Intervention for Drug and Alcohol Addiction | (2023)

In 2020, nearly 60% of the U.S. population aged 12 or older were estimated to have been currently using tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs.1 There are many reasons that someone may feel the need to use substances. Some of these reasons may include an escape from daily stressors, curiosity, or peer pressure.2 While more than half of the population may report using substances, it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between drug or alcohol use and addiction.

Addiction is a complex disorder that is diagnosed by healthcare professionals as a substance use disorder (SUD).3 Like with any disease, it can take a while for someone to come to terms with the illness, and it could be associated with a significant amount of denial.3 In many cases, compulsive substance use isn’t something someone can “just quit” easily. Being addicted to a substance is something a person will often struggle with for the rest of their life.3 Due to the complex nature of substance use disorders, as well as the potential risks and adverse health effects of continued substance use, medical and psychological assistance may be necessary for people to quit drinking or using drugs, as well as to help them maintain sobriety.3

There are numerous consequences that addiction can have on an individual, some of which may impact family and friends.4 Some of these consequences include impaired judgment, health concerns, legal and financial issues, job loss, higher stress among loved ones, and isolation from friends and family.4

If you notice signs of a SUD in a loved one, it can be challenging to determine the next steps. For some people, having a difficult conversation is all that may be required in order to bring your concerns to their attention. For others, a different form of intervention may be necessary. Continue reading for information related to initiating and conducting an intervention effectively and how to talk to a loved one about drug and alcohol addiction.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention can be described as an opportunity to bring awareness to the unhealthy life patterns associated with problematic substance use.5 Interventions are often first sought or suggested by loved ones hoping to help initiate recovery attempts. A professional with experience and knowledge of drug and alcohol addiction treatment may assist with carrying out an intervention.6

(Video) Intervention: HEAVY Alcohol & Drug Addiction Takes Over Krystal’s Life After Traumatic Past | A&E

An intervention can be initiated by friends or family members having a difficult conversation expressing their concern.7 In certain cases, a productive conversation may be all that is needed to encourage a loved one to make the decision to enter a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program. However, in many situations, it may be most effective to have a trained professional involved to discuss the person’s options and handle any potential conflicts.5

People who may initiate an intervention are the following:5

  • Significant other
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Colleagues/peers
  • Employer

Consulting With an Addiction Professional or Interventionist

An interventionist is a trained professional who can facilitate difficult conversations between people experiencing SUDs and their family/loved ones.5 Interventionists support, educate, provide guidance, offer resources, make referrals to other interventionists, and assist in providing direction and training for people who need it.5 An interventionist typically holds a certification in conducting interventions for substance use disorders, providing them with the necessary skills to navigate the situation.5

An interventionist provides an objective point of view to help connect people to treatment.5 Their presence could make a person more likely to listen to their family’s concerns and effectively offer support to both parties.5 To find an interventionist to aid you, visit the Association of Intervention Specialists to locate someone with the appropriate credentials.5

What Are the Steps Involved in an Addiction Intervention?

Now that you have a better understanding of the terms intervention and interventionist, you may be wondering how to plan one. Each situation can be different due to the varying circumstances of each person, but there are general steps that someone can follow when planning an intervention.

Research is the most important step. It allows you to identify what resources are available to you and your loved one. It can also be beneficial to figure out what approach or method of intervention you may want to take.5 While researching, you may want to determine whether you wish to have a trained professional onsite during the intervention.8 Some may prefer to have a one-on-one conversation with the person by themselves or with the family unit.8

(Video) Intervention: Nicholette’s Battle & Recovery from Drinking and Drug Addiction | A&E

Another important aspect to research would be the person’s treatment options. There are many different types of treatment for a SUD.7 Researching these will help you provide your loved one with various choices. It helps to meet the person where they’re at, so that if they aren’t ready to go to rehab, there may be another option they might be willing to try instead.7 You may also want to research treatment options or treatment centers that would accept your loved one’s health insurance.7

It will need to be decided who will present at the intervention. It is important to consider who your loved one may want to present. Then, you will need to determine the appropriate place and time for conducting the intervention. The interventionist can assist in this process.5

Finally, develop a plan for when the intervention is complete. Prepare yourself and other loved ones for what you may do if the person isn’t receptive to your efforts.9 It would be ideal to determine what consequences or boundaries you want to implement collectively as a group for the person.9 Some might include helping or not helping the person financially, boundaries around your interactions while they’re using, and decided methods of communicating with the person.9

You may also discuss how you will collectively respect your loved one’s boundaries around continuing the conversation on their substance use.9 Suppose the person decides they only want certain people active in their addiction recovery. In this case, it’s important to honor that request without getting defensive.9 Remember, the goal is to get the person into treatment, and they have a right to decide who is a part of their treatment process.

