Interventionists | Treatment Programs | Addiction Rehabilitation Programs
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Interventions are widely used in the course of treatment for substance abuse disorders and other addictions, such as impulsive gambling. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 24 million people suffer from a substance abuse disorder or have used illicit drugs within the last 30 days. In addition, approximately 17 million adults meet criteria for an Alcohol Use Disorder, which includes binge drinking and heavy drinking, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The path of addiction is a lonely, terrifying place; however, an intervention can be the first step towards helping yourself or a loved one overcome addiction. Before you start calling your family and friends for an impromptu intervention this evening, you need to know a few things about interventions. You must understand that interventions require a large amount of planning, and you may want to consider hiring an interventionist. An interventionist is someone without any relationship to the person suffering from addiction. As a result, he or she will be able to objectively identify key ways in which to hold a successful intervention. Furthermore, an interventionist will walk you through every aspect of the intervention, which will prepare you for the emotionally-charged event.

How Does an Intervention Work?

Most tend to think that an intervention is merely a gathering of close friends, family members, or clergy to stop a loved one’s problem behavior. However, an intervention is actually a carefully planned out ultimatum that is designed to give your loved one the ultimate choice of getting treatment.

The intervention process can be broken down into seven steps according to the Mayo Clinic. Each step should not be skipped or halfheartedly explored as a misstep during the intervention could worsen the condition of your loved one.

Planning Is Critical

Often, a family member or friend decides to begin planning an intervention for a loved one. The first few people involved in the intervention are commonly referred to as the planning group according to the Mayo Clinic. You may need to begin thinking about speaking with an interventionist, mental health counselor, social worker, or addiction specialist during this phase of the intervention.

Gather Information

The second phase of the intervention begins with research. You will need to gather as much information about your loved one’s addiction as possible. This includes collecting information regarding problems in social situations, work environments, or school work. You may also want to gather financial information. You will need to determine which substances or addictions your loved one suffers from, and you will assess how severe the addiction has become by fully evaluating all of the gathered materials.  During the gathering information phase, you will need to begin making arrangements for your loved one to enter treatment, which an interventionist would be able to assist you with. Once you have a strong grasp on the nature of the addiction, you will need to begin forming the intervention team.

Form the Intervention Team

The intervention team consists of the individuals who will participate in the intervention. All of the members in the intervention team will need to meet at the same place at the same time in order to present the intervention to your loved one. Keeping the intervention plans secret from your loved one is critical to ensuring the success of the intervention.

Set Consequences

If your loved one refuses to enter treatment immediately following the intervention, you need to be prepared with a set of consequences. The consequences may range from removal of custody rights of children to a refusal to provide financial support. However, you must be prepared to follow through with any consequence. If you fail to follow through, your loved one’s belief in the power of his or her addiction will grow stronger.

Keep Notes on What You Will Say During the Intervention

Since each person on the intervention team needs to present a clear, concise message to your loved one, you should keep notes on what you will say. This ensures your emotions do not become the star of the intervention, and it will encourage your loved one to accept treatment.

Hold the Intervention

Planning an intervention will go to waste if you never hold the intervention. You must adhere to your plans to hold the intervention at a specific location and time. Remember that your loved one must not know about the intervention in advance.

Follow Up

The responsibilities of the intervention team do not dissipate once your loved one enters treatment. All members of the intervention team should maintain contact and provide encouragement and support while your loved one receives treatment. This will also help you identify the triggers your loved one encounters that may result in a relapse following discharge from rehab. Your continued support is needed to ensure a successful path to recovery.

What Makes a Good Interventionist?

A good interventionist can be identified by assessing three critical components of his or her skill set.

Experience With Your Loved One’s Specific Addiction

Most interventionists will have worked with a variety of addictions, but you should utilize an interventionist who has previously conducted interventions for the same addiction as your loved one.  Some interventionists may have actually been an addict, and they can offer valuable insight into how your loved one will respond to the situation.

Connections With Treatment Programs

Your interventionist needs to have a reliable means of contacting a treatment facility. He or she should also be able to help you complete all of the necessary paperwork for admission prior to the intervention. In some cases, the interventionist may be a direct employee or volunteer at your local treatment facility.

Communication and Determination

Interventionists must be masters of communication and persuasion. While the majority of your loved one’s decision to enter treatment must be based off of the voices of the intervention team, the interventionist can act as an outside opinion for how the addiction is affecting your loved one. He or she will assist in explaining the admissions process and treatment options to your loved one as well.

Rather than waiting for a tragic life-changing event to help your loved one overcome addiction, an intervention can be the life-changing event that you cause without the need for something unfortunate to occur. To get started finding a treatment facility, please visit one of our directories to locate a treatment center near you. You can also check your insurance coverage for rehab online through our site. As the largest resource for getting help for addiction, we look forward to helping you help your loved one or even yourself.

[Source: SAMHSA, NIH, MayoClinic]


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