Interventions: Does it Really Work as a Treatment?


Clinical addictions, ranging from alcoholism to compulsive gambling, can cripple a person’s ability to function in life. Thankfully, a well-timed intervention can encourage someone to seek out professional help for their addiction before it is too late.

A heart-to-heart conversation with loved ones is a great way to start the journey to recovery. However, formal intervention sessions will often be needed for the person to

recognize the negative effects he or she is having on themselves and the family. The structured environment provides a system for your loved one to make meaningful life changes, and is designed to keep motivation high throughout the process.

Planning the Intervention

A successful intervention will require a planning stage in addition to actual session time. First, consult with an addiction professional, psychologist, or qualified counselor to put together an effective plan. It’s often a good idea to contact the appropriate services at this time to learn about interventions. During this phase, it is important to analyze the extent of your loved one’s symptoms so that a suitable recovery program can be found.

How do you Find a Treatment Program?

Treatment options vary in scope depending on the condition of your loved one. Some available options include brief early intervention, outpatient treatment and day treatment programs. However, more serious cases necessitate a structured program, a treatment facility or even a hospital. Activities at these facilities can include education, counseling, family services and life skills training.

When searching for a program, it is imperative to contact a trusted addiction professional, doctor or mental health professional. They are the only ones who can tell you which program is right for your loved one.

Form the Team

Organizing the right intervention group is crucial for improving your loved one’s condition. Team members will set a date and location for the session ahead of time, where they will present a structured and unbiased message rehearsed ahead of time. Non-family members should accompany the main group to keep the discussion focused on facts and to help steer clear of painful emotional responses. Don’t inform your loved one of your plans until the day of the intervention.

During the Intervention

Bring your loved one to the intervention site without revealing the reason. At this point, group members take turns expressing concerns for their behavior, with explanations of how they should act in the future. After all members have spoke, you will present your loved one with a treatment option, which they will be asked to immediately accept. To make the proposal significant, each member will detail consequences your loved one will face if the plan is not taken seriously. You need to be ready to follow through on these warnings, in case your loved one does not cooperate.

Every team member should come prepared with notes on how the addiction has caused problems, such as emotional and financial damage. Let your loved one know how much their actions have hurt you and the family, while still maintaining compassion and the option for change. It is important to keep the conversation focused on facts so that subjective arguments don’t dominate the session.

Intervention is undoubtedly a powerful treatment option for addiction. Numerous professionals have dedicated their lives to the field, and will do everything they can to help get your loved one on the right track. However, not all interventions are successful, and in these cases you may have to leave until your loved one’s behavior improves.

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