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Drug and alcohol interventions
What is an intervetion?
Drug vs. alcohol interventions

Drug and Alcohol Interventions

Drug and alcohol abuse affects more than 13.2 million American citizens today despite the numerous drug and alcohol rehab facilities clustered all over the country.


An intervention is a problematic situation that needs prior and effective planning to work smoothly and achieve desired results. If your loved one misses deadlines, stops enjoying activities loved before, and does not properly function without using alcohol or any other drug, consider staging an intervention.

It is normal to talk to a loved one who is slowly alienating himself from others due to substance abuse, but it is not easy to ask what more you can do, tag along as we unravel the ins and outs of successful interventions.

What is an Intervention?

A gathering of loved ones and friends voicing their concerns to someone struggling with addiction is an intervention. These loved ones explain their feelings, references, and thoughts regarding the victim's substance abuse. An intervention specialist might come in handy during meetings, though this is not a must-have requirement.


Loved ones might feel an intervention is necessary when they become worried about a victim's continued substance abuse and do not want risky behaviors to emerge afterward. Interventions attempt to highlight the potential effects of the individual’s conduct and hopefully influence the addict to consider treatment. Interventions benefit individuals struggling with various addictions such as gambling, alcohol, untreated mental illnesses, drugs, etc.

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Drug vs. Alcohol Interventions

You might think drug and alcohol interventions defer, but they do not contrast too much. They are generally similar. The only difference is that professional support is different, and treatment is tailored specifically to an individual's problem substance. 


Alcohol interventions might include professionals showing up and speaking to the victim instead of the family members or loved ones- AA intervention. This is especially vital when the patient is at the detox stage and requires a robust support system to deal with the withdrawal process.


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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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When Intervention is Necessary?

When intervention is necessary?

It is hard to know when an intervention is necessary because families affected by addiction struggle with codependent behaviors stopping them from admitting a problem or confronting a loved one. Others in the family might deny that the subject abuses drugs or alcohol and hence become unsure when to conduct the intervention.


So, the first step is acknowledging when a substance use disorder is present. This usually leads to negative physical, mental and emotional symptoms, yet the individual continues abusing the substances. However, an individual with an addiction might develop tolerance to alcohol or drug substances, engage in illegal and risky behaviors, and have problems at work or school.


However, the causes above do not necessarily mean your loved one requires an intervention, only when the substance abuse interferes with the individual's daily functioning. Remember that individuals struggling with addiction usually battle co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety, or other mental health illnesses.

Who Benefits From an Intervention?

Who benefits from an intervention?

Once substances hamper your daily functioning, you struggle with addiction and need urgent help. People alienating family and friends face legal issues, experience adverse career outcomes, and physical or psychological damage from substance abuse also needs treatment.

An intervention proves effective when treatment attempts have failed to lead these people toward treatment. But you should also note that an intervention should not be your first option when you stress over a loved one's substance use. Consider speaking about your feelings to the person before staging an intervention.

Having several hangovers or being unable to hold down a job due to sobriety issues are not enough reasons to call for an intervention. However, if their behaviors persist even after you express your concerns, you might want to stage an intervention. But there is no specific behavior that warrants an intervention since the activity is context-specific; also, try talking to a substance abuse specialist to get other possible options.

How Interventions Work

How interventions work

An intervention involves a room full of loved and trusted people talking to a subject of substance addiction. These loved ones share their concern, tell the individual they care about, and explain how the substance abuse behaviors affect them. An individual in such a position will likely resort to treatment much more quickly.

The individual notices the time and effort to stage the intervention, see the situation's gravity, and take the individual out of denial. Once the person is out of denial and realizes people around them are suffering, they make a step to make better decisions in the end.

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What Happens During Interventions

What happens during interventions?

First, the group staging the intervention plans the event; who will speak, what they will say, the place and time- not telling the victim about anything. This sounds dishonest or a staged ambush, but this maximizes the group's efforts, leaving the victim no choice but to go through with it. The group gathers in a room, tells their struggling member the location and time, and begins with the intervention.