Types of Drug and Alcohol Interventions

Some common types of intervention strategies include the following:

  • Johnson Strategy: A method in which the person’s social contacts confront them about their substance use in the presence of a therapist. Typically, consequences are outlined by those people if the person refuses treatment.10
  • Family Systemic Model: The goal of this model is not just for the person with a SUD to seek treatment, but to help the family system itself as well. The three main components that make up this model are communication, support, and encouragement.11
  • ARISE (A Relational Intervention Sequence for Engagement): Provides family members with a series of steps to take to help encourage the person to obtain long-term treatment and usually begins with telephone coaching to invite the person with a SUD to a meeting.6

Learn about interventions for alcohol addiction.

(Video) Intervention: Pam’s Addiction to Drugs & Alcohol Leads Her to Lose Custody of Her Son | A&E

Is an Alcohol or Drug Intervention Necessary?

Interventions can be highly beneficial. Some people may be aware of how their substance abuse impacts themselves and others. At the same time, some may be resistant to the idea that their substance misuse has become an issue. Each intervention will go differently depending on the receptivity of the person and the level of self-awareness they have surrounding their substance abuse.12

Interventions can motivate a person to seek treatment.12 Research has continually shown that urging from family members or employers has successfully advanced people into treatment and recovery.12 Even if the person declines to go to treatment, the act of intervention can make them aware of your concerns for their well-being.12 The family’s concerns may lead to the person seeking treatment independently.12

SUDs are treatable and can be managed long-term.12 The principles of treatment include detox, medication, therapy, and preventing relapse.12 Individuals can work with a medical doctor and/or addiction specialist to find the right type of medication and therapeutic intervention.12

SUD treatment is available in different forms.13 This allows a person to have more choice in their treatment, ultimately putting them in control and able to decide what they feel comfortable with.13

When Is the Right Time for a Substance Abuse Intervention?

An intervention may be more beneficial during the early stages of a substance use disorder.13 According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the earlier that treatment is offered in the disease process, the greater the chances of positive outcomes are.13 Early treatment can also reduce the risk of overdose, brain damage, and more.12

It would be a good idea to plan an intervention around when you believe the person will be most receptive.8 You may want to consider when the person will not be under the influence of intoxicating substances.8 You may also want to avoid an intervention if they’re tired or in any situation that may be a less than ideal one for having a difficult conversation.8 If you decide to work with an interventionist, they can help you through this planning and process.5

(Video) Intervention: Kaeleen Uses Drinking & Drugs to Deal w/ Childhood Trauma | A&E

How to Talk to a Family Member or Loved One With a SUD

Communication tips for the conversation may include the following:8

  • DO:
    • Express concern and be direct, but stay calm and be patient.
    • Use an active voice and a level tone.
    • Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements (i.e. ‘I feel sad when you drink’ rather than ‘you always upset me when you drink’).
    • Listen openly and without judgment—the person’s feelings are valid.
    • Offer help, including suggesting treatment options or a willingness to attend group therapy or family therapy.
  • DON’T:
    • Lecture or criticize.
    • React defensively.
    • Be confrontational.
    • Use stigmatizing language.
    • Blame the person.

How to Find Drug or Alcohol Addiction Help

Recovery from addiction is possible. Treatment can start anyone battling substance misuse on the path to a happier and healthier life. Rehab centers are located throughout the U.S., and many offer specialized treatment that can cater to individual needs. You can use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Services Locator to search for treatment centers. Many state government websites will also provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need. To find your state government’s website, do a web search for your state name and ‘.gov.’ Once your state website is located, substance use resources shouldn’t be hard to find, and they should provide further phone contacts for your assistance.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of addiction treatment programs and has trusted rehab facilities across the country. Contact an admissions navigator with AAC today to discuss your specific needs and find an option that is right for you. They can help you check your insurance benefits and locate a rehab center in your area. You can call us free at .

