Five Things to Know Before Calling an Interventionist

Planning and performing an addiction intervention plays a crucial role in efforts to help an addicted loved one regain health. But despite what we have seen in the media, an intervention is not necessarily a confrontational meeting full of drama. In reality, for proper addiction recovery, an intervention should be calm and thoughtful.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence describes a proper intervention as a professional process that offers information, guidance, support and education for all family members. Part of the intervention is directed to help friends and family understand how to best interact with an addicted person, how to emotionally cope with the situation and still remain helpful to all members of the family. And the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence notes that particularly when the addiction intervention is orchestrated by a professional and experienced interventionist, the success rate is up to 90%. This means that 9 of every 10 addicts who have an intervention that involves a professional will accept help.

But as said by the NCADD, most of the success will depend on how well orchestrated the intervention is. The reason behind this is that many people don’t really see the scope and implications of a real intervention. For example, most people forget that family addiction or a family dynamic is often what has kept the addiction going for the addicted individual. This can mean that more than one member of the family is addicted and that more than one member of the family is being affected despite not being addicted.

The reality is that the whole household, one way or another, suffers the effects of addiction. In a publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the implications of substance abuse are considered, not as a personal problem, but as a problem that impacts the entire family system. The paper explains that issues such as codependency, strained family relations, unique family struggles and even mental illness may affect the way treatment is imparted. All of these changing factors make each situation unique.

The Role of an Interventionist in Family Addiction

A professional and experienced interventionist may make all the difference when it comes to helping a loved one accept help. According to the Mayo Clinic, an interventionist can provide guidance to the family before, during and after the intervention. Also, a professional counselor can also be particularly helpful if your addicted loved one is suffering from a co-occurring condition such as a mental health issue or is prone to anger, depression or dangerous behavior.

However, preparation for an intervention must begin plenty of time before the interventionist meets with the addicted person. Before you call the interventionist, make a list of your questions and concerns. By doing this you will be able to better understand your own knowledge gaps and make sure that the interventionist answers all of your important inquiries.

These are five things to know before calling an interventionist:

  • The depth of the problem – The interventionist will likely ask about the severity of the problem. He might ask what drugs the addict is using, since when, how much he takes, how does he get them, what is his physical condition, and so forth. It is completely OK if you do not know the answer to all of these questions. Because addiction makes the addicted person act strangely and become more secretive, many family members do not know the full extent of the problem. Chances are, you will be able to describe the depth of how the addiction has impacted the rest of the family quite well, which is in itself useful.
  • History of the patient – History of the patient will include things such as history of past drug use, history of abuse, overdoses, if there have been previous interventions and the results of them, rehab, suicide attempts and anything else you find worth describing.
  • Mental health – Understanding and taking into consideration the mental health of the patient is critical before an intervention. The interventionist will use this information to know what methods and strategies will work best for the specific case.
  • Who wants to participate – An intervention may involve several people besides family members. The interventionist will ultimately give his advice on who should be there and who shouldn’t. For example, children can participate in the intervention without actually being present at the meeting by writing letters or drawing pictures.
  • The willingness of the addict – A very important factor that will affect the type of intervention is the willingness and attitude of the addict towards treatment and addiction recovery. The interventionist will plan the meeting according to these observations.

This whole process can be emotionally exhausting. However, planning in advance and keeping up with your plan can give stability to the whole process and the chances of success improve significantly.

Need Help to Plan a Family Addiction Intervention?

You might not know where to start seeking help for your addicted loved one who might benefit from an intervention — but we do. Give us a call at our toll free substance abuse helpline and one of our addiction recovery professionals will help you find the program you need. We’re available at any time of day or night, so please call whenever it is most convenient for you. Our information services are free, and these include finding intervention services, family counseling, medically-supervised detox programs and much more. Please make the decision to recover today and call now.