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Drug Abuse Intervention

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Table of Contents

Any type of substance abuse intervention is a serious, challenging situation. Alcohol and drug addiction can be very difficult to overcome. It takes strength, determination, and support from family and friends to end the cycle of addiction. If you fear that someone that you love might have an alcohol or drug problem, it’s important to intervene before things get worse. An intervention might be just what they need to see the toll their habits are taking on their life and those who care about them. There are many different ways in which an intervention can take place. Whether it’s planned in advance or spontaneous, there are various elements that must be considered for it to be as successful as possible. Let’s take a look at some key considerations when planning an intervention:

What is an intervention?

An intervention is a planned discussion with a person who is actively abusing substances, often with the support of loved ones. The goal of an intervention is to motivate the person to seek treatment for addiction so that they can overcome their substance abuse problem and lead a happier, healthier life. Interventions are often followed by professional addiction treatment, such as inpatient or outpatient treatment. Interventions can be very emotional, but they’re a necessary step in getting the help someone needs.

While many people are familiar with the idea of an intervention, not everyone understands what it entails. An intervention is a structured discussion that takes place when family and friends recognize that someone is struggling with an addiction of some kind and needs intervention. During an intervention, people who care about the person with the addiction problem come together in one space and present him or her with their concerns about their substance abuse. They also offer their support and talk about their willingness to help the person get the help they need to overcome their substance use disorders.

Why have an intervention?

The goal of an intervention is to motivate the person to seek treatment for addiction so that they can overcome their substance abuse problem. People who are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction often need outside help and emotional support to break the cycle of abuse. An intervention can be a powerful intervention when it comes to getting someone the help they need. People who abuse substances often have a difficult time motivating themselves to stop using, even if they know that their drug use is causing problems in their lives. An intervention can offer people who are struggling with substance use issues a sense of external motivation that they may not be able to find within themselves. An intervention can help people make the decision to seek help for their addiction problem and start down the path to recovery.

Who should be included in the process?

It’s important to consider who should be involved in the process of holding an intervention for someone with a substance abuse problem. You should include loved ones who feel most impacted by the person’s addiction and are committed to helping them get the treatment that they need. It’s important to include people who have a strong, positive relationship with the person in question. Behavioral interventions can be very emotional and intense. It’s especially important that everyone involved in the intervention has the support and ability to handle the stress that comes with having this type of discussion. Including people who have a close relationship with the person in question can help to facilitate a more open and honest discussion.

It’s important that everyone involved in the intervention respects the person with the substance abuse problem and treats the discussion seriously and respectfully. Including people who love and care about the person in the discussion can help to make the intervention a positive experience for everyone. For these reasons, intervention specialists are often helpful to have on hand. An intervention team or intervention professional can ensure that everyone has their say and that the actual intervention goes smoothly.

When is the right time to intervene?

This is a tricky question, as there’s no specific answer that fits every situation. An experienced intervention team can help you determine the best time for you and your family. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you decide when an intervention is the best option. If you’ve noticed signs of addiction in a loved one, it’s important to intervene as early as possible. It’s better to move sooner than later, since addiction can progress quickly. If you’ve noticed that a friend or family member is using substances and it’s negatively impacting their life, it’s important to act as soon as you can.

It’s important to remember that substance abuse is a disease. People who are addicted to alcohol or drugs don’t choose to use the way that some people might. Addiction is a serious, difficult condition that is difficult to overcome without help. Interventions are often best when they’re coordinated as soon as possible after you notice that the person in question has a problem with substance use. The sooner you intervene, the sooner the person can start receiving the help that they need.

Finding the right rehab facility

Choosing the right treatment facility for the person who needs addiction treatment can seem like a daunting task. There are many different factors to consider when choosing a rehab facility, such as the type of treatment offered, the program length and cost. When choosing a treatment facility, it’s important to consider the needs of the person in question. This may include considering what type of treatment they prefer, what their financial situation is and what their insurance will cover.

