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Interventions: How Does it Work?

August 30, 2022

What is an Intervention?

An intervention is a carefully planned process in which family or friends and certified professionals such as an interventionist come together in support or a loved one struggling with addiction. The meaning of an intervention is to help put the loved one struggling on the road to recovery and being a solid support group for that individual and each other.
Not only are interventions used for drug and alcohol abuse, but also for many other addictions such as gambling or eating. During these interventions, friends’ family and the interventionist to confront the loved one with substance addiction and ask them to enter treatment. This process involves many steps and preparation as well as courage on all parts.

How Does Intervention Work?

There are seven healthy steps to setting up an intervention according to the Mayo clinic.

Step 1 includes making a plan by consulting with family as well as a professional counselor, addiction professional, a psychologist, a social worker, a mental health counselor, or an interventionist.

Step 2 involves gathering information of the extent to which your loved one is addicted and coming up with treatment plans and programs ahead of time.

Step 3 is forming the intervention team. The invention team is who will be present during the intervention.

Step 4 includes deciding on specific consequences. If your loved one refuses treatment, there should be consequences such as moving out and no more enabling the drug abuse.

Step 5 would be making notes on what you will say in the intervention. The people on the intervention team will discuss the toll the loved one with addiction problems has taken on them, as well as specific incidents that caused harm, but this must all come from a place of love and understanding.

Step 6 Is when you have the intervention meeting. You ask the loved one to come to where the meeting will be held, without letting them know that it is an intervention. Each intervention team member will have a turn to express their feelings about the loved one’s addiction and the loved one will be asked to enter treatment that day.

The final step is following up and helping the loved one stay in treatment by staying supportive and sometimes this involved getting your own treatment. It’s important to know ho to do an intervention for drug abuse because a poorly planned intervention can result in the loved one staying addicted.

Who Should be on an Intervention Team?

Generally, the intervention team would be four to six people or no more than ten people including close friends and family of the loved one with addiction. These should be people that the person with addiction respects, loves, looks up to, or depends on.
It’s crucial to not include people whom the loved one does not enjoy being around as well as excluding family with mental health issues that are not being properly managed, anyone with addiction problems, or anyone who may sabotage the intervention.
While these individuals should not attend the meeting, they may write a letter that the loved one can read during the intervention. It’s important to not completely overwhelm the loved one with addiction during this meeting, it should come from a place of love and support.
An intervention is not something that should be coercive, based in shame, angry, hurtful, or an ambush.

How Does a Typical Intervention Work?

There are many types of interventions for drug and alcohol abuse such as crisis intervention, brief intervention, the Johnson model, ARISE, SMART, and family systemic intervention. The Johnson model is most widely used for substance addiction. It works to start treatment and detox in individuals struggling from drug or alcohol abuse.
Primary intervention from drug abuse involves setting up a plan between the intervention team and the interventionist.
A few things to avoid when planning an intervention include:

  • Not using the words addict, junkie, alcoholic, etc.
  • Having too many people be apart of the intervention can cause the loved one to not want to seek treatment
  • Being upset during the intervention can also cause more problems
  • An intoxicated person whether on the intervention team or the subject getting the intervention

Nursing plan interventions for drug and alcohol abuse include providing support for the loved one to stop using while providing coping mechanisms and facilitate new ways of learning while providing other benefits like family and friend growth and promoting the family to stay involved as well.

How Do You Find a Treatment Program that Offers Intervention?

One of the most crucial factors of an intervention is having treatment readily available for the individual. It’s important to know and ask how do you find a treatment program to offer at the intervention?
The best way to find the right treatment programs is to consult with an addiction professional. Treatment options will vary depending on the individual. Treatment includes detox, inpatient and outpatient services, counseling, 12 step programs, support groups, sober living and more.
If you are seeking an intervention program for a loved one here are some great services to help point you in the right direction. These services provide help with setting up interventions as well as planning for interventions and providing treatment afterwards.

  1. Prescott, Arizona – Crisis Intervention – Northern Arizona Center for Addiction (
  2. Saint Charles, Illinois – Chicago Rehab: Drug & Alcohol Inpatient Treatment (
  3. Sacramento, California – New Dawn Interventions, Treatment Center, Sacramento, CA, 95827 | Psychology Today
  4. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida – JourneyPure ® » Take Back Control Over Drugs & Alcohol

If you or a loved one is seeking information on addiction or mental health resources please call (888) 564-4780.

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