Addiction Treatment Levels of Care

  • Inpatient Rehab Programs
  • Outpatient Rehab Programs
  • 3-Day, 5-Day, and 7-Day Detox Programs
  • Sober Living Housing
  • Aftercare Programs
  • Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Recommended Substance Misuse Rehab-Related Articles

  • Relapse Warning Signs and Treatment
  • Overdose Symptoms and Treatment
  • Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal
  • How to Help Someone With Addiction
  • Signs That Someone Needs Rehab
  • Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs
  • Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers Near Me
  • 28- or 30-Day Rehab Programs
  • Long-Term Rehab Programs
  • Medications for Addiction Treatment
  • Types of Detox Programs
  • Benefits of Medical Detox
  • Free Rehab Programs
  • State-Funded Rehab Programs
  • Private Rehab Programs
  • How to Pay for Rehab
  • Using Health Insurance to Pay for Treatment
  • Addiction Treatment Without Insurance
  • Free Drug and Alcohol Hotline Numbers
  • 12-Step Programs and Support Groups


What are some interventions for substance abuse? ›

Non-Medication Interventions
  • Counseling. Counseling is a general term to describe talk therapy with a professional whose chief aim is to help the patient stop their drug use. ...
  • Group Therapy. ...
  • Family and Couples Counseling. ...
  • Methadone. ...
  • Buprenorphine. ...
  • Oral Naltrexone. ...
  • Injectable Naltrexone. ...
  • Disulfiram.

What are the most successful methods for intervention? ›

To help run a successful intervention:
  • Don't hold an intervention on the spur of the moment. ...
  • Plan the time of the intervention. ...
  • Do your homework. ...
  • Appoint a single person to act as a liaison. ...
  • Share information. ...
  • Stage a rehearsal intervention. ...
  • Anticipate your loved one's objections. ...
  • Avoid confrontation.

What are some prevention strategies for addiction? ›

Here are the top five ways to prevent substance abuse:
  • Understand how substance abuse develops. ...
  • Avoid Temptation and Peer Pressure. ...
  • Seek help for mental illness. ...
  • Examine the risk factors. ...
  • Keep a well-balanced life.
Jul 7, 2021

What are the 5 phases of treatment? ›

Stage-Matched Care. Developed from the Trans-theoretical Model of Change1, the Stage of Change model includes five stages: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

What are the 4 methods of intervention? ›

  • attachment-orientated interventions.
  • Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC)
  • parent–child interaction therapy (PCIT)
  • parenting interventions.
  • dyadic developmental psychotherapy (DDP).

What is an example of an intervention? ›

Examples include tutoring, facilitator-led classes or workshops, one-on-one coaching, case management, electronic or telephone communication with participants, and sustaining the capacity of the organization implementing it. A full description of an intervention must be: Operational.

What are the 6 major intervention strategies? ›

Intervention Strategies and Techniques
  • Give plenty of feedback. ...
  • Continually monitor progress. ...
  • Clarify your objectives. ...
  • Direct instruction. ...
  • Have students rephrase your lesson. ...
  • Make sure those kids reflect.

What are the 5 A's of intervention? ›

Improvement Goal: All chronic illness patients will have a Self-Management (SM) Action Plan informed by and including all the 5 A's elements (Assess, Advise, Agree, Assist, Arrange). The 5 A's Behavior Change Model is intended for use with the Improving Chronic Illness Care Chronic Care Model (CCM).

What are six intervention strategies? ›

6 steps to create an effective interventions strategy
  • Step 1: Define the outcome. ...
  • Step 2: Carefully plan your intervention. ...
  • Step 3: Start small. ...
  • Step 4: Scale up your intervention. ...
  • Step 5: Make sure you're monitoring progress. ...
  • Step 6: Share best practice!

What are three drug prevention strategies? ›

What are the Basic Prevention Strategies?
  • Information Dissemination. ...
  • Prevention Education. ...
  • Alternatives. ...
  • Problem Identification and Referral. ...
  • Community-Based Process. ...
  • Environmental Approach.

