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What is Alcohol Drug Intervention?

Intervention is a social process during which family and friends confront an alcohol or drug addict about her substance abuse, usually by describing how the drinking or drug-taking has affected the life of the abuser and the lives of those around them. The point of the intervention is to encourage the person to enter an addiction treatment facility immediately following the intervention. An intervention is successful if it does just that, and it is best when carried out by a professional.

Intervention is a complex procedure, and success is achieved if the alcoholic or drug addict acknowledges the fact that addiction treatment is necessary and, more importantly, agrees to go to a treatment center. Affected loved ones must be articulate and persuasive when addressing their feelings and concerns. Wishy-washy arguments or overly broad generalizations of the addict’s behavior or the participant’s feelings will likely not persuade someone to go to rehab.

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A failed intervention does not necessarily just result in the person refusing to enter a treatment center and continuing to drink or abuse drugs. The intervention’s clearing the air can actually cause the addict to be resentful of those who participated in the intervention. She may start to pull away from family and friends and seek the company of other addicts, who will accept or even encourage the bad behavior. Because a failed intervention can make the situation worse than it was before the intervention, it is always recommended to hire a professional interventionist who has experience in dealing with people similar to your addict.

Although hiring a competent and experienced interventionist is a critical step in planning a successful alcohol or drug intervention, even the most seemingly successful intervention can ultimately fail if one or more potential treatment centers have not been identified prior to the intervention. Once the alcoholic or drug abuser has acknowledged a problem and agreed to get treatment, the last thing you want to do is tell her to hang tight while you start calling around to different facilities to find one that fits.

Treatment centers for drug addiction or alcoholism operate all over the country, and no two are alike. Treatment centers differ in price, location, clientele, treatment of co-occurring or underlying disorders, and types of therapy offered. Further, not all treatment centers accept government or private insurance. When planning an intervention, it is essential to pre-admit the patient at one or more affordable and appropriate treatment centers where she will feel comfortable.

Although deciding to hold an intervention is often a difficult and painful decision to make, the work has really just begun. A successful intervention requires hiring a skilled and experienced interventionist, as well as identifying an affordable and appropriate treatment center that is willing to admit the patient after successful intervention.

Identification of either the interventionist or treatment center often leads to the identification of the other. Most interventionists will be able to recommend several addiction treatment facilities that will be appropriate for your particular case. You will likely already have relationships with admission or treatment staff members and can ease the pre-admission process. Conversely, most addiction treatment centers will be able to refer you to one or more potential interventionists who have been successful at admitting similar patients to their facilities.

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