What is an intervention?
Intervention is a professionally directed, education process resulting in a face to face meeting of family members, friends and/or employer with the person in trouble with alcohol or drugs. People who struggle with addiction are often in denial about their situation and unwilling to seek treatment. They may not recognize the negative effects their behavior has on themselves and others. Intervention helps the person make the connection between their use of alcohol and drugs and the problems in their life. The goal of intervention is to present the alcohol or drug user with a structured opportunity to accept help and to make changes before things get even worse.
How does intervention work?
Much of the intervention process is education and information for the friends and family. The opportunity for everyone to come together, share information and support each other is critically important. Once everyone is ready, a meeting is scheduled with the person everyone is concerned about.
Can an addiction specialist help?
Consulting an addiction professional, such as an alcohol and addictions counselor, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or interventionist, can help you organize an effective intervention. A substance use or addiction professional will take into account the particular circumstances surrounding the alcohol or drug use, suggest the best approach, and provide guidance for what type of treatment and follow-up plan is likely to work best.
Often interventions are conducted without an intervention specialist, but having expert help may be preferable. Sometimes the intervention occurs at the professional's office. It may be especially important to have the professional attend the actual intervention to help you stay on track if your loved one:
- Has a history of serious mental illness
- Has a history of violence
- Has shown suicidal behavior or recently talked about suicide
- May be taking several mood-altering substances
It's especially important to consult an intervention professional if you suspect your loved one may react violently or self-destructively.
Can intervention be successful?
Absolutely. When done with a person who is trained and successfully experienced as an interventionist, over 90% of people make a commitment to get help.
Can intervention fail?
Yes. But, as stated above, most interventions are successful. In some cases, a person may refuse help at the time of the intervention, but as a result of the intervention, come back and ask for help later.
Who gets involved in doing an intervention?
NCADD and our Affiliates know that most successful interventions are professionally directed. The interventionist will help you to determine who should be invited to participate in the intervention -- parents, spouses, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc. Making sure that the right people are involved is very important to the success of the intervention.
Where do you begin?
Intervention may not be necessary or appropriate for all families or all circumstances. However, if you feel an intervention could be helpful, you should contact your nearest NCADD Affiliate to find out what may be best for you or your family.