In this article
Approximately 5.3 percent of people aged 12 and over in the U.S. have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).2
The number of people who have problems with alcohol may be even larger. Around 25.8 percent reported binge drinking, and 6.3 percent revealed heavy alcohol use in the past month.2
Many people who drink alcohol can reduce their intake without any professional treatment. However, many can't do it alone.
Friends and family members may decide to stage an intervention to convince someone with alcohol use issues that they have a problem.
An intervention is a meeting in which you address your loved one.
In the meeting, you explain that you're worried about their:
By holding an intervention, you can try to direct your loved one toward a:
These options can help them face the realities of addiction and put them on the path toward recovery.
An intervention allows friends and family members to offer their loved ones the opportunity to accept their problem and heal from it.
It can also enable friends and relatives to give examples of how alcoholism has been destructive and has hurt the addicted person and the people around them.
A planned intervention can also give healthcare professionals and family members the chance to explain a treatment program they think will work best.
Finally, it can present the addict with the consequences of their actions if they decide not to accept treatment.
An intervention usually involves the following structure.
Interventions usually require planning, thought, and attention to the loved one’s needs and specific circumstances.
It may be a good idea to contact one of the following to plan the meeting:
For the best chances of a successful intervention, you may decide to invite them to participate. This allows them to give essential medical and treatment information and advice.
The intervention can be an extremely dramatic and emotional experience.
It can create feelings of betrayal, anger, or resentment from the person suffering from alcohol problems.
Again, it may be best to speak to a healthcare professional to understand how to respond to these reactions.
Several people should be present during an intervention. First is the person with the addiction.
When approached, understand that your loved one is likely to refuse to take part. Or, they may leave the meeting. More than one intervention may be required.
Friends and family members should also attend an intervention. If the addict is a child, usually a parent leads the intervention.
If the person suffering from an alcohol or substance use disorder is married, their partner typically leads the meeting.
Facing an alcohol use disorder can be lonely and scary. Seeing how many close friends and relatives turn up to offer support may be an encouraging boost of support to help the addict begin to change their life.
Loved ones are often the first to begin helping the alcoholic start recovery.
In many cases, the first time an addict is approached with an intervention, they walk away.
The intervention team should respond with consequences that prove how serious they are.
Consequences depend on the person's circumstances but may include:
During an intervention, each team member should speak.
This helps the person suffering from alcohol and drug use understand each team members' concerns and feelings about their wellbeing.
Once every team member has spoken, the person suffering from addiction should receive detailed suggestions for a treatment plan.
The loved one can accept the offer on the spot. Or, the team may be willing to offer them a few days to come to a decision.
Consulting an addiction specialist can help you arrange an effective intervention.
An addiction expert will:
Interventions are typically performed without a professional. However, having expert help may be better.
Sometimes the intervention takes place at the professional’s office.
It's usually important for a professional to attend the intervention to help you remain on track if your loved one:
It's essential to consult an intervention professional if you think your loved one may react aggressively or self-destructively.
An intervention team usually consists of four to six people important in the life of your loved one.
They're typically people they love, respect, like, or depend on.
They can include a:
If you hire an intervention professional, they can help you decide on members for the team.
Don't include anyone who:
If you think it's essential to have someone involved but worry that it may start a problem, have that person write a short letter that someone else can read aloud at the intervention.
The addiction treatment and medical industries widely consider that interventions are an impactful and effective method for encouraging people to seek help from alcohol and drug addiction.
Approximately 90 percent of people seek alcoholism treatment when the intervention is performed correctly.
Additionally, people approached about their AUD are more likely to attend a rehab or detox facility. As such, they're likely to remain sober than those who weren't approached.
A successful intervention depends on your loved one’s specific circumstances.
Definitions of success can differ from complete abstinence to a significant reduction in use. Or it may be showing up to a therapy or treatment appointment.
Usually, success is based on anything that's a considerable improvement over the previous circumstances.
It all depends on:
A family’s main goal for an intervention may be to stop their loved ones from drinking until they blackout every night rather than making them quit altogether.
In this case, their evaluation of success may differ considerably from others.
Unfortunately, interventions aren't always successful. In some cases, your loved one may reject the treatment plan. They may become angry or insist that help isn't necessary.
Or, they may be resentful and accuse you of betrayal. It's best to emotionally prepare yourself for these situations while remaining calm and hopeful for positive change.
If your loved one doesn't accept treatment, be ready to follow through with the changes you showed them.
Often, friends and family experience the following due to alcohol and drug problems:
Remember, you don't have control over the behavior of your loved one with an addiction.
However, you can remove yourself and your children from a dangerous situation. Even if an intervention is unsuccessful, you and others involved in your loved one’s life can make adjustments that may help.
Ask other people involved to stop enabling the destructive cycle of behavior and take steps to encourage positive change.
No matter how severe the alcohol addiction problem may seem, most people can benefit from some treatment type.
One-third of people who receive treatment for alcohol problems have no further symptoms one year later. Many others significantly reduce their alcohol consumption and report fewer alcohol-related issues.4
There are various types of alcohol treatment methods available.
However, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. What may work for one person may not for another.
Treatment options include:
Behavioral treatments help change drinking behavior through counseling. They're led by health professionals and typically take place at treatment centers.
There are 3 medications approved in the United States to help people stop or reduce problem drinking and prevent relapse.
Health professionals prescribe these medications. They can be used alone or combined with other treatments such as detox or counseling.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other twelve-step programs offer peer support for people quitting or reducing their alcohol intake. When combined with other treatments led by health professionals, support groups can benefit.
However, due to the anonymous nature of support groups, it's challenging for researchers to evaluate the success rates compared with healthcare professionals' treatments.
In this article