What is an Intervention?
Table of Contents
- What is an Intervention?
- Understanding Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
- How Do I Know if Someone Needs an Intervention for Their Substance Abuse?
- Perceptions of Interventions in Popular Culture
- The Process of Planning an Intervention
- The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Mental Health
- Staging an Intervention for Someone With Mental Health Conditions
- How to Choose an Intervention Professional for Dual Diagnosis
- Finding Intervention Specialists and Addiction Treatment Options
- Medically Reviewed By
If you have a family member or friend who is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, this can be extremely difficult for both you and the addicted individual. It is completely normal to feel frustrated and overwhelmed by their habits, and still want to help them. That’s why how to stage an intervention can be such crucial knowledge.
Luckily, there are ways that you can help your loved one overcome their substance abuse problem. This can be done through learning how to hold a successful intervention, and implementing this knowledge through taking direct interventive action with them.
Interventions are structured conversations between an addicted individual and their concerned loved ones that address the issue of their substance abuse, as well as help them begin to seek out addiction treatment options.
Are Interventions Done by Professionals?
While these can be held without the help of an intervention specialist, they are generally more successful with this professional support.
Successful interventions can be extremely helpful in allowing an addict’s family and friends to express their concerns to them in a constructive and supportive manner, and show them that their actions affect more than just themselves.
With the right tools and effort, a successful intervention can help a person struggling with drug and alcohol addiction to finally acknowledge this problem, and begin to accept treatment through professional substance abuse recovery programs.
Understanding Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
It is important to understand that someone with an alcohol or drug problem likely did not develop this issue with the intention of becoming addicted. Rather, they likely began abusing these substances as a means of coping with the stress and difficulties of their day-to-day lives.
For example, many individuals with substance abuse problems began using as a means of self-medicating the negative thoughts and feelings caused by a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety.
In other cases, a person may have developed an alcohol or drug addiction after using these substances as a means of alleviating the stress of extreme work, school, or home responsibilities.
In order to effectively confront a person struggling with substance abuse, you must first understand the underlying causes of your loved one’s addiction. Without addressing the roots of the problem, it will be harder to find and convince them to seek effective treatment options.
How Do I Know if Someone Needs an Intervention for Their Substance Abuse?
It can be hard to determine if someone is struggling with a substance addiction, particularly if you do not have access to the full details of a loved one’s life. However, there are several signs of alcohol and drug addiction that can be looked out for in a friend or family member, including:
- Acting overly secretive or protective over their personal information and whereabouts.
- Frequently spending or borrowing money, often without explanation, or with a poor excuse as to why they need it.
- Displaying aggressive behavior towards others, regularly without reason, or in defense of their privacy.
- Noticeable deterioration in their physical appearance and personal hygiene habits.
- Increasing lack of energy or motivation, particularly towards previously enjoyable or important activities.
- Recurring problems at work or school, as well as breakdowns with interpersonal relationships.
- Developing new or experiencing a sudden worsening of physical or mental health issues.
Once you have reached a determination that a loved one is struggling with addiction, it is time to begin learning how to hold a formal intervention. Hiring an intervention specialist can help make this process more successful, as well as significantly easier on all those involved.
Perceptions of Interventions in Popular Culture
Interventions have been very well known in popular culture as a process that is extremely intense in nature. Unfortunately, this presents interventions as being difficult and unpleasant, rather than an absolute necessity to both an addicted individual and their loved ones.
Despite these negative representations in the media, the intervention process, when done correctly, can be extremely healing for both an addict and their concerned friends and family members.
It is understandable to be reluctant towards confrontation; but having close friends and family address a person struggling with addiction can be the push they need to seek treatment.
The Process of Planning an Intervention
Once it has been confirmed that a loved one is abusing substances, the intervention planning process can begin. There are several steps that go into this, including:
- Hiring an Intervention Specialist
- Forming Your Intervention Group
- Learning and Practicing
- Choosing an Intervention Place and Time
- Preparing for Anything to Happen
Hiring an Intervention Specialist
The first step in planning an intervention is usually seeking out professional assistance from an addiction specialist; usually, one with extensive experience holding interventions. This may include a social worker, drug abuse counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or any other addiction professionals.
These intervention specialists can help concerned friends and family members better understand their loved one’s addiction, and keep communication flowing in an effective and supportive manner when this conversation actually takes place.
Typically, these specialists are better able to help addicted people break their cycle of denial. Even though you may feel comfortable confronting an addict alone, this may actually make matters worse, especially if the conversation becomes difficult or overwhelming.
They might become angry or stubborn, or the individuals holding the intervention may become emotional and accusatory. Because of the unpredictable nature of these conversations, it is always encouraged to have them with the support and guidance of an intervention professional.
Forming Your Intervention Group
Once the help of a professional interventionist has been secured, an intervention team and strategy can begin to be developed. Every intervention is different, and therefore working with a specialist can be helpful to address the specific needs of your loved one.
You should choose close friends and family members as the main members of your intervention team. This might include parents, siblings, spouses, or other family members that the addicted person trusts and respects.
If an addicted loved one is an adult family member, choosing group members that are central figures in their lives will likely be the most effective choices for an intervention party, including the addict’s (preferably) drug-free kids, grandparents, or other elderly, influential family figures.
Of course, because of the emotionally intense nature of family interventions, children and elderly participants must be prepared and fully willing to engage in this conversation. If not properly equipped to handle an intervention, other loved ones may serve as a better team member.
Learning and Practicing
The learning and practicing stage of this carefully planned process is crucial for your ability to properly understand how to stage an intervention. This step will bring together all of the participating members with the intervention specialist.
