Do Interventions Work?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Helping Someone Suffering From Addiction: Do Interventions Work?

It can be one of the most difficult things to see someone you care about become hooked on drugs or alcohol. Oftentimes, the last person to be aware of the problem is the addict themselves, which is usually due to the drug-seeking behavior and the avoidance of treatment and negative consequences. You may have considered an intervention, but do interventions work?

In a country that saw 20.2 million people afflicted by substance use disorder in 2014, you are not alone. But what can you do to help the addict realize that they need to get help to get better? In this article, we will answer the question “do interventions work?” and look at how to perform one.

What is an Intervention?

An intervention in substance abuse is when people who care about the addict come together at a planned time to talk to the addict about their substance use disorder in an effort to make them suddenly come to the realization that they need help. It can be done with just one person and the addict, but usually involves several people in the addict’s life to present a more united front. Peer pressure is among the forces at play in an intervention that can help the addict see that they need help.

Do Interventions Work for Addiction?

Many of us know what interventions are, based on what we’ve seen in movies and television shows, but in reality, do interventions work? According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the answer to the question “do interventions work for addiction?” is yes. According to their data, if the services of an intervention specialist are used, then 90 percent of interventions will result in success, which in this case is getting professional help for a problem that they can no longer handle alone.

How to Do an Intervention with an Alcoholic or Drug Addict

During an intervention, everyone’s emotions can be highly charged. The easiest mistake that people make during an intervention is letting their emotions get the better of them, turning the exercise into a witch hunt. The ultimate goal of the intervention is to make the person realize the damage that their substance abuse is causing and that the abuse of drugs or alcohol is a disease that requires professional care to beat.

The ways on how to do an intervention with an alcoholic or drug addict are as follows:

  • Avoid blame, shame and yelling – It is understandable that you may have many strong emotions regarding the addict’s behavior, but there is a time and place to work through those issues and an intervention is not that place. Remember that addiction is a disease and you wouldn’t place blame on or get angry with someone with cancer. Simply make them aware of how certain situations have made you feel – be open and vulnerable.
  • Keep it simple – There will likely be a few people in the intervention and each person should keep their points as simple and concise as possible. The best way to get to this is to write down your feelings and thoughts before you go to the meeting.
  • Addiction intervention specialist – One of the best ways to ensure that the intervention doesn’t get out of hand is to hire a professional to help. An intervention specialist can help with the planning and execution of the intervention.
  • Provide treatment options – Do not just tell the addict to get help, instead provide the means for them to get help right after the meeting. Make preparations with a rehab before you have the meeting and if the addict doesn’t go, follow through on your actions, such as asking them to move out.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/resource-guide-screening-drug-use-in-general-medical-settings/screen-then-intervene-conducting-brief-intervention