Does My Loved One Need an Intervention?

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Is it time for an intervention?

Years ago there was a TV show called Intervention, people with alcohol and drug addictions were confronted with their addiction and subsequent behaviors, by a professional Interventionist, their friends, and family.

Before the 80s, not many people had even heard of the term, however as awareness of the negative effects of alcohol and drug use became more mainstream and as society’s views about addiction shifted from something to hide, to something to get help for, so did our means of addressing the situation. With people often being less concerned with the stigma than with allowing a cycle to continue.

So while we may all be quite familiar with the term intervention and maybe even understand what an intervention is,  does that mean any one of us is prepared to conduct a successful intervention?

There are a few things to consider before planning an intervention, as bad timing and disorganization can have undesirable consequences.

How Does an Intervention Work?

There are a variety of methods used to conduct an intervention, but in most cases, close friends and family meet with the loved one suffering a substance abuse or alcohol-related problem and share their feelings on the matter as well as explain how the individual’s drinking affects them. Oftentimes, it’s best to involve a professional interventionist to “moderate” the session. Having an objective person in the room can keep things organized, prevent tempers and emotional outbursts from derailing the intervention, and ensure a positive result.

Intervention FAQ

That is a great question, not every situation will require one. The occasional night of overconsumption or a brief period of drinking too much don’t usually indicate that someone needs to go through an intervention, and neither scenario suggests someone needs to participate in rehab. If the loved one in question is self-medicating with drugs or alcohol daily, has lost control of their relationship with alcohol or has begun to opt out of family and responsibilities to use or to drink, then perhaps it is time to plan an intervention to get them the professional help they need.

A: Family closest to the individual with the addiction, along with close friends may be present. Young children should not be present unless they are very mature and have something meaningful to contribute.


A: Somewhere both familiar and soothing for the individual. It could be in their home, a close friend’s home or somewhere private that the person in question is familiar with. Due to the sensitive nature of an intervention, public places like restaurants or coffee shops should be avoided.


A: Choose a time that is convenient for your loved one with the addiction. Perhaps after work or school, and make sure that the person in question doesn’t know about the intervention in advance as this could lead to them skipping out entirely or preparing answers to questions and concerns that placate those participating in the intervention. After all, the point is to urge the individual to seek professional treatment and enter rehab.


A: If you have decided to involve a professional interventionist, they should guide everyone through the process. If it was decided that a close friend or family member should take charge of the intervention, ensure that this person is capable of leaving their emotions at the door. Objectivity is paramount to a successful outcome, as well as ensuring the individual seek the treatment they need.