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Do Addiction Interventions Really Work?


Over 29 million people in the US have an alcohol use disorder, while 24 million suffer from a drug use disorder. And with the increasing number of alcohol and drug abuse cases, implementing immediate solutions to control the situation has become inevitable. Thus, families and friends often have to stage interventions to show concern for the addicted member and convince them to rehabilitation. But do addiction interventions really work?

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence mentions that over 90% of addicted people agree to get help when an intervention specialist performs the intervention.

However, interventions may sometimes backfire as many addicts are agitated and aggressive. So, it is important to understand addiction interventions and how to stage them.

What is an Addiction Intervention?

Addiction intervention is a meeting where family members or friends sit with an addict to help them understand the issue and get treatment. Families carry out intervention as a surprise event, based on peer pressure to plead the alcohol or substance misuse to seek treatment. Families usually seek help from professionals to stage an intervention considering the reactions and risks in mind.

Interventions differ from counseling or confrontation as they use emotional vulnerability instead of logic. Families and friends do not emphasize how the addiction harms the person only but also share how it affects them. Families may mention how the situation influences the person’s marriage, and his wife might leave him if he does not receive treatment. Similarly, they may mention that there would be no one to take care of their children if they do not seek treatment and maintain health. Friends may also encourage them by showing concern and interest in seeing the addict back to the happy, helpful person he was.

The main motive for mentioning and sharing these thoughts with the addict is to make them feel how their addiction is influencing their family negatively. People often do not care about their health but are more likely to consider the needs of their families.


Do Addictions Interventions Work?

Interventions show a success rate between 80 and 90 percent.

It means that eight or nine people out of every ten interventions opt for treatment during the interventions. In most cases, the remaining two people eventually agree to treatment a week or two later.

Yet, interventions do not always result in a positive outcome, and some addicts may still disagree with treatment options and continue the same lifestyle. While interventions are usually the last resort, you may talk to them individually later to help them understand the severity of the situation. Alternatively, you can stage more interventions in the future.

How to Plan an Intervention?

Connect to an Intervention Specialist

The first step of planning an intervention is to connect with an intervention specialist for addiction to understand the process and consequences. Interventions involve charged emotions, and you may get off track; intervention specialists keep everyone on the right path by sharing techniques to tame your emotions and not get overwhelmed during the process.

They may also help you pick the right addiction intervention method, including:

  • First love
  • Tough love
  • Systemic family approach
  • Crisis intervention
  • ARISE intervention

Design a Strategy

The next step of the intervention process is to make a strategy and plan for the intervention. It involves identifying who will perform the intervention, the location and time, and if you will give an ultimatum. The intervention specialist will help you decide the best strategy and the right set of people for effective results in your particular scenario.


When you form a group and decide on the time and venue of the intervention, it is important to research your loved one’s condition and suitable solutions. As a team, you must find beneficial facilities and programs you can refer to when they are ready for treatment; it will enable you to have a proper plan after the addict decides to seek treatment.

Make Notes and Rehearse

You can conduct a successful intervention when the team knows what to say and how. Everyone should write letters, make notes regarding their points, and rehearse saying them to the addicted family member. The way of communicating your feelings to the person makes a huge difference if addiction interventions really work.

Hold the Meeting and Follow-up


Invite or bring your loved one to the intervention venue without mentioning the reason and stage of the meeting. Tell them what you rehearsed and respond to the reaction accordingly. Once you have held the meeting and they decide to seek treatment, follow up with the doctors to monitor their participation and progress. If you fail to track the treatment, the addict might relapse.

The Bottom Line

Addiction interventions are meetings involving peer pressure and charged emotions where families and friends convince addicts to understand the problem and get treatment. Peer support is also effective in any matter. Families of addicted people often ask, “Do addiction interventions really work?” The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence mentions that over 90% of addicted people agree to get help when an intervention specialist performs the intervention. You can connect to an intervention specialist to learn more about interventions and rehearse before the meeting. It allows you to prepare for reactions and consequences without getting overwhelmed.

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