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6 minutes

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Intervention Strategies and Their Effectiveness

Medically Reviewed
Last Medically Reviewed on: July 4, 2022
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation class

Updated on

1 Jul, 2022

An intervention is an act of intervening and confronting someone in hopes that any destructive or problematic behavior of the individual will change. This is particularly used in the case of addiction. Because someone addicted to a substance can struggle to see that they need help, family members or friends may step in and offer a solution-based method to get the person they love treatment. However, family or friends’ advice may not be enough in many cases. That’s where trained interventionists step in. These professionals are trained in addressing a person with a substance abuse disorder, often knowing how to help the addict see that rehab is not only necessary but desirable to live a fulfilling life free from drugs. Fortunately, there are drug and alcohol rehab centers that employ these special workers and help the transition to drug or alcohol rehab go as smoothly as possible.

Intervention Strategies For Drug/Alcohol Rehab

Because addiction is a complex disease, intervention typically requires intentional and focused planning unless the addict is in immediate, life or death danger. However, even if a person is in immediate danger, it is wise to have guidelines on how the intervention is presented so that there is a greater chance that the addict or alcoholic will agree to treatment. Typically, an intervention is run through the following steps.


A friend or family member recognizes that an intervention may be necessary and starts to plan how it will look. It is best to consult a qualified professional counselor, especially one specializing in addiction, a mental health counselor, a social worker, or a trained interventionist during this stage. Without the guidance of one of these trained professionals, the likelihood of your loved one agreeing to treatment is decreased. These professionals can help map out how best to approach an intervention with your loved one.

Gathering Information

During the gathering information stage, a family member will do research on the addiction of their loved one and start to look for a treatment center that can help if their loved one chooses to get help.

Forming an Intervention Team

Although it is assumed that the family members looking for treatment for their loved one’s addiction will attend the intervention, it is also best to keep in mind that having an unbiased facilitator (particularly a trained addiction professional) will most likely increase the chances that your loved one will receive your concerns more openly (although not guaranteed). Because friends and family members have strong emotional responses and possible reactions to their loved one’s behavior regarding addiction, having someone keep the intervention on track without overwhelming the addict/alcoholic is extremely beneficial.

Choosing Consequences

If your loved one chooses not to receive treatment, the group may decide the consequences (e.g., they will need to move out and find their own place to live, etc.).

Writing Down What Each Person Will Say

This is where each family member/friend will plan what they would like to say to the addict. This is not meant to criticize the addict/alcoholic or shame them for their behavior. Remember, addiction is a disease. Only the individual’s behavior should be discussed, not attaching the behavior to the inherent characteristics of the individual. This note should be written in love and concern, not as a means of venting or demeaning the individual.

Having the Intervention Meeting

Without telling the individual that they will be going to an intervention meeting, have the individual meet up/pick up the individual and take them to the meeting. They need to be willing to meet up or be picked up for reasons unknown. Do not drag the person out of the house, but have a good reason as to why they need to go to the designated meeting place.

During this meeting, each individual will speak what they wrote down in the previous step and ask that the individual decide to go to treatment on the spot. Again, do not use threats to manipulate the person but follow through with the consequences if you choose to present them to the addict/alcoholic.

Seeking Treatment

Hopefully, the addict agrees to treatment, but if they do not, it is vital to your well-being to seek therapy or a recovery group that can help you live a fulfilling, peaceful life regardless if your loved one continues drinking/using drugs or not.

To have a successful intervention, following the above strategies is essential. However, other key components to a successful intervention need to be considered.

First off, it is important that the intervention team only includes four to six people who:

  1. Do not have an untreated substance abuse disorder themselves
  2. Your loved one does not dislike
  3. Will not try to sabotage the intervention

What is the Effectiveness of Having an Intervention for Drug or Alcohol Rehab?

Interventions can be extremely effective at getting your loved one to a drug or alcohol rehab center. However, it does not guarantee that they will stay there. Ultimately, it is up to the addict/alcoholic to agree to treatment and follow the protocol at the chosen rehab center. In this case, the effectiveness of the intervention depends on each case. However, to have the greatest likelihood that the substance abuser will stay in a treatment center, it would be beneficial to look for rehab centers that offer the types of activities the user enjoys.

Although the activities are not the primary focus of treatment, they can help relieve tension and distress often caused when transitioning from addiction to sobriety. Most treatment centers are run differently, so researching before the intervention occurs is vital. Remember, although your loved one may disagree with going to a treatment center for their substance abuse disorder, it does not discount the possibility of them seeking treatment in the future. Do the research, make a plan, and give a choice to your loved one.

Finding a Drug or Alcohol Rehab Center for Intervention

Looking for a treatment center that best suits your loved one’s needs can be overwhelming. Typically, researching rehab centers that accept your insurance policy is a great place to start (unless the funds are available and you are willing to spend money for a treatment center that does not accept your insurance, of course).

Additionally, check to see if they offer interventionists and detox programs. Some drug and alcohol rehab centers offer both services, so you don’t have to go elsewhere when looking for someone to help your loved one get off drugs. Furthermore, see what program activities and aftercare look like to ensure your loved one has a greater chance of staying at the treatment center and has options to help ease their transition out of rehab and into the “real world.”

Although interventions do not have a 100% guarantee that someone with a substance abuse disorder will accept treatment, they can be beneficial and effective at getting the user to consider the possibility that they need help. Whether they choose the help or not is up to them but remember that you helped plant a seed in their consciousness for treatment in the future. Reach out to a professional interventionist now and discuss what intervention could look like for your loved one so that your loved one can be set on a path of life-long sobriety.

If you or a loved one are seeking addiction treatment focusing on mental health in Austin, contact a member of our admissions team. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our Austin outpatient rehab or inpatient programs.

Like this article? Follow our blog for helpful resources and information about addiction and drug abuse. Recent posts include topics such as dual diagnosis symptoms, the link between alcoholism and anxiety, and types of substance abuse and how to get help for them.


Infinite Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial guidelines and medical review policy.

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction. Mayo Clinic. Published July 20, 2017. Accessed July 4, 2022.

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Michael Dadashi

Medical Content Writer

Family owned and operated since 2014, Infinite Recovery was founded by Michael & Ylianna Dadashi to give those struggling with addiction a second chance and help to rebuild their lives. Clean and sober since 2009, Michael is passionate about helping others discover their authentic self and live a life of true freedom and purpose.

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