What are the three main prevention methods? ›

These preventive stages are primordial prevention, primary prevention, secondary prevention, and tertiary prevention. Combined, these strategies not only aim to prevent the onset of disease through risk reduction, but also downstream complications of a manifested disease.

What are the measures of prevention and control of the drugs? ›

The preventive and control measures which can be adopted for drug and alcohol abuse are:
  • Avoid addiction to all these substances.
  • Create awareness about the side effects and the consequences of the addiction.
  • Treatment of the people who are already addicted.
  • Provide moral support and counselling.

What is the first step in treating a drug abuse problem? ›

The real first step in treating addiction is when the individual admits that they have a problem and opens up to seeking treatment for the addiction. For this to happen, they have to realize a motivation for getting sober, understand that they have an addiction, and be willing to work for sobriety.

How do you develop a treatment plan for substance abuse? ›

Here are the main elements of a treatment plan.
  1. Diagnostic Summary. Your provider will review your substance use patterns, medical history, and mental health conditions. ...
  2. Problem List. ...
  3. Goals. ...
  4. Objectives. ...
  5. Interventions. ...
  6. Tracking and Evaluating Progress. ...
  7. Planning Long-Term Care.

What are the two methods of treatment? ›

Types of Treatment Methods
  • Targeted Therapies: A targeted therapy is designed to treat only the cancer cells and minimize damage to normal, healthy cells. ...
  • Chemotherapy: ...
  • Surgery: ...
  • Radiation Therapies: ...
  • Biological Therapy: ...
  • Hormonal Therapy:

What are effective interventions? ›

Implementing Effective Interventions is a process of assuring that key aspects of promising approaches are put into practice as intended and to meet local needs.

What are intervention strategies? ›

Intervention strategies means various techniques utilized in teaching a child a particular skill such as physical or verbal prompts and cues, visual aids, modeling, imitation, repetition, task analysis, environmental or stimulus prompts and cues.

What is a simple intervention? ›

Simple intervention occurs when one individual, most often a friend or family member, confronts the person with the substance use disorder in some kind of neutral environment. The person performing the intervention will have better success if prior to actually doing the intervention, a professional is consulted.

What are the 3 components of a successful intervention? ›

A successful intervention depends on proper planning, presenting a cohesive message and viable solutions, and helping your loved one see the pain and suffering that the problem behavior is causing.

What is an example of positive intervention? ›

Positive psychology interventions focusing on compassion can be simple acts like buying someone a small token of love, volunteering for a noble cause, donating something, or helping a stranger in need. Kindness reinforces happiness and positivity. An example of a related PPI is 'prosocial spending'.

What is the most common form of intervention? ›

The Johnson Model is the most common intervention strategy - and the one you're probably most familiar with. It's a classic model where close friends and family surprise their loved one with a meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to help the individual see the extent of their problem and accept help.

What is an intervention checklist? ›

The intervention checklist is a guide for preparing an intervention to get a person into appropriate treatment. It is designed to be used in conjunction with the book Love First or a professional interventionist. Don't plan an intervention using the checklist alone.

What are the parts of intervention? ›

In general, intervention plans include a goal, intervention strategy, timeline, and progress monitoring method.

What are the different types of intervention models? ›

Types of intervention models include single group assignment, parallel assignment, cross-over assignment, and factorial assignment.

What are the major categories of interventions? ›

Different Types of Interventions
  • Knowing the different types of interventions is important in treating substance use disorders and mental illness. ...
  • #1: Simple Intervention. ...
  • #2: Classic Intervention. ...
  • #3: Family System Intervention. ...
  • #4: Crisis Intervention.

What is the best program for drug abuse prevention? ›

Good Choices is recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, SAMHSA, and the National Institute of Justice and is listed in The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health as an evidence-based prevention program. Learn more about the benefits and costs of the Guiding Good Choices program.

What are the three levels of prevention in addiction? ›

Based on a public health model, three types of strategies to prevent drug abuse can be discerned: primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.

What are protective factors for alcohol addiction? ›

Protective factors
  • parental supervision and communication. ...
  • participation in supervised leisure activities. ...
  • social and emotional competence. ...
  • sense of belonging/connectedness to community, school and family. ...
  • participation in positive activities with adult engagement.