The primary goal of this stage is to educate the group members on the causes and misconceptions of addiction, as well as about what the addiction treatment process entails, and how this may look for their addicted loved one.
This will also help the members better understand why their loved one may avoid treatment, and how to help them overcome these limitations. With any intervention, knowledge and compassion are essential in convincing someone that they should get help.
A person struggling with addiction may not see how their actions affect others. In addition, addiction changes brain chemistry. This can cause users to put drug abuse above all else. Oftentimes friends and family can help bring what is described as a “moment of clarity.”
Each team member of the intervention party will prepare a speech on why they are concerned about the person’s substance habits, and how these have affected them personally. These speeches should be approved by the intervention specialist before they are delivered.
How to Stage an Intervention: Choosing a Place and Time
When holding an intervention, those involved must pick a designated time and place to do so. This intervention site should be somewhere that feels familiar and safe to the addicted individual, such as their home, or the home of a trusted loved one.
This not only creates a feeling of ease but also helps ensure that they will not leave during the intervention suddenly. It will also help to try and schedule the intervention when they will be sober, as this may allow them to be more receptive than if they are under the influence.
You should expect the intervention to last between a half-hour and 90 minutes, so picking a mandatory time period that will work for everyone is essential in making sure this process is not rushed or otherwise interfered with.
It may also be a good idea to find a place to meet post intervention, and discuss the results of this talk amongst the family and friends involved. This time can also be used to further look into drug rehab and addiction treatment centers that can serve their loved one’s care needs.
Preparing for Anything to Happen
You cannot control how an addict will respond to being confronted about their addiction. Because of this, it is very important to work with an addiction professional when holding an intervention, as these individuals will have experience working in hostile conditions.
You want to keep things as peaceful and productive as possible. If anyone feels in danger due to the intervention, it may be a good idea to have a plan intact for calling for external emergency help. Removing any potentially harmful materials or items may also be advised.
It can also help to have specific examples of what treatment plan and type of rehabilitation center will best help your loved one overcome addiction. Having options set up ahead of time can help make them more willing to accept treatment.
It is also essential that you set recovery goals for the addict, and be sure that they know the consequences of not going to treatment. Consequences such as the loss of custody of their children or refusing to let them live at home anymore may further motivate them to seek help.
The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Mental Health
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), effective treatment for someone with a serious mental illness will require an integrated treatment plan.
This is because these individuals likely became addicted after attempting to self-medicate the negative thoughts and feelings caused by their mental disorder(s) through substance use.
In order to overcome their addiction, someone with co-occurring disorders will need to properly address the underlying cause of these habits. A dual diagnosis treatment option will work best in these cases. This level of care will usually be best carried out at an inpatient treatment facility.
This will allow the addicted individual to receive constant clinical and emotional support throughout their recovery process. These programs may also require them to attend family therapy sessions, in order to help further mend the important bonds broken by their addiction.
Staging an Intervention for Someone With Mental Health Conditions
Staging an intervention for someone with mental illness is a bit trickier. You will need to take adequate steps to ensure that they are as comfortable as possible, and truly understand the specific consequences of both their addiction and their mental condition(s).
Having dual diagnosis treatment options and recovery resources available to reference during the intervention can be extremely useful in helping an addicted individual to better understand the nature of their substance use disorder.
It may also help them to realize why overcoming these habits is particularly difficult for them, and become more willing to accept treatment from an addiction professional rather than continue on as they are.
Having a professional interventionist present during this part of the conversation can make this information seem more trustworthy than if it were just to come from family and friends, and its delivery flow more easily and constructively.
How to Choose an Intervention Professional for Dual Diagnosis
Knowing how to choose the right person to help convince an addicted loved one that they need to seek out professional treatment can be difficult as is; finding someone who can effectively bring awareness to an issue with addiction and mental illness can be even more so.
Fortunately, there are interventionists who specialize in dual diagnosis cases. There are various characteristics that can be helpful when looking for someone who fits the category, and will be the right match for you and your addicted loved one’s needs. These include:
- Extensive amounts of knowledge in the specific disorder that your loved one is facing, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or otherwise.
- Significant experience addressing paranoia or other limiting mental/emotional responses should they occur during an intervention.
- Experience soothing all participating individuals in an intervention should they be accused of having bad intentions or any other level of conflict arises.
- Solid ability to run an intervention smoothly, especially in the case that the person at its center does not want to be there, or if they believe they do not need treatment or external help.
Finding Intervention Specialists and Addiction Treatment Options
Holding an intervention for an addicted loved one can be an intimidating and difficult process, but it doesn’t have to be. At Find Addiction Rehabs we can help you learn how to choose an interventionist and have these difficult, but necessary conversations.
By contacting our 24/7 hotline today, you can find addiction treatment centers and recovery support services that can serve all of your loved one’s care needs.
So don’t wait, call now and let us help you and your loved one get started on the path to recovery, where you can both re-discover a happier, healthier life, free from the harm of substance abuse.
Bryan was born in Philadelphia and remains an ardent supporter of Philadelphia sports. After attending FSU and FAU where he majored in writing, Bryan ventured out to follow in the footsteps of his idols, running straight into drug addiction. After being arrested by the President’s Secret Service, Bryan finally started to rebuild his life and beat that monkey off of his back through writing, playing music, and studying Buddhist philosophy.
Despite still having the occasional struggles with mental health, Bryan strives to be a little bit better a person each day. With the support and love from a loyal family, and kind-hearted and generous friends, Bryan tries to help people vanquish their own personal demons as he did and bring more love and beauty into a pessimistic world.