Choosing a treatment facility that specializes in helping people overcome the type of addiction that your loved one is dealing with can also be helpful. It’s important to thoroughly investigate potential treatment facilities before making a final decision. There are many online resources that can help you in your search, such as reviews, rankings and information on program specifics. Choosing the right treatment facility can help your loved one to get the help that they need to overcome their addiction and lead a happier and healthier life.

Can You Make Someone Accept Substance Abuse Treatment?

The goal of an intervention is not to force someone into treatment. Rather, it is to encourage loved ones to recognize that they have a problem and to seek help on their own. However, there will likely be moments during the intervention where you will have to make it clear that you won’t be able to support them if they don’t make a change. If you’re having an intervention with a loved one who you think is in immediate danger, it might be necessary to have law enforcement or a medical professional on hand to intervene if necessary. In these situations, it’s important for you to make it clear that you are there to help, not to punish them.

How to Encourage Someone to Go to Rehab

One of the first things that you’ll want to do when planning an intervention is to decide if it will be focused on drug or alcohol addiction. While the terms are often used interchangeably, it’s important to understand the differences and the special considerations for both. Once you’ve determined which direction to take, you’ll want to take into consideration the loved one’s specific addiction. When someone is addicted to alcohol, they will likely have already experienced some negative consequences of their habit. When someone abuses drugs, it can come as a surprise because they don’t often show immediate signs of being addicted.

Alcohol addiction interventions can be more challenging than drug interventions because a lot of people with alcohol dependence justify their alcohol abuse by saying “but it is legal.” However, someone that drinks heavily may experience physical signs of their addiction, such as depression or the shakes. They may also have legal issues to contend with, such as a DUI charge or being fired from a job for drinking on the job. Drug addiction interventions are often more challenging because drug dependence is so stigmatized. It can also be complicated when the drug misuse problem occurs with a legal prescription drug. It’s important to have a conversation with the loved one to discover the type of substance they’re abusing so that they can recognize their substance use disorder and accept treatment for it.

Setting Boundaries for Family Members Who Refuse Treatment

In many cases, when one person in the family has an addiction, other family members are also affected. During an early intervention or brief intervention, any adult family member who wishes to do so can express boundaries — because they are not obligated to put up with destructive behaviors. Parents with substance abuse problems often have children who are affected by the situation. This can be very difficult for family members who are trying to do what’s best for their loved ones but are also trying to protect themselves and their own families from the damage that is being done. There are many ways that family members can set healthy boundaries when it comes to helping their loved ones.

One of the most important things to do is to get educated about addiction so that you fully understand what your loved one is going through. Talking with people who have been through the situation is often very helpful. Another thing that family members can do is to set boundaries for themselves. This means that you set limits on what you will and won’t do for your loved one. Letting the addiction rule the family can do more harm than good. It’s important to try to help the person who has an addiction to get help, but there are certain things that you shouldn’t let them take advantage of you. For example, you should let your loved one know that while you want to help them, you can’t let them take advantage of you or the rest of the family.

What is the Difference Between Outpatient and Inpatient Rehab?

The biggest difference between the two is that one is on a full-time basis while the other is not. For people in an outpatient program, their therapy and treatment are done in a group setting. If they are involved in an outpatient program, they might sessons multiple times or as infrequently as once a week. The goal of an outpatient program is to teach people how to deal with the triggers in their lives that cause them to drink or use drugs. People in an outpatient program can also learn how to avoid alcohol or drug-related situations so that they don’t feel the need to drink or use drugs

Those in an inpatient program stay at a treatment facility for a certain amount of time. This time can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days. The main difference between inpatient and outpatient programs is that those in an inpatient program live at the treatment facility. This way, they have no control over their environment and can’t drink or use drugs if they want to. This helps them to focus completely on their treatment and getting better.

What Types of Therapy Are Used for Addiction?

