Is it Time for an Intervention?

If someone you love is struggling with a long-term addiction to drugs or alcohol and your entire family is living in chaos, it may be time to consider an intervention. You’ve tried everything and you’re exhausted and feeling hopeless, but how do you know for sure an intervention is the best step?

An intervention is a drastic move and there’s no ironclad guarantee it will work. However, although the process is complicated and frightening, intervention may be the first step on the road to recovery.

Is it Time to Contact an Interventionist?

Often, you may have a gut feeling that it’s time for an intervention. If you aren’t quite sure, the following guidelines may help you decide:

  • Does your loved one have legal problems as a result of addiction to drugs or alcohol? For example, has he been arrested or imprisoned for drunk driving, public intoxication, or dealing illegal drugs?
  • Does your friend or family member have health problems stemming from use of drugs and alcohol? Has she been treated for liver disease or problems with her heart and lungs? Has she been hospitalized for an overdose?
  • Is your loved one using drugs or alcohol compulsively? Does he drink or use drugs first thing in the morning? Has he tried to stop or cut back with no success?
  • Safety issues are always worrying and might indicate it’s time for an intervention. Does your loved one drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Have there been problems with aggression, domestic violence or assault? Are you concerned that your friend or family member may hurt himself or other people?
  • Financial problems are common for people struggling with serious addictions. Is your loved one supported by family and friends? Do you frequently give or lend her money? Are you paying for rent, groceries or other expenses? Are you sacrificing your own needs to help your addicted family member?

If it’s Time to Plan an Intervention

If you determine it’s time for an intervention, don’t attempt it on your own. Emotions can run high for everybody involved and your loved one may be defensive, or in some cases, belligerent or aggressive.

Even if you do everything right, things can go wrong and your carefully planned intervention can end up doing more harm than good. A trained interventionist can guide the entire process and diffuse the situation if things go awry, and will also help you recognize ways in which you may be enabling the addiction.

As your loved one’s physician or medical provider to recommend an intervention specialist if you aren’t sure how to proceed. You can also contact a drug and alcohol treatment center or rehab in your area. Most addiction treatment centers have an interventionist on staff.

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