Do Interventions Work?
When a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) their family and friends will often stage an intervention to encourage them to seek addiction treatment at a rehab center. This is a delicate process, as many people struggling with alcohol or drug abuse are not ready to hear they have a problem and will come up with excuses to continue their addictive behaviors. Interventions can either be very successful or go incredibly wrong; there is typically no middle ground.

An intervention is a gathering of an individual’s family and friends to confront their loved one who is struggling with substance abuse, get them to admit that they do have a problem, and then agree to seek treatment. Although the individual may have caused harm to their loved ones while using drugs or alcohol, it’s important to stay supportive and encouraging and not place any blame on the person or attack them for their actions.

Though you can explain that their behavior has harmed people, do so from a place of love and encouragement. Otherwise, you risk upsetting the individual and causing them to become defensive or shut down, and they will not listen to the group. If an intervention goes wrong, either because people get too emotional or the individual is simply not ready to admit to their alcohol or drug addiction, this event will likely further alienate them from those who tried to get them help.

The goal of an intervention is to have your loved one agree to attend a treatment center, so it is important to not succumb to anger about their actions. Although there are chances that the intervention may not go as planned, and your loved one may hold resentment against the group who carried out the intervention, it is important to put these worries aside and hold the intervention out of the best interest of the individual.

Of course, there are ways to increase your likelihood of hosting a successful intervention, such as hiring a professional interventionist to provide structure to the event and coach your intervention team on effective methods of reaching through to your loved one. Having a person experienced with hosting interventions will increase the chances of your loved one listening to what the group has to say and agreeing to a treatment program.

Interventions do have a high chance of success, and even if the person is upset in the moment, there is always the likelihood that they will come around and agree to get help as long as their loved ones stay supportive throughout the whole time. Addicts are more likely to seek treatment when they experience an intervention than when left to make the decision on their own, although this doesn’t always translate to effective treatment that creates lasting sobriety.

Recovery is a complex process with many ups and downs, and many people will, unfortunately, relapse occasionally during their recovery. While this is a setback, it doesn’t mean that all hope is lost, as long as the individual recognizes their mistake and chooses to receive treatment again. Successful treatment often depends on the strength of the individual’s support system, so their family and friends should stay dedicated to helping their loved one get better.