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intervention FAQs

What is a substance abuse intervention?

An intervention is a gathering of a professional interventionist and concerned family and friends who are committed to helping someone addicted to drugs or alcohol. Professional addiction intervention is done when an addictive lifestyle is wreaking havoc on the addict’s life and the people around them. Most drug interventions are done because the addict is unwilling to accept that his or her addiction is causing a problem, and they are often refusing to get help. The intervention process uses peer pressure to encourage an addict to get help. The entire process is about helping the addict understand they have a problem and that they should receive treatment for their addiction. During the intervention, a group of close friends and family gather together with the help and guidance of a certified interventionist.

Each member of the group outlines how the person’s addiction has harmed them and pleads with the addict to help. These are letters from the family that make it clear to the addict their addiction has impacted everyone in the room. A professional interventionist is there to help guide the family through the entire process. Certified interventionists primarily counsel the family and work through the barriers of enabling and co-dependency, while assisting them in organizing the intervention. Part of this process is setting a bottom line or the consequences if the addict does not agree to get the help they need. For example, the addict may have children, and the spouse is threatening a restraining order if they do not go for treatment. The consequences are meant to help the addict understand the family means business and is taking control of the situation.

Drug addiction interventions are emotionally charged, and everyone taking part is there to help save the life of the addict. An intervention is successful when done correctly and the help of a professional interventionist does make it easier to achieve the desired results. Having a certified interventionist there during the intervention ensures the family is not taken advantage of by the addict through guilt, anger, and other emotions. When you confront someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you are backing them into a corner. When this happens, they will attempt to say or do anything to avoid getting help. When the realization of them never using drugs or alcohol again sets in, there is a tremendous amount of fear. The intervention process helps the addict work through this fear, so they understand the importance of getting help and overcoming their addiction for good.

Determining Treatment Before Intervention

Part of the intervention process, and when the interventionist works with the family, they help the family find a treatment center. However, there are circumstances where the family has already arranged treatment before the interventionist arrives. Professional interventionists are familiar with many good treatment centers as they work with so many. Also, most interventionists have addiction counseling certifications or other training and qualifications to make treatment recommendations. It is essential to have a treatment center ready before the intervention takes place.

When a rehabilitation center is not arranged, and the intervention is a success, there is a window of opportunity for the drug-addicted individual to avoid getting help. For example, they may change their mind or even leave and disappear to abuse drugs or alcohol while the family waits for a treatment center. All of the treatment should be arranged before the intervention happens. Also, a certified interventionist will escort the addict to treatment,which is beneficial because they know what to expect. When a family member brings the drug-addicted person to treatment, things may become emotional, and the addict may change their mind.

Determining the right type of treatment is usually done with an addiction assessment. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some of the principles of effective treatment is no single treatment is right for everyone, and people need to have quick access to treatment. Also, effective treatment addresses all of the patient’s needs, not just his or her drug use. An interventionist can work with the family to determine this, or an addiction assessment could be done over the phone or in-person with another qualified professional

Sources-NIDA. “Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 17 Jan. 2019,

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