Two highly effective treatment options are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). CBT helps a person to identify the negative thought patterns that they have developed while dealing with the stress of their addiction. This therapy helps a person to see that they have the ability to change their thoughts and feelings by changing their behaviors. DBT helps a person to identify and manage their emotions more effectively so that they are able to make more reasonable decisions about their lives. Many times, people struggling with addiction have difficulty managing their emotions and making appropriate choices, which is why both CBT and DBT therapies are very effective in treating addiction. Some therapists with specialized training incorporate other approaches in their counseling sessions, such as motivational interviewing (MI).

However, it is critical to understand that therapy is not the only treatment that helps people overcome addiction and substance misuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for people suffering from opioid use disorder or alcoholism. This combination treatment plan involves a mix of medication as well as the above-mentioned therapies. Often utilized in intensive outpatient programs, medications like methadone can aid the recovery process by helping mitigate withdrawal symptoms and cravings. In the meantime, clients can work on developing their communicaton skills, self-efficacy, and develop new strategies for contingency management.

How Long is Rehab?

This can vary tremendously depending on the situation and the individual. This can also depend on whether or not the person has tried rehab before. If it’s their first time attempting treatment, then it could take longer than someone who has been in and out of rehab several times. That being said, most people who are serious about getting better do so within a month or two. It’s important to remember that no two rehab experiences are alike. The amount of time that it takes to complete rehab depends on how quickly each individual progresses through the program.

How Do Alcohol and Drug Problems Affect Family Members?

If you’ve suspected that a loved one has an alcohol or drug abuse problem, you might be wondering how it’s affected you and your family. Let’s consider common issues that arise when someone abuses substances:

  • Financial problems: Substance abuse can lead to financial problems, such as missing work and needing to pay for attorneys to defend alcohol- or drug-related charges.
  • Interpersonal conflict: Family members who have a loved one who is struggling with substance abuse often have relationship issues.
  • Health problems: Substance abuse can have a negative effect on one’s health. It may lead to things like heart attacks, injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, and other infections.
  • Legal issues: Legal issues that may arise from substance abuse include missed child support payments, divorces, and driving under the influence charges.

Living with Someone in Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Dependence

Once your loved one has accepted their addiction and decided to seek treatment, you’ll want to support their journey as best you can. Below, we’ve outlined some ways that you can help:

  • Attend meetings: Participating in 12-step meetings like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous with your loved one can help them stay focused on their recovery. It can also help you to better understand their situation and what they’re going through.
  • Read up on addiction: While your loved one is in treatment, you can learn more about addiction by reading books, articles, and blogs about the topic. Understanding the nature of addiction and your loved one’s situation can help you communicate more effectively with them when they’re at home.
  • Help with household chores: When your loved one is working towards recovery, they’ll likely have less energy than usual. You can help them out by taking over some of the household chores that they normally do or have them help you around the house.
  • Encourage healthy activities: When someone is in recovery from alcoholism and drug dependence, they need to find ways to release their energy. This can help them to avoid turning to substance abuse. You can encourage your loved one to participate in healthy activities such as exercise, arts and crafts, and outdoor activities.
  • Encourage them to explore a treatment plan: Whether it involves life skills training, family therapy sessions in outpatient settings, methadone maintenance treatment, or support groups, help can come from any treatment approach.

Supporting a Loved One's Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Once you’ve helped your loved one accept that they have an addiction, it’s important to stick with them through their treatment. This means being supportive, attending their therapy sessions with them, and participating in group activities. You can also find ways to help them stay focused on their treatment even when they’re at home, such as attending support group meetings and connecting with other people in recovery. When your loved one is in treatment, make sure that they know that you’re there for them. They’re likely facing new challenges and experiences in treatment, so let them know that you’re ready and willing to support them.

How to Approach a Loved One About Their Substance Abuse Problem

An intervention is a planned discussion with a person who has a substance abuse problem. The goal of an intervention is to get that person to agree to get help for their addiction. When planning an intervention, it’s important to consider how you will approach your loved one. Remember that substance abuse is a disease and that it’s not the person’s fault. They will likely be defensive, so you need to be careful with how you speak to them. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your loved one receives the help they need to overcome their substance abuse. It won’t be an easy journey, but with your support and encouragement, they’ll be able to get there.


Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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