the right type of program.
  4. Those participating in the intervention often write down specific instances where the alcoholic’s drinking, or the drug addict’s using has resulted in problems.  They should discuss the toll the substance abuse has taken on relationships, while expressing care and a belief that the user can change their ways with help.
  5. Unfortunately not all interventions are easy, and often the user will resist getting help.  For this reason, each team member must decide on specific consequences that the addict will face if they refuse to get help through treatment.  These consequences should be consistent so that the user knows that things will change immediately if they refuse the group’s help.
  6. The final step in the planning process is to pick a day to hold the intervention.  The team will have to get the alcoholic or addict to the intervention without revealing what is going in.  The impact of the intervention will be diminished if the user knows it is going to happen.

When using a professional interventionist family members and friends should let this individual guide and educate them on the entire process. He or she can help with finding treatment and also ‘coach’ the family on the best ways to approach the problem, when and how to hold the intervention and many of the other aspects of the process above.

On the day of the intervention, how will the addict react?

An intervention can be a highly charged and emotional event.  The way the alcoholic or addict will react depends completely on the individual.  In some situations a professional interventionist may be necessary.  If the addict has a history of violent behavior, suicidal thoughts or behavior, or has serious mental illness it is probably best to utilize the help of a professional.

On the day of the intervention the addict or alcoholic is brought to the location and the intervention is done with the family and/or hired professional.  After the group completes their statements the user is given the opportunity to enter the treatment center directly.  The team members present the user with the treatment option and each member discusses what the consequences will be if the addict or alcoholic refuses to go.  If everyone works together and things go as planned the addict or alcoholic can embark on their road to recovery that day.