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Addiction Interventions

If your loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, you want to do something. For many of us, helping our loved ones means walking a fine line between ensuring they have clothes, food, shelter, and care – without also enabling them to use more. One of the steps in that is often to stage an intervention, where you attempt to connect with your loved one to confront them with their addiction, with the fact that they need help, and with how much their substance abuse impacts the people around them. Interventions can be a powerful tool to help addicts move into treatment. At the same time, they have to be planned, handled carefully, and followed up on quickly if you want them to result in treatment and a chance of recovery.

If you’re concerned about your loved one, you’re not alone. Today, 46.3 million people or 16.5% of all people over the age of 12 have a substance use disorder. Yet, only about 11% of those will go to rehab and get treatment in a given year. Talking to your loved one, staging an intervention, and working to get them into treatment can help.

People during an Addiction Intervention

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is a formal confrontation where you directly confront your loved one about their substance use. This normally requires a significant amount of planning to ensure that your loved one feels as safe as possible. It also means planning to ensure that you can directly move your loved one into treatment after.

An intervention means planning a date, getting together with your loved one’s loved ones, moving to a safe space, and then confronting your loved one. This means gently and lovingly but deliberately confronting your loved one with their substance abuse, with how their substance abuse impacts you, with how their substance abuse impacts them, and with how much you care and are worried. The end goal is always to get your loved one into rehab and treatment, so they can safely quit the substance they are using and get immediately help to prevent relapse.

group of people during an intervention at stairway resource center

Why Involve Stairway Resource Center in your Intervention?

It’s important to involve your rehab center in your intervention from the first stage of planning. Why? The key goal of an intervention is to move your loved one into treatment as quickly as possible after getting them to agree to go. This reduces the risk of them backing out, of something happening, or of them suffering from medical complications by attempting to quit on their own. That means signing up for rehab, getting help, and having the intervention aligned with a period where you can easily move your loved one into treatment. In most cases, we can work with you to ensure your loved one can check into our detox center within 24 hours of the intervention, so they have the safest and smoothest transition into recovery possible.

Having professional intervention assistance also means you:

  • Have someone on your team to help with research
  • Have a counselor to offer input on topics, what to bring up, what to say
  • Can review your plan to make sure it has the best chance of success
  • You have professional mental health advice and assistance to help with your loved one

Here, it’s often very important to keep in mind that many people with substance use disorders struggle with depression and anxiety as well. Taking steps to ensure that your loved one’s mental health is taken care of so that they don’t become overwhelmed, suicidal, or have panic or anxiety attacks during the intervention is important. Professional advice can help you to keep your loved one as safe as possible throughout the intervention.

male client consulting an addiction treatment expert about intervention

What’s the Process?

Most interventions are completely unique and will entirely depend on the people taking part and how you fit into your loved one’s life. However, every intervention should follow the same general planning process.

1.  Make a Plan

The first step is to decide that you need to have an intervention. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already there. That means involving everyone you think should be involved, asking for help from a professional, and starting to make plans. Those plans should be:

  • Where will the intervention be held? Why? Is this a safe space for your loved one? Why? Here, you want to think about places like a family home or their own home. You definitely don’t want to have an intervention in a public space, outside, or somewhere they’ve never been before. You want privacy, a sense of comfort, and a sense of familiarity. People can react very emotionally to interventions and they may be angry, they may break down, they may feel betrayed. Make sure you have a safe place set aside.
  • Who will hold the intervention? The planning team and the people holding the intervention don’t have to be the same. In fact, they often shouldn’t be. Just because you care enough about your loved one to want an intervention doesn’t mean you’re the right person to do it. People holding interventions should be close to your loved one, trusted by your loved one, liked by your loved one, and part of their normal life. That means no aunts your loved one hardly ever sees, no estranged siblings, no one that they don’t actively spend time with and seek out.
  • What will be talked about? You should settle on an approach of what to talk about and make notes on what to say. Everyone should align these messages. Here, it’s important to ensure that messaging is about your loved one, how you feel about how badly they are doing, how much that impacts you, and how you wish they would get better. It’s important to stay away from accusations, judgement, and condemnation. Substance use disorders are mental health disorders, they should always be treated as though your loved one is sick.
  • What specific goals do you have for the intervention? Do you want your loved one to immediately go to a detox clinic? Do you want them to visit a doctor and work out a tapering schedule for their medication? Do you want them to get on a plane and fly into a rehab clinic? Setting immediate goals allows you to follow up and achieve something with your intervention.

gathering information about intervention

2. Gather Evidence

You’ll always need time to research your intervention. That means deciding what to say and how to say it. It also means finding a rehab clinic, detox clinic, etc. You’ll also want to learn more about addiction and how it works as well as how any mental health problems your loved one may be facing impacts that. Taking the time to do your research and figuring out what impacts substance use disorders can greatly add to your ability to successfully hold an intervention.

3. Have the Intervention

Once you’ve done your preparation, you should hold the intervention. Here, it’s important to stay calm, to plan to manage emotions, and to plan for emotions and tempers to run high. Interventions are confrontational. People can and will get angry, upset, belligerent, and depressed. Make sure you have a professional on hand to help you manage the situation – although it may be better that your counselor or intervention specialist waits outside.

4. Follow Up

It’s important to act as quickly as possible to get your loved one into treatment after the intervention. Normally, that means trying to get them into a detox clinic within about 24 hours of the intervention. Here, the team at Stairway Resource Center can help you with planning, travel, and getting your loved one into care so that they get the help they need.

Do Addicts Have to Hit Rock Bottom Before an Intervention Works?

It’s a common myth that people have to hit rock bottom before they will get treatment. Unfortunately, if people are stressed, see no way out, or are distracted or overwhelmed, they’re going to be able to focus less on what you have to say. Try to intervene at a moment when you can talk for more time, when your loved one isn’t being overwhelmed. That can mean taking steps when your loved one is showing signs of significant issues with substance abuse, when they have tried to quit and can’t, when they won’t acknowledge their substance use disorder, or at other points where they are struggling but not overwhelmed.

Hitting rock bottom means there’s no way out. That doesn’t provide motivation to get clean or sober. Motivation to move into recovery normally comes from family, friends, and support. Providing that will help your loved one get the treatment they need.

woman just woke up with a headache after getting drunk

What If My Loved One has Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorder?

Co-occurring mental health disorders can greatly complicate your loved one’s mental health and addiction treatment. Here, it’s important to look for a resource center that offers treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders and substance use disorder. This is important, because the mental health disorder can actively get in the way of treatment – and of opting into treatment. You may need a different approach, additional support during the intervention, and extra support and recognition of the fact that the symptoms of a mental health disorder can vastly complicate an intervention and treatment. Stairway Resources Center can offer advice and next steps if your loved one has a co-occurring disorder.

Getting Help

If you’re planning to stage an intervention, it’s important to get the planning right. That means contacting professional help and getting guidance, professional support, and the option to move your loved one directly into treatment. At Stairway Resources Center, we can provide that, complete with step-by-step guidance on planning your intervention, a safe place to stay after the intervention, and full support for mental health and dual-diagnosis complications.

If you’re ready to get started, call us at 888-450-2557 to get started.

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Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken in place of medical advice. Before making any decisions regarding your health, please consult your doctor. The staff at Stairway Resource Center develops a custom treatment plan for each of our patients. Specific medical advice will be provided to our patients by our professional providers while in our care.