What Is An Intervention?

An intervention is a structured conversation between loved ones and an individual struggling with a Substance Use Disorder (SUD), often supervised by an intervention specialist.

Successful interventions can help loved ones express their feelings constructively.

If simply talking to the person with the problem doesn’t work, a group intervention is an effective next step. Interventions also help show those with SUDs how their actions affect those they care about. The goal is to help the person struggling get into addiction recovery and rehabilitation.

Featured Centers Offering Intervention Services

When To Intervene For A Loved One

It can be hard to approach someone struggling with addiction. Although friends or loved ones mean well, they might not know what to say. The addicted person might also deny that they have a drug or alcohol problem, making open conversation difficult.

Outward signs someone is struggling might include:

  • Secretive behavior
  • Borrowing money
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Deterioration of physical appearance
  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Problems at work or school
  • Health issues

Intervention specialists can help direct conversation to address these co-occurring disorders.

Many people with an addiction also struggle with other problems, like depression and eating disorders.

How To Stage An Intervention

  •  Intervention Specialist

    The first step in staging an intervention is contacting an intervention specialist. The intervention professional will keep communication between the parties moving. Intervention specialists help addicted people break their cycle of denial. An intervention specialist is essential to staging a successful intervention.

    Solo confrontations can actually make matters worse. The individual with the SUD may become stubborn and not accept any help. Interventions should never be attempted by family and friends alone.

  • Form Your Intervention Group

    Once on board, the enlisted professional helps family and friends create an intervention strategy. There’s no one-size-fits-all plan for staging an intervention. These specialists work with intervening parties to address their loved ones’ specific needs. Some people who might help convince a loved one to start rehab include parents, siblings, spouses or partners, co-workers, and close friends.

    Some intervention groups might consider including children, grandparents, and other family members. However, young children and elderly family members must be prepared for intense moments during the confrontation.

  • Learn and Rehearse

    Next, an intervention specialist will educate participating members in addiction and addiction recovery. Knowledge and compassion help provide insights the intervention party can use to convince someone they need help. Friends and family must rehearse and prepare for the intervention with their intervention specialist.

    Someone struggling with drug abuse or addiction might not see how their actions affect others. Addiction changes brain chemistry, causing users to put drug abuse above all else. Friends and family can help trigger a “moment of clarity” by describing ways the addicted person has hurt them. These stories should be pre-written and reviewed by intervening members before the intervention.

  • Choose An Intervention Meeting Place And Time

    As a general rule, the space where the intervention is held should be familiar and non-threatening. This puts the addicted person more at ease during the intervention. It’s also important to try to schedule a meeting time when the loved one will be sober. Interventions often last between a half hour and 90 minutes, but there is no mandatory time period.

  • Be Prepared For Anything

    You cannot control or predict how your loved one will react when confronted. Intervention specialists have professional experience calming hostile environments. Their presence is essential to keeping interventions as peaceful and productive as possible. If your loved one’s reaction to being confronted endangers the intervention party, call 911 immediately.

Perceptions Of Intervention

Interventions have become commonplace in popular culture over the last decade. Reality TV shows like A&E’s Intervention present interventions as difficult events. These programs may raise awareness for intervention’s usefulness. Unfortunately, they can poorly impact attitudes toward intervention as well.

You shouldn’t feel reluctant to stage an intervention because of a television show. You also shouldn’t be afraid of “overstepping your bounds.” If the warning signs are there, it’s important to speak to an intervention specialist. Your loved one’s life may be at stake.

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The Next Steps Forward

An intervention party needs to set expectations and recovery goals for the person with the SUD to meet post-intervention. Expectations may help to hold your loved one accountable. Consequences should be made clear by the intervention party. It’s important for the intervention party to stay strong in enforcing these consequences if need be. For more information on interventions and treatment options, contact a treatment provider today.

Published:

Author

Jeffrey Juergens

Photo of Jeffrey Juergens
  • Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.

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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:

David Hampton

Photo of David Hampton
  • David embarked on his journey into sobriety in June of 2005, which led him to his current career path as a Certified Professional Addiction Recovery Coach in private practice in Greater Nashville. David is also a public speaker and the author of two books. David is cohost of the weekly Positive Sobriety Podcast, as well as being a frequent contributor to various articles and recovery based materials. As a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), David works closely with area treatment centers, recovery orientated nonprofit organizations, as well as being a keynote speaker for various recovery-focused events.

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Sources

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Banyan Treatment Centers – Delaware

Milford , DE

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Banyan Treatment Centers – Philadelphia

Philadelphia , PA

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Boca Recovery Center – New Jersey

Galloway , NJ

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Clearbrook Treatment Centers

Laurel , PA

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Princeton Detox & Recovery Center

Monmouth Junction , NJ

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Guardian IOP – New Brunswick

New Brunswick , NJ

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SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick , NJ

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Guardian IOP – Hoboken

Hoboken , NJ

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Newport Academy – Teen Rehab Center

Bethlehem , CT

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Clearbrook Treatment Centers

Baldwinville , MA

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Banyan Treatment Centers – Massachusetts

Boston , MA

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The Plymouth House

Plymouth , NH

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Boca Recovery Center – Indiana

Bloomington , IN

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Pine Tree Recovery Center

Portland , ME

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Newport Academy – Teen Rehab Center

Atlanta , GA

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Recovery Unplugged – Nashville

Nashville , TN

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