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What is Intervention?

For the family and friends of an addict, substance abuse can be frustrating, confusing, and senseless. It might seem like something a person should be able to control, if only they would choose to do so.

For those who are suffering from an addiction, the reality is very different. They’re up against an extremely powerful force that pushes them to be laser-focused on fulfilling a need. Whether that need is for drugs, alcohol, or something else, it’s more than a mere desire.

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with an addiction is its progressive nature. It’s also often incredibly sneaky in the ways that it takes hold.

Addiction isn’t something that boldly presents itself as a problem most of the time. Instead, it has a way of slowly creeping into life. Over time, it often becomes an all-consuming element of a person’s existence.

The person on the road to addiction may be in a state of denial over just how influential their desire for a substance has become. Because the need for something like opioids, heroin, or alcohol has grown in increments, it doesn’t feel as extreme as it might actually be.

For the families of those who are suffering from an addiction, the process of recognizing the signs of the problem at hand can be confusing and complex. Small changes in an addicted individual may initially be brushed off as a phase or mood swing.

Changes in that person’s habits, appearance, or health could be dismissed as temporary. Unfortunately, if it is ignored for too long, addiction has the power to overwhelm its victims physically, mentally, and emotionally. The results can be disastrous.

What Can Loved Ones Do to Help?

Many families of those suffering from addiction want to take steps to help. That said, many people just aren’t sure where to start.

Whether your loved one is dealing with drug abuse or alcohol abuse, intervention is often required. But what does that entail? Many people have seen drug and alcohol intervention on TV or in the movies, but reality is frequently a very different scenario.

It’s tempting to confront addicts in high-tension moments and consider it an intervention. Human nature pushes us to want to protect those we love from self-inflicted harm. Unfortunately, impromptu drug intervention or alcohol intervention is rarely productive.

Instead, it’s important to understand how the drug and alcohol intervention process works. This frequently involves seeking the advice of a drug intervention specialist before moving forward with a plan of action.

A specialist can offer suggestions on how to set up a successful drug addiction intervention. They can also help families understand their options for drug intervention programs, and treatment services after an intervention has taken place.

the key to overcoming an addiction is to get that person the help they need and deserve

What Exactly is an Addiction?

Family members and friends of addicts often intervene out of compassion. When they see drug abuse or alcohol abuse in someone they love, they feel compelled to step in. However, you can’t help if you don’t know what exactly an addiction is.

Drug and alcohol intervention is much more successful if you have a good understanding of addiction. Knowing what addiction entails and which factors are at play helps to provide family and friends with the confidence they need to help a loved one to battle it.

A drug addiction intervention is more likely to succeed if those that are intervening recognize that addiction is a disease. Family and friends of an addict will find an intervention to be even more frustrating if they can’t accept the fact that addiction is more than just a simple craving.

The person who is suffering from addiction is the victim of a disease that affects the brain’s perception of reality. Motivation, memory, and understanding of rewards and consequences are all affected in the mind of an addict.

When the disease has taken a firm hold, an addict generally cannot walk away on their own. Their desire to fulfill that need for opioids, heroin, alcohol, meth, or any other substance becomes greater than the need to take care of anything else in life.

Signs a Drug and Alcohol Intervention is Necessary

The earlier an alcohol or drug intervention process gets underway, the better. With that being said, it can be hard to recognize the signs that addiction has firmly taken hold.

While addiction looks a little bit different for everyone, there are common signs and symptoms to keep an eye on. The majority of these show up in personality and health changes in the addicted person.


Isolation is a common first sign of an addiction. If your loved one is typically outgoing and social, but now, they seem reclusive, it could be an indication of a bigger problem.

Addiction takes people away from those who know them best and towards those who will support their addictions. The detrimental results of this behavior could show up in their professional life, as well.


With isolation from trusted friends and family members, an addict tends to become proficient in covering their tracks. Over time, it becomes easier for them to lie about where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to.


Extreme mood swings are common amongst addicts. Family and friends may begin to notice severe personality changes. They may also note a lack of interest in activities that person once loved.

Physical Changes

Drastic physical changes often occur when someone is suffering from an addiction. This may include anything from bloodshot eyes to significant weight loss. It could also include frequent injuries or constant illness as the immune system becomes compromised.

Those who are suffering from an addiction to cocaine or methamphetamines may have noticeable changes related to their teeth, skin, and fingernails. Memory loss, a notable symptom of addiction, is often also accompanied by changes in speech patterns.

Over time, addiction worsens as an addict’s tolerance for the desired substance steadily grows. Family and friends may notice vomiting, excessive sweating, or shaking if the individual isn’t able to meet their substance needs.

Unfortunately, addiction isn’t something that fades on its own. Because it’s a disease, it requires professional treatment.

The Drug Intervention Process

Nobody wants to see someone they love hurting. Addiction is dangerous and seeing its telltale signs can be stressful for family and friends. This is especially true when the person with the addiction cannot recognize the disease in themselves.

