Sober living

Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction

Alcohol use disorders often last a long time, can be severe, and affect the brain. Speak up when you first notice alcohol is causing trouble in their life. As with many other conditions, early intervention and treatment can help your loved one get better faster. You may not know what to do when your friend or family member drinks too much.

how to do an intervention for an alcoholic

Working with an addiction professional, such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or interventionist, can help you organize an effective intervention. An addiction professional will think about what’s going on in your loved one’s life, suggest the best approach, and guide you in what type of treatment and follow-up plan is likely to work best. No matter the outcome of the intervention, it’s important to be patient and stick with your plans to render consequences. This may help the person with the addiction realize the impact their drinking has on friends and loved ones, and may encourage them to eventually seek treatment. Try not to allow your loved one’s behavior to dictate your own health and happiness. Schedule time into your day for relaxing, maintaining your own health, and doing the things you enjoy.

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If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if AUD is present. For an online assessment of your drinking pattern, go to Here’s some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your health care provider or mental health provider. A successful intervention must be planned carefully to work as planned.

Often, simply entering into a conversation with the person in a place where they feel safe and sober is the right way forward. Ultimately, the symptoms of alcohol use and addiction can vary from person to person. The type, amount, and frequency at which a person uses alcohol will impact how they respond to it. This CME/CE how to do an intervention for an alcoholic credit opportunity is jointly provided by the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and NIAAA. More resources for a variety of healthcare professionals can be found in the Additional Links for Patient Care. Research shows that most people who have alcohol problems are able to reduce their drinking or quit entirely.

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Dealing with a loved one’s alcohol problem can feel like an emotional rollercoaster and take a heavy toll on your health, outlook, and wellbeing. It’s vital that you stay safe, take care of your own health, and get the support you need. Someone who abuses alcohol will not magically become a different person once they’re sober.

But if you want to get others involved, only invite people who your loved one likes or respects. It’s a chance for you to talk to your loved one about their drinking habits. Your teen should understand that drinking alcohol comes with specific consequences. But don’t make hollow threats or set rules that you cannot enforce. Having a follow-up plan is just as important as planning the intervention itself, especially because the nature of recovery can be so daunting and call for a person to make so many major changes in their life. An intervention is often not the first step in helping an alcoholic seek help but it’s often not the last one, either.

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Most intervention specialists will also sit through the actual intervention with you, in order to help facilitate conversation and be on hand should anything go wrong during or after the event. Join 40,000+ People Who Receive Our Newsletter Get valuable resources on addiction, recovery, wellness, and our treatments delivered directly to your inbox. Even people with the best intentions may unintentionally play a role in enabling or supporting alcohol use disorder, which is why recognizing codependency is essential.

how to do an intervention for an alcoholic

Residential treatment or “rehab” facilities provide intensive treatment for alcohol abuse or addiction. Your loved one resides at a special facility for 30 to 90 days and receives treatments such as detox, therapy, and medication. You may be worried that if you bring up your concerns the person will get angry, defensive, lash out, or simply deny that they have a problem.