5 Signs That You or Your Loved One Needs an Intervention

An intervention is when a group of friends and family of a person with a drug or alcohol abuse problem confronts the addicted individual to try to convince them to enter addiction treatment. 

Interventions occur in a non-confrontational setting, where friends and family members express their feelings about how the person’s addictive behavior is affecting them and everyone around them negatively. 

But how do you know when a loved one or even you might need an intervention?

Look out for these signs: 

  1. Significant Increase in Drug or Alcohol Tolerance

If you or a loved one needs increasingly higher amounts of drugs or alcohol to get high or drunk, it may be a sign that there is a need for an intervention. This might not always be obvious; it could be a matter of someone taking prescription painkillers more often than they used to or drinking a few more beers each day than they did before. 

It’s important to take note of any changes in consumption behavior when you are trying to decide if an addiction intervention is in order.

  • When someone increases the quantity of drugs or alcohol they are consuming on a regular basis, it’s because the body is building up a tolerance. 
  • If the person seeks to continue getting drunk or high by consuming more, rather than taking a break or reducing consumption, it can be a sign of addiction. 
  • This can be especially dangerous because it could be leading up to an overdose.
  1. Changes in Behavior and Behavior Meant to Hide Substance Use

When an individual is acting strangely and you know they are also consuming drugs or alcohol regularly, it could be a sign that they have become addicted and are abusing substances. 

For example, if someone goes out at odd hours of the night with no explanation or has strange explanations for where they are going, it might be because of substance use they are trying to hide. 

Keep an eye out for any such sudden changes in behavior in someone you are concerned about.

Another warning sign is if someone is hiding their drug or alcohol use in plain sight. For instance, if they keep a bottle of booze in their room and you know they are drinking from it secretly or they deny taking a pill that you just saw them pop. 

Changes in behavior can even manifest in a person’s appearance. If they suddenly don’t seem to be taking care of their hygiene or worrying about how they dress, it can mean their addiction is spiraling.

  1. Barely Scraping by Financially
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Drug and alcohol addiction is expensive. 

If you have an income, yet you’re somehow just barely making ends meet because of how much money you’re spending on substances, you need an intervention. The same goes for if you notice sudden lifestyle changes in a loved one. If they used to have plenty of money, but now it seems like they have none, it’s a warning sign.

When it gets really bad, an addicted individual is likely to lose their job and start struggling even more financially. 

This can result in that person beginning to sell or pawn their possessions or borrowing money from friends and family to pay for their addiction. These types of actions are a definite sign that someone’s addiction has spun out of control.

  1. Failure to Meet Responsibilities and Dangerous Behavior

Basic responsibilities include things like showing up to work, picking up kids, taking care of pets, and even household chores. When a person begins to shun their day-to-day duties, it’s a sign that they might need an intervention. 

In addition to that, keep an eye out for dangerous behavior that could either cause harm to the individual or others around them, such as impaired driving.

Another type of dangerous behavior and lack of responsibility to look out for are legal problems related to substance use and abuse. If you or a loved one has been arrested for something like drug possession or drunk driving, it’s often a sign of a bigger problem. This is especially true if it’s not just a one-time incident and if the individual does not change their behavior and usage patterns after the event.

  1. Loss of Memory and Overall Mental Capacity

If a person starts to forget things because of their drug or alcohol use, it’s a sign that their usage is starting to affect their mental capacity. 

Especially take note of whether an individual forgets negative behavior that occurs when they are under the influence. For example, if they are physically or verbally abusive to friends or family members. 

They also may appear to be in a daze and seem slow to respond or lost in conversation.

How to Intervene with an Addict

Step 1: Planning

When you’ve determined that someone you care about is an addict and want to intervene, the next step is planning the intervention. 

  • Remember that a successful intervention should be non-confrontational and held in a neutral location with only friends and family members. 
  • To plan the intervention, you should first meet with everyone involved to discuss roles and what the goal of each participant will be during the meeting.

Step 2: Hold the Intervention as a Surprise 

After you’ve planned out the roles and responsibilities of each participant, the next step is to hold the intervention in a surprising manner. 

  • Get everyone together in one place and then have the addicted individual arrive without knowing what is going on. It’s now time for everyone to begin expressing their feelings and concern for the addict to try and motivate them to seek treatment. 
  • It’s important to remember that, no matter what, the final decision about treatment is the addict’s.

If you aren’t sure how to plan or carry out an intervention yourself, you can consult with one of our intervention specialists. We have a rapid response team that can be on your doorstep in 24-48 hours to offer our expertise. When someone requires an intervention, don’t wait until the problem gets even worse to help them to get better.