When someone is struggling with an addiction, there is often a circle of destruction that takes place as a result. For instance, at work, an addict might be affecting projects that are shared with co-workers. His or her work performance might be decreasing, and there might be loss of money or income as a result of consistent substance use. At home, there may be frequent arguments among family members. There may even be violence and a threat of losing a marriage or custody of a child. A person might even be in danger of losing their home or living situation. There are many unfortunate circumstances that result from addiction and that affect not only the addict but friends and family members too.

For this reason, those who are concerned about an addict might put together an intervention. This is a pre-planned attempt to get an individual to seek treatment for their addiction. Often, interventions are planned. All of the family members or coworkers, including the addict, agree to meet at a certain time to discuss the problem. At other times, an intervention is done on the spur of the moment and is considered to be a surprise intervention.

There are three different types of interventions as described below:

Family Intervention – Similar to what was discussed above, this is a gathering of family members, along with the addict and a psychologist or therapist. There are mental health professionals who specialize in interventions, who might attend. The loved ones aim to gently convince a family member to seek treatment right then and there. Everyone attending should make it a point to extend their assistance and show they care. This can help prevent anger or feelings of abandonment by the addict and facilitate a successful intervention.

Workplace Intervention – This type of intervention typically happens within the workplace. It is a gathering of employees, including the addict, and frequently including a mental health professional. The experience may or may not be like family interventions in that they may not specifically address a person’s addiction. Instead, a supervisor might discuss the dangers of an addiction in the workplace and encourage anyone who sees alcohol or drug use to report it. A discussion of policies regarding a drug-free workplace might also be reviewed. If a person is noted drinking or using drugs on the job, then a more formal intervention may take place.

Crisis Intervention – This type of intervention is done more spontaneously if friends, family members, and coworkers recognize that an addict is nearing a dangerous situation or even death. The goal for this kind of intervention is to complete it before a person harms themselves or others any further.

An intervention is often considered to be the beginning of addiction treatment. Yet, regardless of the type of intervention chosen, it should be noted that not all interventions are successful. Sometimes, a person might feel hurt by believing that everyone is gaining up against them. A person might also feel the intervention is an invasion of their privacy. An addict might get angry and storm out of the room instead of listening to what their loved ones have to say.

If someone you know is experiencing an addiction and you feel it might be helpful to have an intervention, contact a mental health provider for assistance.

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