successful interventions

Do Interventions Work?

Family and friends worried about an individual’s addictive behaviors may consider an intervention with that person as a way to reach out with their concerns. Do interventions work? There are many factors involved, of course, but an intervention will be more successful if guided by a professional and with all the proper steps in place.

What Can an Intervention Do?

When you hold an intervention for someone you care about, you are presenting your loved one with the opportunity to accept their problem with addiction and make changes on their own before the issues become worse, perhaps even life-threatening. The intervention offers you a platform for offering examples of how their behavior has been destructive and how it has had a detrimental on them as well as on you and other family members and friends.

The intervention also enables you to clearly and objectively explain a course of treatment that is available to your loved one and that will work best to help them overcome their addiction. They will also, as the meeting concludes, understand that they will face consequences if they do not agree to get help for their addiction.

Planning for a Successful Intervention

The first step in planning your intervention is to understand that you and other members of the intervention team need to be patient and to stick to your plans, including staying firm with consequences you present during the meeting. This can help the individual who is addicted realize the impact of their behavior on their friends and family members and should encourage them further to get the treatment they need.

Steps for a Successful Intervention

Given the appropriate amount of planning and forethought, you can have a successful intervention that works to make your loved one more aware and motivated to seek help. You will need to give specific attention to the individual’s needs and circumstances. A professional intervention specialist can help you understand how to structure the meeting to accomplish these goals. A professional can also help guide you through the drama and emotions you may encounter, so you can respond appropriately.

Let each member of the intervention team, which may include a parent, spouse, siblings, or close friends, know that they will have time to speak during the intervention. The discussion is not a gripe session and should not include any accusations that will make the individual more defensive. Rather, the members should share observations, in particular about how each one feels about the individual’s addictive behaviors, their health and well-being, and the impact on their family and friends.

Prepare a set of consequences and be firm with them. The key to whether interventions work is the ramification for the individual who is addicted if they are not willing to get treatment. Consequences can include not allowing them to use your car or live in your house, reduced visitation rights with their own children, or other significant aspects of their life which should not be allowed to continue until they get help for their addiction.

Do your research before the meeting and be prepared to present a treatment option that is appropriate and available for the individual. If your loved one agrees to get help, you want to have a plan ready for them to enter a treatment program right away, before they change their mind.

Do Interventions Work?

The goals of a family intervention are to improve the outcomes for the individual who is addictive by improving the family engagement and effectiveness in handling the challenges associated with their problem behavior as well as to improve the well-being of the friends and family members, reducing their stress and negative outcomes related to the loved one’s addictive behavior.

To this end, research has determined that the involvement of family members is important for the individual who is addicted, in terms of entering and successfully completing addiction treatment. It’s been shown that involving families in addiction treatment increases the entry rate and enhances treatment completion. It is also linked with better treatment outcomes for the individual who is struggling with addiction.

In addition, studies have shown that family-based interventions are the most effective way of preventing or treating substance abuse in adolescents. They benefit the child or adolescent and the rest of the family, including parents, siblings, and extended family members. An intervention can be effective in addressing a specific issue such as substance abuse and can also impact a broader range of outcomes, including improved performance at school and mental health.


At Whitman Recovery Service, our experienced intervention experts will help you plan a family intervention for your loved one, guiding your family through the process of getting them back on the right track. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we also provide telehealth services for your health and safety. Please call (210) 291-0278 if you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction or mental illness. Our team has the expertise to help your family begin the journey of recovery.