6 Things to Know When Planning an Intervention

6 Things to Know When Planning an Intervention

An intervention is a planned discussion outlining specific ways a person is hurting himself and others

It’s easy to avoid confronting a loved one about addiction, but ignoring the problem only allows it to get bigger. While it’s hard to know how to help someone struggling with substance abuse, a planned intervention brings focus on immediate problems and offers direction for the next step.

An intervention is a planned discussion. It outlines specific ways a person is hurting himself and others. The goal of an intervention is to encourage a person to examine how well she is handling herself and her problems and hopefully break down feelings of denial.

Interventions based on the Johnson model exclude the addict until the very end including him or her during one final meeting. Other types of interventions include the person in several meetings and encourage him to enter treatment at the final meeting. While it’s possible to conduct a casual intervention with success, a professional intervention may work best in difficult cases. To plan a professional intervention, supportive friends and family meet with a professional interventionist to discuss the best ways to reach the person according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

Any type of intervention requires careful planning to keep the meeting on task and limit highly emotional outbursts. When thinking about how to conduct an intervention, consider the following six steps:

  1. Know When the Time Is Right

The final motivation to plan an intervention can happen at any time. A disastrous family weekend may be the catalyst, or the ongoing challenges brought by an addiction may finally become overwhelming. Addiction is a complicated disease, and many people who suffer with it are in denial about symptoms according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). When it’s clear a person needs addiction treatment but is not going to get it on his own, an intervention offers a bridge between denial and acceptance. A person suffering with an addiction is consumed with finding and taking drugs or alcohol. His obsession with his substance affects all parts of his life destroying relationships with family and friends and creating problems at work or school. An intervention offers the kind of outside perspective a person with an addiction needs to see his problems clearly.

  1. Have a Sober Discussion

A person who is high or drunk is not fit for a discussion about addiction treatment. Weeks of planning may have to be postponed if a person arrives under the influence of substances, so it’s worth the extra effort to find a way to talk to him or her while she’s sober. Plan the intervention for a time when it’s certain the person will be free of drugs or alcohol.

  1. Leave Judgment Out of the Talk

Taking a judgmental attitude with someone who struggles with an addiction sets him up for feelings of guilt, shame and anger. Discussion about problems brought by addiction should be factual and focus on specific examples. Keep statements free from judgment by focusing on how important it is for the person to get better and how much better life will be for everyone involved.

  1. Prepare Examples of How Things Are Wrong

When someone relies on drugs or alcohol to avoid her problems and responsibilities, it can be easy for her to believe nothing is wrong. A list of examples that spell out the ways she caused trouble, missed an important event or created emotional turmoil help destroy the illusion that everything is just fine. Confronting a person with her mistakes requires a delicate balance between firmness and love. It’s important to plan an intervention carefully to avoid making the relationship with a loved one even worse according to the Mayo Clinic.

  1. Get Educated About Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects a person’s behavior and his health. It’s easy to misunderstand why a person acts a certain way when he is struggling with addiction, but knowing more about the disease takes much of the stigma away. Addictive substances change a person’s brain according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Areas that control mood, attention and memory are affected, and it takes evidence-based treatments to improve brain function by making new, healthier neural connections.

  1. Take Advantage of Good Opportunities

There is no single way to conduct an intervention. The process may include a trained professional and involve several weeks of planning or months of family involvement, or a concerned group of friends and family may spontaneously talk to a loved one about her drug use and encourage her to get help. The point of an intervention is to find a way to change an addict’s destructive behavior and help the people in an addict’s life who are suffering due to the addiction.

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People fight and beat addiction every day. As neuroscientists and addiction researchers learn more effective treatments, the outcomes for addiction treatment continue to improve. Learning ways to manage the disease over a lifetime is crucial. There are many techniques proven to make a difference, the final element is making the strategies personal.

If you or a loved one needs help finding addiction treatment, call our admissions coordinators today. We answer questions seven days a week, 24 hours a day to give family members, friends and individuals the necessary information to get well. Reach out today and learn ways to treat addiction and addictive behaviors.