Alcoholism Treatment Option: Conducting an Intervention

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : MARCH 23, 
| 2 Sources

An intervention can be a life-changing alcoholism treatment option where loved ones and friends get together and persuade the problem drinker to seek immediate help for his or her addiction.

The process begins by forming an intervention group or team. Those involved have close personal ties to the drinker, a deep concern for his or her well being, and have first-hand knowledge of the alcoholic's behavior or symptoms.

The team then meets and plans the strategy for confronting the drinker, including place, time and approach. According to the American Council on Alcoholism, the intervention teem must approach the drinker in an objective and caring way, and explain the realities and consequences of his or her drinking.

By showing examples of the alcoholic's troublesome behavior, this alcoholism treatment option helps pull down the alcoholic's wall of defenses. The drinker is forced to see and understand the effects of his or her alcoholism.

This process causes discomfort and distress because the drinker is shaken out of denial, which is pivotal in the decision to get help for the problem.

Intervention Recommendations

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends the following recommendations to facilitate a successful intervention:

  • Stop protecting the drinker from the natural consequences of substance abuse so he or she can see the scope of the problems that occur as a result of his or her behavior.
  • Seize timing opportunities to schedule the intervention, such as after an accident or major problem resulting from drinking, where the alcoholic may be more open to involvement from others.
  • Planning is essential. Everyone involved in the intervention should get together in private, along with a qualified intervention professional, to discuss the process and responsibilities. In addition the intervention needs to be planned when there is assurance that the drinker will be sober.
  • The alcoholic must be told what loved ones will do to protect themselves if he or she does not seek assistance. This should not be positioned as a threat; rather, a candid explanation of intended actions.

    Examples include refusing to join the drinker in alcohol-related social activities, moving out of the home, divorce, and other necessary actions to stay out of harm's way.
  • Research treatment options (and even consider setting a preliminary appointment) so immediate action can be taken if the intervention succeeds and the alcoholic agrees to seek treatment. Offer to accompany him or her on the appointment.

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

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