8 Minutes

By THE BALANCE
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Interventions are actions performed to bring about change in people. A wide range of intervention strategies exist and they are directed towards various types of issues. Generally, it is an activity to modify behavior or a pattern. In the context of substance abuse and recovery, interventions occur when family members and friends address someone with a substance use disorder in a nonaggressive manner in order to encourage them to get treatment.

Individuals undertaking an intervention try to draw attention to the person’s detrimental substance-abusing behavior. By highlighting the individual’s damaging behaviors and how it impacts their friends and family. In this article, we are going to elaborate on the term intervention with relevance to substance use and recovery.

An intervention is a concerted effort to address a loved one suffering from addiction about how their drinking, drug use, or addiction-related behavior has impacted those around them. An intervention allows family, friends, and perhaps even coworkers and employers to tell the person in their own words how the person’s drug or alcohol abuse has impacted their life.

An intervention can encourage someone to seek treatment for substance abuse, compulsive eating, or other addictive behaviors. Find out when it’s appropriate to hold one and how to make it a success. When it comes to addiction, the individual who is suffering from it sometimes finds it difficult to see and acknowledge the problem. Addicts are frequently in denial about their condition and unwilling to seek therapy. They may be unaware of the detrimental consequences of their actions on themselves and others. Often, a more targeted strategy is required. It’s possible that you’ll need to join together with others and launch a formal intervention. An intervention provides an organized opportunity for your loved one to make adjustments before problems grow worse, and it can push him or her to seek or accept treatment.

During the intervention, these individuals come together to confront your loved one about the dangers of addiction and to urge him or her to get treatment. The intervention is based on characteristics as follows:

  • Specific examples of damaging actions and their influence on your addicted loved one’s family and friends are provided.
  • Provides a treatment plan with distinct phases, objectives, and instructions.
  • If your loved one refuses to receive therapy, this document lays out what each individual will do.

Most alcohol and drug treatment programs include counselors who are trained to assist families in preparing for the confrontation, which is always held in a “controlled” environment, carefully chosen to put the person in the most likely position to listen. Often, these interventions take happen in the workplace, with the employer’s full cooperation.

The following steps are included in interventions.

  • Make a strategy. An intervention is proposed by a family member or friend, and a planning group is formed. To help you plan an effective intervention, you should speak with a skilled professional counselor, an addiction professional, a psychologist, a mental health counselor, a social worker, or an interventionist. An intervention is a highly heated scenario that might elicit feelings of rage, hatred, or betrayal in the patient.
  • Collect information. Members of the group should learn about the severity of their loved one’s situation and conduct research on the condition and therapy options. 
  • Assemble an intervention team. The planning group forms a team that will take part in the intervention personally. Team members agree on a time and place and collaborate to deliver a consistent, well-rehearsed message and a well-structured plan. Nonfamily members of the team frequently assist in keeping the conversation focused on the facts of the situation and shared solutions rather than strong emotional reactions. Wait until the day of the intervention to tell your loved one what you’re up to.
  • Make a decision on specific repercussions. If your loved one refuses therapy, each member of the team must decide what course of action to take. You might, for example, decide to ask your loved one to leave.
  • Make a list of what you want to say. Each team member describes particular instances in which the addiction resulted in consequences such as emotional or financial difficulties. Discuss the consequences of your loved one’s actions while showing concern and the hope that he or she will change. Facts and your emotional response to the matter are indisputable to your loved one.
  • Organize an intervention meeting. Your addicted loved one is summoned to the intervention site without being told why. The team members then take turns sharing their worries and emotions. A treatment choice is provided to your loved one, and he or she is invited to accept it on the spot. If your loved one refuses to accept the plan, each team member will state what precise modifications he or she will make. If you threaten a penalty, make sure you’re prepared to carry it through.
  • Keep in touch. It’s vital to enlist the aid of a spouse, family members, or others to help someone with an addiction stay in treatment and prevent relapsing. Changing daily habits to make it easier to prevent destructive behavior, agreeing to participate in counseling with your loved one, obtaining your own therapist and recovery support, and understanding what to do if you relapse are all examples of this.

There are several types of interventions depending on your goals, unique experience with addiction, and family dynamics. Following are effective types of interventions.

  • The Field Model of Intervention: This model is based on a confrontational approach without the person’s understanding. However, in this paradigm, the interventionist is prepared to deal with crises both during and after the intervention, thus it’s frequently recommended if a family fears their loved one is a threat to themselves or has uncontrolled co-morbid disorders like depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Johnson’s Model: This is the most well-known type of intervention, having been created by Vernon Johnson (“the father of intervention”). The Johnson model enlists the help of the family and a trained interventionist who confronts a loved one with a substance abuse problem without their knowledge. 
  • This technique of intervention: This is also known as the Systemic Family Intervention, was created by Ed Speare and Wayne Raiter and focuses on a family-oriented approach to addiction. The entire family or support network (including the addict) is invited to a workshop led by an interventionist to examine how the disease has damaged the family unit, as the name implies.

Alcohol misuse, unlike other addictive substances, leaves the person in question understandable and with a bit more clarity. Alcoholism has peaks and waves, whereas other substances can play with your head on a near-constant basis. Even the worst alcoholics can’t drink every waking moment, therefore there will be more periods during an intervention when they can understand what you’re saying and doing.

Anyone would be outraged if they were “invaded” when they realized they were in an intervention, but if done right, the immediate anger aspect may be removed from the issue. An intervention does not have to set them off, but if it does, those who are launching it must stay calm and collected. Even if you’re being screamed at or told really damaging things, expressing anger might be like disconnecting a lifeline. At this point, it’s not about you; it’s about them, getting them help, and getting through to them.

Drug addiction affects not just the user, but also his entire circle of friends and family. Over the years, several family-oriented drug interventions have been developed to provide concerned loved ones with an organized, solution-oriented method to help persuade someone who has a drug misuse issue to seek help. The intervention is used by family, friends, and others in the person’s life to highlight the severity of the impacts of substance abuse and related behaviors. 

What is Substance Abuse Counseling

Some people who are battling substance misuse can and do recognize the severity of their problems and seek treatment without the necessity for intervention. Many people, on the other hand, are hesitant or unwilling to recognize that drugs are to blame for their problems in relationships, health, or employment, and they frequently overlook the dangers of drinking and driving and other high-risk habits.

It is common for addicts to reject that drugs are to blame for their problems. Instead, they may place blame on other people or events in their lives. When this happens, research shows that techniques like the Johnson Intervention can assist these people to break through their denial and engage in treatment. 

There is a lack of evidence-based researches to prove the effectiveness of interventions. However, that does not mean they are not effective. Till now, interventions have mixed views. Some clinicians have worked with clients whose families have carried out interventions that were successful in getting their loved ones to seek treatment. Others have received far more negative feedback, claiming that the intervention was badly done or that the addict was not in a position to hear the comments, resulting in an even worse problem for them and a bigger divide in their family.

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