After the individual arrives, group members start sharing how the subject's behavior has affected them and voice their concerns for the individual's wellbeing. If some have a pre-written letter, they read it aloud. But letter reading isn't necessary if you did not plan on it in the initial planning stage. However, letter writing ensures that no one says an insensitive or counterproductive comment during the intervention.

Make sure everyone speaks in a tone that tells the loved one they need treatment. Remember not to shame, punish or humiliate the individual.

Staging an Intervention

Staging an intervention
  • Will insurance cover drug and alcohol rehab?
    Private insurance is the most common and effective payment method for addiction treatment. It can pay for a significant number, if not all, of your rehabilitation appointments. Thanks to the efforts by private lobbyists and the government, rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction is now a mandatory benefit under insurance after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • Paying for addiction treatment
    Ways to Pay for Addiction Treatment Here are the five points for financing that might be helpful for your treatment: ​ 1. Insurance 2. Self-Pay or Payment plan 3. Loan or second mortgage 4. Funding or Scholarships 5. Family Insurance ​ If a person has some benefits, they can use them for treatment and take advantage of insurance. If you use health insurance providers so that you can recover yourself from addiction because they collect payment regularly or they have scheduled their income as well. Self-Pay ​ The second method is self-pay, and in this method, you can pay for treatment in lump sums or months and create a payment plan so that you can pay weekly, monthly, or whatever you choose the way to treat. Loan ​ The third method to pay is a loan. You can take a loan or a second mortgage from those homeowners. Funding or Scholarships ​ If you do some research, then you can find a lot of funding or scholarships for you that are available to you there. Family The last method to pay is family. Your family can help you financially with your treatment. There are many options available for you as a key for financial assistance so that you can choose one of these methods for addiction treatment.
  • Will I lose my job if I go to rehab?
    Employees who get treatment for addiction while still at work are protected by the ADA and other laws like the MHPAEA, the ACA, and the Family Medical Leave Act, which all work together to make them eligible to return to work after the treatment.
  • How much does addiction treatment cost?
    Depending on your needs, treatment options for addiction vary from extensive medical detox to inpatient (or residential) care plans to less intensive outpatient ones. If your addiction is chronic or you are also grappling with a dual diagnosis, then long-term care at a residential facility is often the best option; but it is more costly. It's even more expensive when your situation necessitates the consultation of many specialists and the administration of costly drugs.
  • When is it time to go to rehab?
    Many believe that a person does not need to go to rehab, even if they struggle with the most severe addiction withdrawal symptoms. Still, studies show that last year almost 100,000 people died in the United States due to substance use disorder or overdoses. As 22 million people are suffering from addiction to either drugs or alcohol, there is a need to talk about this subject more casually. Many people don’t go to rehab because they feel ashamed of being addicted. There is a need to make them realize that no one can judge them if they see any symptoms; they should decide to visit a rehab as soon as possible.

If you want to stage an intervention but do not know the best way to go about it, follow the below footsteps. But before that, first, determine who needs to be there and contact close familiar loved ones:

The Effectiveness of Drug and Alcohol Interventions

Effectiveness of interventions

Alcohol and drug interventions are effective because they push individuals struggling with addiction to get the necessary medical help. But when done improperly, interventions elicit a negative response from the victim. This is especially true when you harshly shame or punish individuals who may choose to alienate themselves, hence delaying treatment.

A harmful intervention is more prone where a medical professional is not present or people fail to seek the advice of a specialist. Interacting with someone struggling with substance abuse is a sensitive matter, not to mention the intricate details involved in an intervention. It damages anger or irritates an addicted person in a room full of people. At this point, the victim feels rejected and may build a protective wall around themselves and shut everyone out.


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You Can Do It

You can do it

Remember that the subject might not seek treatment in the first round; they might not feel like it after several interventions. Recovering is a slow and challenging process, and it might seem that nothing is happening, but keep doing what you do.

Remember, the point is to ensure your loved one lives a productive and purposeful life; recovering is the first step. Your work here is to initiate the process without judgment and be eager to help. Be patient since recovery is not only from addiction but also from employment, relationships, and enjoyment they may have forsaken along the road.

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