Often the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the word intervention is the long-running A&E TV show of the same name.

It paints a riveting, harrowing and sometimes hard to watch portrait of addiction and how tough it is to get someone the help they desperately need. While the drama is amplified for TV, interventions don’t routinely escalate into the fireworks on the show, the general concept and point of what you see is the same in real life.

The idea is to get people into addiction treatment.

An intervention specialist is the one that creates the plan to give that outcome the highest likelihood of this happening. 

On a deeper level, according to the Association Of Intervention Specialists, “the interventionist is the individual who helps identify the appropriate people in the life of a person who is experiencing substance use, mental or behavioral health problems that will become an influential part of a recovery team. The team will enable their person and family to accept treatment and recovery. The interventionist supports, educates, provides guidance, direction and training, as well as the facilitation of the intervention and aftercare”.

Drug Intervention: Who Needs One?

Unfortunately, there’s no set in stone answer to that question. Each case of addiction is unique and therefore the solutions are always uniquely tailored.

If you have a loved one struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, you’ve most likely already noticed how fruitless it’s been to suggest that they just cut back or seek help. They don’t want to hear it because, in their minds, they don’t have a problem. There’s nothing to seek help for in their view.

There are signs you can look for that would clue you in on if it’s time to go the intervention route:

  • Tolerance is markedly increased
  • Physical appearance changes dramatically
  • Moodiness and volatile emotionally
  • Work, school and/or family life are suffering
  • Increasing isolation

What Happens During an Intervention?

At a certain point, you’ve reached your limit. It’s a tragic place to arrive as a family member or a friend. You simply can’t take it anymore and confronting the drug or alcohol abuse head-on is the only remaining option.

The Mayo Clinic does an excellent job breaking down what happens before, during and after an intervention:


  • Make a plan – This is where the intervention specialist comes in, this is a very intense situation and having a pro from the outset makes things easier. 
  • Gather information – Understanding the scope of the problem and the best treatment options.
  • Form the intervention team – It’s critical to involve the right people from the family and friend circle. Those who will have the most impact on the user. Then rehearse the message and set the plan in stone.
  • Decide on specific consequences – Arguably the toughest scenario is if your loved one refuses help and you and your intervention team need to lie out the steep consequences of that choice. You need to be ready to stick to those 100%.
  • Make notes on what to say – Given the emotionally charged nature of an intervention, it’s critical to write your message down. With care, explain how addiction has created issues, financially and emotionally.
  • Hold the intervention meeting – Get your loved one to the chosen location and enact the plan you formulated. Everyone expresses their feelings and treatment options are made available which need to be accepted right there and then.
  • Follow up – Make sure the treatment is on course and that you remain completely supportive and available


Who to Talk to About Intervention

Even having to consider an intervention is understandably emotionally taxing. Addiction isn’t something anyone plans for but once it happens, it’s at least possible to plan for a way out. At Lake Arrowhead Recovery Network, we can help you decipher if intervention is the right move and then connect you with an intervention specialist well-suited for your particular needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

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