What are examples of prevention strategies? ›

Examples include:
  • legislation and enforcement to ban or control the use of hazardous products (e.g. asbestos) or to mandate safe and healthy practices (e.g. use of seatbelts and bike helmets)
  • education about healthy and safe habits (e.g. eating well, exercising regularly, not smoking)

What are 5 examples of primary prevention? ›

“Primary prevention targets individuals who may be at risk to develop a medical condition and intervenes to prevent the onset of that condition. Examples include childhood vaccination programs, water fluoridation, anti-smoking programs, and education about safe sex.

What is the importance of prevention? ›

Preventive care can drastically increase your lifespan because it allows you to catch things early and treat them much easier. For example, if you practice weight management and lose excess weight/keep that weight off, you will increase your lifespan and prevent serious diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

What are interventions in a treatment plan? ›

Interventions are what you do to help the patient complete the objective. Interventions also are measurable and objective. There should be at least one intervention for every objective. If the patient does not complete the objective, then new interventions should be added to the plan.

What are treatment plans examples? ›

Examples include physical therapy, rehabilitation, speech therapy, crisis counseling, family or couples counseling, and the treatment of many mental health conditions, including: Depression. Anxiety.

What are some examples of treatment goals? ›

Examples of goals include:
  • The patient will learn to cope with negative feelings without using substances.
  • The patient will learn how to build positive communication skills.
  • The patient will learn how to express anger towards their spouse in a healthy way.
Aug 24, 2018

What is the step form of treatment? ›

Step therapy is a program for people who take prescription drugs regularly to treat a medical condition, such as arthritis, asthma or high blood pressure. It allows you and your family to receive the affordable treatment you need and helps your organization continue with prescription-drug coverage.

What are the two main groups of drug therapy? ›

The two main groups of targeted therapy drugs are monoclonal antibodies and small molecule inhibitors.

What decides the type of treatment? ›

The category to which a disease-causing organism belongs decides the type of treatment.

What are the three main types of interventions for substance use? ›

Some of the most common forms of modern addiction treatment include behavioral therapies delivered as individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy.

What are the priority nursing interventions for substance abuse? ›

Nursing interventions for a client with substance abuse include:
  • Providing health teaching for client and family. Clients and family members need facts about the substance, its effects, and recovery.
  • Addressing family issues. ...
  • Promoting coping skills.
Feb 11, 2021

What are nursing interventions for drugs? ›

Nursing Interventions:

-The nurse will educate the patient on 6 side effects from drug abuse and how using drugs affects the patients health. -The nurse will encourage the patient to indepently perform hyigene care. -The nurse will provide the patient with supplies upon discharge to help promote health maintenance.

What is the most effective treatment for substance use disorders? ›

There are many different types of talk therapy that are backed by science: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a one-on-one therapy during which you meet privately with a therapist over a period of time. It's often considered the most effective therapy for drug and alcohol use disorders.

What is simple intervention? ›

Simple intervention occurs when one individual, most often a friend or family member, confronts the person with the substance use disorder in some kind of neutral environment. The person performing the intervention will have better success if prior to actually doing the intervention, a professional is consulted.

What are the 5 nursing interventions? ›

These are assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

What are 3 interventions that the nurse can help with and initiate? ›

Classification of Nursing Interventions. There are three types of nursing interventions: independent, dependent, and collaborative.

What is the first nursing intervention? ›

Assessment is the first step in the nursing process, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA). Nurses need to understand a patient's medical history, the medications they may be taking and current health condition before they can provide proper care.


1. Recovery Options: Treatment for Drug Addiction and Alcoholism
(Carrier Clinic)
2. Alcohol Addiction: How To Detox & Begin Recovery | Stanford
(Stanford Center for Health Education)
3. How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Addiction | Genesis HealthCare
4. Intervention: Sarah's Supermodel Life & Career Ruined By Addiction | A&E
5. Intervention: Former Model’s Life Destroyed By Drinking & Drugs | A&E
6. Intervention: Alex's Alcoholism Perpetuated By a Circle of Shame & Guilt | A&E
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