How to Help Someone With an Alcohol Problem: Intervention, Support & Recovery

This may include, for example, a best friend, adult relatives or a member of your loved one’s faith community. Your intervention professional can help you figure out who should be on your team. An intervention can motivate someone to seek help for alcohol or drug misuse, compulsive eating, or other addictive behaviors. Intervention for alcoholics works by having a face-to-face meeting between the alcohol abusers and their loved ones.

Medications also can deter drinking during times when individuals may be at greater risk of relapse (e.g., divorce, death of a family member). Treatment can be done via an outpatient or inpatient program and may be a combination of both. Many inpatient programs accommodate their patients with 24/7 medical oversight and provide access to on-call medical and psychiatric services during their stay.

Some are surprised to learn that there are medications on the market approved to treat alcohol dependence. The newer types of these medications work by offsetting changes in the brain caused by AUD. If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if AUD is present. For an online assessment of your drinking pattern, go to

  1. But if you want to get others involved, only invite people who your loved one likes or respects.
  2. Open body language, positive affirmations, and controlled tempers during the intervention are also useful.
  3. If you are developing your own symptoms of depression or anxiety, think about seeking professional help for yourself.
  4. The first brief intervention may lead directly to change, or it may lay a foundation.

The specialist will also give the person a sounding board to keep them calm. In closing, brief interventions may help patients reduce their unhealthy drinking. The first brief intervention may lead directly to change, or it may lay a foundation. Be persistent—several encounters may be needed before the patient becomes motivated and committed to change. An interactive, simplified sample workflow for clinical practice is linked below. Be sure to see the other Core articles on screening, treatment, referrals, and recovery.

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A specialist can conduct the intervention, but the family members of the alcohol abusers have to be present during the session. An intervention for alcohol or drug addiction should stress love and concern, McMahon adds. “I hear so much of the latter—of people being beat up in the intervention,” she said. “If the person had any other illness, there’s no way we would do that.” McMahon has family members and friends prepare for the intervention by writing letters to the alcoholic or drug addict.

Who Should Be at the Intervention?

Individuals who have Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) credentials have been specifically trained and certified to perform interventions. The team should also ask how much intervention experience the person has, and the type of intervention model they use. This will help the team natural detox for children decide whether or not the person’s approach is suitable for their needs. A major issue that occurs when individuals attempt to organize an intervention for a person with an alcohol use disorder is that the majority of interventions do not progress beyond the initial planning stages.

Ultimately, the symptoms of alcohol use and addiction can vary from person to person. The type, amount, and frequency at which a person uses alcohol will impact how they respond to it. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be difficult to come to terms with, and the side effects can result in challenges for both the individual facing the disorder and the loved ones surrounding them (1). If you know someone who is experiencing an alcohol use disorder or has in the past, knowing how to help them is very important to provide the supportive, positive environment they need. Still, it’s equally as important to keep your own mental health in mind through this process. If you’re not there for yourself, you can’t possibly be there for others, especially with the amount of time and energy this type of situation often demands.

I’m Seeking Help

Talk with a healthcare professional to learn how best to respond to these situations. Even if an intervention doesn’t work, you and others in your loved one’s life can make changes that may help. Ask other people involved not to feed into the destructive cycle of behavior and take steps to make positive change. Often, children, partners, siblings and parents are on the receiving end of abuse, violence, threats and emotional upheaval because of alcohol and drug issues.

Visit NCADD for a free screening tool to help you identify these signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder in yourself or a loved one. You can also give yourself the best chance possible at making an impact by planning the intervention for a time and day when your loved one is less likely to be drinking and more likely to be relaxed and open-minded. Open body language, positive affirmations, and controlled tempers during the intervention are also useful. Once an intervention kicks off, it can be very hard to predict a person’s behavior.

We usually experience failures along the way, learn from them, and then keep going. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and what may work for one person may not be a good fit for someone else. Simply understanding the different options can be an important first step. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition that doctors diagnose when a patient’s drinking causes distress or harm. The condition can range from mild to severe and is diagnosed when a patient answers “yes” to two or more of the following questions.