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The 3 Types of Interventions for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

If someone you love seems to be in denial about a drug or alcohol addiction, you may be wondering how to do a drug intervention. Interventions aren’t simple, and there are a number of different models and types of interventions. Here’s an overview of what you should know before you move forward with an intervention.

4 Minute Read | Published Aug 10 2023 | Updated Mar 11 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Amber Asher
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Amber Asher
Reviewed by

An intervention can help someone you love get the help they need to recover. Here are the different types of interventions.

Types of Interventions

Interventions should always be planned and carried out with the help of a professional. Depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the addiction and the unique circumstances surrounding it, you can choose from a few different types of interventions.

Simple intervention. A simple intervention involves a single person confronting the addicted loved one and asking them to get help for the problem.

Classical intervention. A classical intervention is organized and facilitated by a professional interventionist who educates the family members–the intervention team–about addiction and recovery. Planning sessions are held with the intervention team, during which roles are assigned and members are educated about substance abuse intervention techniques and what to expect during and after the intervention.

Crisis intervention. A crisis intervention occurs when the addicted loved one is in crisis and a danger to themselves or others. The goal of a crisis intervention is to get the loved one stabilized and safe, then follow the intervention with treatment.

Family system intervention. When more than one family member has a drug or alcohol problem, a family system intervention helps address the problem, identify co-dependent behaviors and emotional issues, and get the family professional help.

Models of Interventions

There are a variety of models of interventions that use different substance abuse intervention techniques and follow various protocol. The most commonly used and successful types of interventions include:

The Johnson Model

A Johnson Model intervention helps addicted individuals come out of denial about their drug or alcohol problems. A professional interventionist starts by educating the intervention team so that they can understand how addiction affects thought and behavior patterns. They practice what they will say to their loved one, which is done with love and without blame. The team chooses a treatment program, and the loved one is called to the meeting on a pretense. Each member of the team speaks to the addicted loved one about how the addiction has affected them, and the meeting culminates with an invitation to enter treatment right then and there–or lose the support of the team members.

ARISE Invitational Intervention®

ARISE stands for A Rational Interventional Sequence for Engagement, and its Invitational Intervention is a gradually-escalating process of family meetings meant to get a loved one seek help for an addiction. There are no secrets–the addicted loved one is in on the intervention from the start. This type of intervention establishes a strong support network for recovery, and this network helps to motivate the addicted individual over time to seek treatment. Three escalating levels start with an initial meeting, during which 56 percent of addicted individuals enter treatment. The second level involves two to five meetings, by the end of which 80 percent of individuals have entered treatment. The final level is a formal intervention during which serious consequences are laid out if the loved one doesn’t agree to treatment. By the end of the third level, 83 percent of subjects have entered treatment.

Family Systems Intervention

The Family Systems Intervention operates on the understanding that addiction affects the entire family system, and family members develop unhealthy coping behaviors and often become enabling and co-dependent. An intervention specialist meets with the entire family, including the addicted member, and the focus of the attention is on the family as a system comprised by individual members, rather than solely on the person with the addiction. The goal is to get the person with the addiction to seek treatment while the other family members also seek professional help to un-learn destructive behaviors that can help perpetuate a relapse.

How to Do a Drug Intervention: A Professional Interventionist is Essential

An intervention that’s not planned and executed with the help of a professional has a high potential for going wrong and making things much worse for everyone involved. An intervention is a delicate, tricky matter, but a professional intervention has a success rate of 90 percent, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

Better Addiction Care can help you find a treatment program that offers intervention services, or you can contact your mental healthcare provider for help finding an interventionist. Call us today at (800) 429-7690.


bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2020).
"Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)."
Retrieved on December 19, 2017
bullet Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2020).
"Substance Use Disorders."
Retrieved on December 19, 2017
bullet American Psychiatric Association. (2013).
"Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing."
Retrieved on December 19, 2017
bullet National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). (n.d.).
"Navigating a Mental Health Crisis: A NAMI Resource Guide for Those Experiencing a Mental Health Emergency."
Retrieved on December 19, 2017
bullet Mayo Clinic. (2021).
"Alcohol Use Disorder."
Retrieved on December 19, 2017
bullet National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). (2021).
"Alcohol Facts and Statistics."
Retrieved on December 19, 2017
bullet American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). (2021).
"The ASAM Criteria: Treatment Criteria for Addictive, Substance-Related, and Co-Occurring Conditions."
Retrieved on December 19, 2017

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