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When family members and friends gather together to confront a loved one about his or her substance abuse problem, it’s frequently known as an intervention, explains the United States National Library of Medicine.

The goal of an intervention is to convince an individual to enter a treatment program by making it clear how his or her substance abuse is affecting family and friends. Similar to other methods of treatment or trying to convince someone to seek it, interventions come with their own set of pros and cons. Staging an intervention may or may not be right in your situation.

Learning more about the advantages and disadvantages of having one for someone you care about can help you decide if an intervention is the best approach.

The Pros of Staging an Intervention

  • It’s a Carefully Planned Group Approach.
  • Rather than approaching someone about their substance abuse on the spur-of-the-moment, an intervention is carefully planned with several other people. The group approach can alleviate nervousness felt by one person and add strength to the effort to convince the individual to seek treatment.

  • Loved Ones Can Share Feelings.
  • It’s beneficial to have someone to speak with about the effects substance abuse has had on the family. Also helpful is the opportunity family members and friends have to express their thoughts and feelings to the person abusing drugs or alcohol.

  • Treatment can be Prearranged.
  • Part of the intervention preparation often involves contacting a treatment facility and having options set up so a loved one can enter treatment immediately following the intervention. This approach reduces the possibility of someone to change his or her mind by eliminating the time factor.

  • Specific Boundaries are Created.
  • During the intervention, participants tell the individual what their consequences will be for continued substance abuse. Setting boundaries lets the person know everyone is serious, while potentially making it more difficult for the individual to continue their habit.

The Cons of an Intervention

  • It’s a Highly Charged Situation.
  • Interventions can become very emotional. Both the person abusing drugs or alcohol and the family members can become angry. Strong emotions expressed through yelling can be counterproductive in an intervention.

  • Feelings of Betrayal can Develop.
  • Even if a loved one is in dire need of help, he or she can feel betrayed by everyone ganging up them.

  • Participants Might Back Out.
  • People participating in the intervention might be too scared, upset or stressed out to take part. Last-minute no-shows can decrease the strength of the intervention.

  • The Individual Might Show Up Under the Influence.
  • Ideally, an intervention should take place when the individual is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Is an Intervention Right in Your Situation?

interventionA professional counselor or staff member at a rehab center can provide beneficial information as you determine whether or not an intervention is the best approach.

Speaking with an expert can also help you with other alternatives if you decide that it’s not the best option for your loved one.

Whichever route you choose to take toward getting someone help for a substance abuse problem, it’s important to obtain support for yourself and other family members, too.

Drug and alcohol abuse impacts the entire family, not just the individual. By seeking family support, you’ll be better able to help a loved one who needs treatment for a substance abuse problem.