Crisis Intervention

Addiction is often a life-or-death situation and time is of the essence. Professional addiction intervention assistance is available to concerned families in crisis. Often, families and loved ones have tried multiple ways to help a loved one before planning a crisis intervention. There is no need to wait to use an intervention as a last resort to help a person in need; an intervention may be the best way to enact change at any stage of family addiction.

AARP states that, when planned and carried out correctly, interventions boast an 85 percent success rate. Therefore, it is crucial to learn as much as possible about interventions, and to have as much assistance as possible to help make your intervention a successful one.


12 step support groupA crisis intervention is geared toward helping an individual get through some type of difficult life event. In some cases, crisis interventions become critical when the addicted person is at serious risk of overdose, death, jail, or losing custody of his or her children. A crisis intervention is designed to slow the addicted person from reaching for another drink or high. The addicted person is instead encouraged to accept support and help to deal with life’s stressors in a healthy way.

During the intervention, family members and friends present feedback and firm encouragement to the addicted person. Loved ones share how the addicted individual’s drug and alcohol habits are harmful to both self and others. After that, the addict is given the option to accept help and presented with realistic consequences for rejecting help.

For example, a young adult substance user may be struggling with an addiction to alcohol and prescription medications. The U.S. Center for Disease Control reports that 46 people overdose on medications every day in the United States alone. For this example, our young man in question is one of those individuals, and his parents are very concerned. After he has a brief hospital stay and a fortunate recovery, the parents of this individual may hire an interventionist for a crisis intervention after their son upon his return home. During the intervention, the parents and other family members present the young man with two choices: He may either accept professional help for his problem, or he will have to move out of the family home and be cut off from monetary help from his parents. The choice to get help always remains in the addict’s control, but recovery is often more appealing.

Who Needs a Crisis Intervention?

When is it time for an intervention?

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Many times, a crisis intervention is performed when an addicted person has hit rock bottom. She has lost everything that once mattered to her and has nowhere left to turn. That being said, hitting “rock bottom” is not necessary for a successful intervention or a successful recovery. With a little foresight and care on the family’s part, a crisis intervention can be preventative and stop the addicted person from reaching her lowest of lows.

A crisis often implies a catastrophic event. It is important to understand that these interventions are not just used in extreme situations, although they do apply then, too. Individuals who have been in accidents or lost their jobs due to their substance abuse are just as eligible for and likely to benefit from a crisis intervention as those who are homeless or recently arrested. Drug War Facts notes over half of the prisoners serving a sentence of more than a year in federal prisons from 2001 to 2013 had been convicted of drug crimes.

Many times, crisis interventions are carried out to encourage the addicted person to explore other methods of recovery. For instance, an individual may find him or herself facing legal charges due to substance possession or driving while intoxicated. Family members will often intervene in instances like these to encourage the addict to pursue treatment, recovery, and a different life, and stay out of further legal trouble as well.

In often more complex situations, illness may be the catalyst that spurs a crisis intervention. Specifically, mental illness affects 53 percent of drug addicts and 37 percent of alcohol addicts, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Sometimes the mental health disorder is present prior to the addiction and helps lead the addict to drug and alcohol abuse.

Helping Hands

therapyDuring a crisis intervention, family, friends, coworkers and any other concerned parties are invited to participate. Often, it helps to have more people present, because it isn’t uncommon for some participants to change their mind about participating along the way. A Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology study reports that 70 percent of loved ones of addicts who prepared for an intervention ended up not going through with the confrontation process.

Of course, the entire puzzle needs to come together for the process to be effective, but a trained and qualified interventionist is the most important piece. Generally, there is little time allowed for planning when a crisis intervention is needed, so the following checklist is a good starting point for what you should be looking for in a professional interventionist. Ask yourself if your chosen interventionist:

  • Has medical expertise in both addictions and mental illness
  • Can mediate when arguments emerge during the intervention
  • Is prepared to transport the addicted person to a treatment facility immediately
  • Is willing to work with loved ones to confront the addicted person
  • Facilitates open communication between all parties involved in the intervention
  • Has appropriate licensure

A professional interventionist will be able to calm the addicted person and mitigate poor reactions to the process. Bouncing back from the crisis will be much easier with the help of a skilled professional.

What Comes Next?

therapyA good interventionist knows that swift and seamless transport to treatment is the best approach. As soon as the addicted person agrees to get help, both the interventionist and the addict should go to the chosen treatment facility.Allowing family members or other loved ones to transport the addicted person to treatment can leave too much room for the addict to convince his loved one to turn the car around, so to speak.

In 2012, the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 2.5 million people were treated for substance abuse in America. An intervention can be the first step in the overall treatment experience. If your loved one is struggling with addiction, we can provide help. If you’d like more information on treatment, or on how to stage a crisis intervention, contact us today.