When Is It Time for an Intervention?
By: Heather R. Hayes, M.Ed., LPC, CAI, CIP

When your teen, young adult child, or anyone else close to you battles a drug or alcohol addiction, the pain you experience is palpable, and all you want to do is help them heal. But that is often far easier said than done. This can be further complicated by the fact that sometimes your loved one resists going to treatment. In these cases, family members may also grapple with the question of whether or not to do an intervention.

In the simplest terms, it is time to call an interventionist if someone you love struggles with alcoholism, a drug addiction, or a mental health or eating disorder that creates a significant negative impact on their life in several areas (at home, at work or school, and in their relationships)—and if they are unwilling to talk about it or refuse to get help.

At this point, attempting to convince, coerce, or otherwise plead with your loved one is likely to be fruitless and will probably just increase tensions and distress for all involved. Contacting a professional interventionist can help de-escalate the stress among family members and loved ones by allowing an objective, yet compassionate, third party to enter into the situation and gently guide you through this difficult time.

The ultimate goal of any intervention is for the addicted person to willingly enter an appropriate treatment program and for them to continue as long as needed with care that supports their recovery. An ethical interventionist will not only walk the family through the process of finding the right treatment program and getting their addicted loved one into it, they will continue to advocate for your loved one and follow their recovery progress for six months to a year. Because the interventionist works for the family and not the treatment center, their focus is solely on the wellbeing of the family and the addicted person’s long-term success in sobriety.

During this time, an interventionist will provide continued education for family members about what to expect at each stage of recovery and offer support along the way. They will also stay in regular communication with treatment program staff to ensure that your loved one’s treatment is progressing as it should, monitor the effectiveness of that treatment, and even facilitate a move to a more appropriate program or lower level of care, if necessary. After your family member completes their initial course of treatment, your interventionist will work with your family to determine the best aftercare plan, which may include a less-intensive outpatient program, ongoing individual or family counseling, and support groups.

For your family to be able to rest in the confidence that an experienced and ethical interventionist can provide is perhaps one of the greatest advantages they offer to you during this difficult time. As is knowing you don’t have to go through it alone and will be well cared for along the way. If you believe your family needs the assistance of an interventionist, contact us today.