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July 24, 2022

How Do Interventions Work?

Helping a loved one living with an addiction is, more often than not, a challenging experience. For example, despite your best efforts, your loved one may struggle to even recognize that they have a problem. If they know they have a problem, they might refuse to acknowledge the negative effects of their behavior. Sometimes, they might flat out deny your concerns and lash out in anger towards you for trying to address the issue at all. As frustrating as addiction can be, there’s hope. An intervention can help your loved one face the truth and get on the road to recovery.

What Is An Intervention?

An intervention is an organized attempt to confront a loved one who is struggling with an addiction. This carefully planned process provides family, friends, and colleagues an opportunity to tell the addicted person how their substance abuse has negatively affected their life as well as the lives of those around them. The goal of an intervention is to help individuals stop denying the severity of their situation, make changes before things get worse, and seek treatment.

Interventions can be solely facilitated by family members and friends, but research shows that interventions that include a doctor, licensed alcohol or drug counselor, or professional interventionist tend to be most effective.

What Happens During An Intervention?

During an intervention, you and other people who care about your loved one will gather together to help your friend or relative acknowledge both their actions and the consequences of those actions. You will also work together to encourage your loved one to seek treatment.

The process generally happens as follows:

  • Each person involved in the intervention provides specific examples of how harmful addictive behaviors led to hurtful, negative effects.
  • The leader of the intervention offers a path to treatment with clear next steps and goals, as well as a plan to enter into a specific rehabilitation program.
  • The person living with addiction receives encouragement to accept professional help. Each person then describes how they’ll respond if the individual refuses treatment.

Individuals facing an intervention can be irritated, frustrated, and upset so it’s important to interact with them lovingly but honestly. Remember, the ultimate goal is to encourage your loved one to seek professional addiction treatment.

How Often Do Interventions Work?

According to a landmark study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, individuals who undergo an intervention are much more likely to seek treatment than individuals who aren’t confronted about their drug or alcohol use. The medical community and addiction treatment industry agree. In fact, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence suggests that more than 90% of properly performed interventions lead to a person seeking addiction treatment.

But you should also know that interventions don’t automatically affect the outcome of the treatment. Individuals that seek treatment without being fully committed to a life of sobriety are less likely to complete treatment, maintain abstinence, and obtain long-term recovery whether they have received an intervention or not.

Generally, the success of an intervention increases when:

  • The intervention is planned carefully. Research addiction. Select a date and time for the intervention that matches everyone’s schedule. Invite the appropriate intervention participants. Make arrangements with local rehabilitation centers ahead of time. Have a well-developed treatment plan in place.
  • Individuals involved in the intervention rehearse their talking points and agree with them. This helps ensure the intervention happens calmly and respectfully. You should also consider how your loved one may respond to the intervention and have solutions for any objections they may have.
  • Individuals stay on track during the intervention. Your loved one may be defensive and hostile during the intervention. Remain composed. Stick to the strategy and talking points. Reacting angrily and deviating from the plan of action can cause unproductive back-and-forth exchanges, derailing the intervention.

If your loved one does decide to receive treatment, be supportive. Visit them in their treatment program. Attend family therapy sessions. Let them know you’re thinking about them and wish them well. Individuals who have strong social support are more likely to obtain and maintain long-term recovery.

How Do Drug Interventions Work?

Interventions work by addressing substance abuse issues, pointing out specific ways addiction causes harm and setting boundaries.

  • Address the issue. As a family member or friend of an individual struggling with addiction, you might be lost and confused about what to do. In the past, you might have made excuses for your loved one, helped take care of their responsibilities, provided them a place to stay, or given them money to borrow. But enabling their addiction in any way prevents them from getting the treatment they need. Interventions work because they allow several people to address the issue at hand. Instead of skirting around the issue passively, interventions encourage you and others to specifically and honestly address your friend’s or relative’s drug or alcohol problem.
  • Prevent the addict from escaping the issue. Outside of an intervention, an individual with an addiction can walk away or ignore you when you try to address their substance abuse. Interventions prevent that. Your loved one may be hostile, upset, or irritated during the intervention, but they cannot easily escape the confrontation. They’re forced to come face to face with their actions and consequences, which helps combat denial.
  • Point out ways addiction causes harm. Many people grappling with addiction assume that their actions only affect them. Interventions combat this lie. When your loved one or friend hears you and other people pointing out specific ways that their drug or alcohol use affected them, they’ll be more likely to recognize and understand the weight and consequences of their actions. Instead of believing the lie that what they do only affects them, they might come to realize that drugs and alcohol have hurt people they love and care about.
  • Establish boundaries. Boundaries will help your loved one know what you and others will and won’t accept. If they know that refusing treatment means that you won’t house them, take care of their home, make excuses for them, or give them money, they may be more likely to accept treatment. This is especially true when the people they’re closest to have similar boundaries.

Professional Intervention Services To Help Your Loved One Get The Treatment They Need

Here at Meta, we know how tiring, exhausting, and frustrating trying to help an addict can be. But we also know that getting your loved one the help they need can help change the trajectory of their life. That’s why we offer professional intervention services that include:

  • A free initial consultation
  • Framework and structure for the intervention
  • Pre-arranged admission into a treatment program
  • Travel and logistics planning if necessary
  • In-person, phone, or video conference options
  • Nationwide availability

Our recovery experts and interventionist can help you have the necessary, but difficult conversation that can help change your loved one’s life. Contact us today to learn more.