In this situation, the key to overcoming an addiction is to get that person the help they need and deserve. Because addiction is so powerful, the intervention must be strategic. Treatment solutions must be in place before the intervention even happens.

Ultimately, you can’t force anyone to receive help if they don’t want it. However, through a well-planned intervention, you can put the pieces in place that pave a potential path to recovery.

With a drug intervention specialist on your side and drug intervention programs ready and waiting to receive your loved one, you’ll be better equipped for the task at hand. There’s a real chance of not only battling the disease in the short term, but also helping a loved one to beat addiction once and for all.

What Does an Intervention Aim to Achieve?

An intervention is designed to be a friendly, calm meeting between an addict and the people who love them. If all goes well, it can be the final push your loved one needs to get help.

an intervention is designed to be a friendly calm meeting between someone with an addiction and the people who love them

At an intervention, family and friends will lay out their concerns about the addiction in a non-aggressive way. Participants will present evidence of the addiction and give testimony as to how that person’s addiction is negatively affecting those around them.

From here, the intervention moves toward helping the addict come to terms with reality. This can take time, but the goal is to have a person recognize that there is a problem at hand.

The final objective of an intervention is to get the addict to act on a recovery plan. This isn’t an abstract vision. Instead, it’s a set of actionable steps that the individual can begin to take that very day. Recovery is always the ultimate goal of an intervention.

Loved ones that are nervous or unsure about the intervention process can rely upon an intervention specialist to moderate the discussion. This may be a counselor or a doctor, depending on the severity of the situation.

Successful Intervention Strategies

There are several strategies that can help you to plan an effective intervention. These include:

Finding a Specialist

Working with an intervention specialist is always advisable if you want to implement effective intervention strategies. The presence of a specialist can provide other participants with the confidence they need to carry out their plan.

Intervention specialists can also prepare family and friends about what to expect before the intervention takes place.

Plan Carefully

When it comes to planning a successful intervention, the timing has to be right. It is best to hold an intervention when the addict isn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The intervention is also more likely to succeed if the addicted person isn’t aware of the purpose of the gathering before their arrival.

This inevitably requires some careful planning. An intervention is a meaningful moment — it should never be an impulsive decision.

Don’t Get Emotional

An intervention is fundamentally fueled by compassion and emotion. With that being said, try to keep emotional outbursts to a minimum during the intervention. The goal is to get through to the addict, not to scare them away or overwhelm them.

The planning process can give family and friends time to work through those emotions in advance. That way, you can calmly focus on what you need to say to make a difference during the intervention itself.

Work Together

Above all, everyone involved needs to be on the same page at all times. When an addict realizes that they are on the receiving end of an intervention, both anger and deflection are common responses.

If those who are hosting the intervention expect these reactions, they won’t be thrown off by them. Instead, they’ll be prepared to remain rational and calm, presenting a united front in their purposes.

Ultimately, the people that are hosting an intervention must set firm boundaries beforehand. The entire group must agree as to what they hope to achieve. Then, they have to follow through on these aims.

Typically, this means insisting that the addict in question accept treatment that very day. Requests to think it through generally lead to the addict disappearing or binging after the intervention. It’s important to agree on one standard—that everyone wants to see their loved one head to a recovery center the same day.

What Happens if Treatment is Refused?

While many interventions end positively, with addicts heading to a rehabilitation center,  many end up with the person refusing help. It’s important that the individuals that are staging an intervention know that both scenarios are possible outcomes.

The reality is that a person can only recover when they recognize a problem exists. If this intervention isn’t the one that convinces them they need assistance, the next one could be. Perseverance is key to success when it comes to interventions.

Treatment Options After a Successful Intervention

When an intervention is effective and the addict agrees to treatment, there are a variety of treatment programs available. Treatment programs and services can be customized according to every individual’s needs.

At Indiana Center for Recovery, we offer a variety of treatment options and multiple levels of care, including the following:

●  Addiction treatment for drugs and/or alcohol abuse

●  Dual diagnosis for substance abuse plus mental illness

●  EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) for trauma recovery

●  Medical detox

●  Residential treatment

●  Outpatient services

Our team of professionals works hard to treat addictions of all types. We offer programs designed to help those suffering from alcoholism as well as from benzodiazepines, cocaine, meth, opioids, and suboxone abuse.

Resources for Families

As important as it is to get an addict the help that they need to recover, family members also need a support system through this stressful process. It can be undeniably traumatic for those who are looking in at addiction from the outside.

At Indiana Center for Recovery, we offer a comprehensive array of programs and resources designed especially for the families of those in recovery. Our family programs integrate communication techniques, family therapy, and other forms of support.

We also offer resources for families with an addicted loved one that are specific to various types of addiction. After all, the stronger the family support network is, the more likely a successful recovery will be for an addict.

Get Back the Life You Love and Deserve

Addiction isn’t something that anyone should have to face alone. If you believe your loved one is suffering from addiction, the caring and professional team at Indiana Center for Recovery is available to help.

Reach out today at 844-650-0064 for more information about our many treatment options. We’re here to help you and your loved one get back the life you deserve—one recovery step at a time!