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Discover when to hold one and how to make it successful. It's challenging to help a loved one struggling with any type of addiction. Sometimes a direct, heart-to-heart conversation can start the road to recovery. But when it comes to addiction, the person with the problem often struggles to see it and acknowledge it. A more focused approach is often needed.

You may need to join forces with others and take action through a formal intervention. People who struggle with addiction are often in denial about their situation and unwilling to seek treatment. They may not recognize the negative effects their behavior has on themselves and others. An intervention presents your loved one with a structured opportunity to make changes before things get even worse, and it can motivate him or her to seek or accept help. An intervention is a carefully planned process that may be done by family and friends, in consultation with a doctor or professional such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor or directed by an intervention professional interventionist.

It sometimes involves a member of your loved one's faith or others who care about the person struggling with addiction.

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Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction - Mayo Clinic

During the intervention, these people gather together to confront your loved one about the consequences of addiction and ask him or her to accept treatment. A successful intervention must be planned carefully to work as intended. A poorly planned intervention can worsen the situation — your loved one may feel attacked and become isolated or more resistant to treatment. Consulting an addiction professional, such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, a social worker, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or an interventionist, can help you organize an effective intervention.

Intervention

An addiction professional will take into account your loved one's particular circumstances, suggest the best approach, and help guide you in what type of treatment and follow-up plan is likely to work best. Often interventions are conducted without an intervention professional, but having expert help may be preferable. Sometimes the intervention occurs at the professional's office.


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It may be especially important to have the professional attend the actual intervention to help you stay on track if your loved one:. It's very important to consult an intervention professional if you suspect your loved one may react violently or self-destructively. An intervention team usually includes four to six people who are important in the life of your loved one — people he or she loves, likes, respects or depends on. This may include, for example, a best friend, adult relatives or a member of your loved one's faith.

Your intervention professional can help you determine appropriate members of your team. If you think it's important to have someone involved but worry that it may create a problem during the intervention, consider having that person write a short letter that someone else can read at the intervention.

An evaluation by an addiction professional helps determine the extent of the problem and identifies appropriate treatment options. Treatment options can vary in intensity and scope and occur in a variety of settings.


  • Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction.
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  • Options can include brief early intervention, outpatient treatment or day treatment programs. More severe problems may require admittance into a structured program, treatment facility or hospital. Treatment may include counseling, education, vocational services, family services and life skills training. For example, Mayo Clinic offers a variety of addiction services and has a comprehensive team approach to treating addiction.

    If a treatment program is necessary, it may help to initiate arrangements in advance.

    intervention

    Do some research, keeping these points in mind:. It also may be appropriate to ask your loved one to seek support from a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Keep in mind, your loved one's addiction involves intense emotions. The process of organizing the intervention and the intervention itself can cause conflict, anger and resentment even among family and friends who know your loved one needs their help.

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    To help run a successful intervention:. Unfortunately, not all interventions are successful. In some cases, your loved one with an addiction may refuse the treatment plan. He or she may erupt in anger or insist that help is not needed or may be resentful and accuse you of betrayal or being a hypocrite.

    Emotionally prepare yourself for these situations, while remaining hopeful for positive change. If your loved one doesn't accept treatment, be prepared to follow through with the changes you presented. Often, children, partners, siblings and parents are subjected to abuse, violence, threats and emotional upheaval because of alcohol and drug problems. You don't have control over the behavior of your loved one with the addiction.

    However, you do have the ability to remove yourself — and any children — from a destructive situation. Even if an intervention doesn't work, you and others involved in your loved one's life can make changes that may help. Ask other people involved to avoid enabling the destructive cycle of behavior and take active steps to encourage positive change. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. Any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below.

    Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization and proceeds from Web advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse any of the third party products and services advertised.

    intervention

    A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. This content does not have an English version. See intervene , -tion ]. Switch to new thesaurus. The act or an instance of interfering or intruding: He intervened in the dispute. A week intervened before our next meeting. References in classic literature?

    Word Origin & History

    The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention , and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class. To this the king returned some answer, which, although I could not understand, yet I replied as I had been directed: The stranger kept up the gesture that recommended discretion and then, at the moment when the astonished viscount was about to ask the reason of his mysterious intervention , bowed and disappeared.

    Under the circumstances, therefore, and without interfering with the rights of free citizens, it was a case for the intervention of Government, which ought not to endanger the safety of all for the pleasure of one individual. That though the pleasures arising from such pure love may be heightened and sweetened by the assistance of amorous desires, yet the former can subsist alone, nor are they destroyed by the intervention of the latter.