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When Should I Hold an Intervention?


Certain signs will help you know when it's time to hold an intervention.

Deciding when it is time to hold an intervention can be a difficult part of helping someone through their recovery. One of the most important things to remember, however, is it’s never too early for someone to get help for addiction. The sooner this occurs, the better their outcome is likely to be.

You can call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) today for help finding detox centers for your loved one as well as for advice on treatment, recovery, and interventions. Don’t wait any longer to help someone you love get the professional care they need to recover from addiction.

Why Hold an Intervention?

Many people believe that interventions are not necessary and instead that an individual will come looking for help when they realize they need it. In many cases, this is untrue. Even those who realize they have a problem with substance abuse before their friends and family members do often won’t seek help because they are scared to admit they need it or because they don’t really want to stop using.

  • Holding an intervention is a way of letting someone know that their substance abuse has gone too far, but it is also a way of supporting them in their need to seek treatment.
  • With an intervention, you are telling your loved one, “I care about you, I support you, and I want you to get better.”
  • You are also giving the other people who love your friend, spouse, family member, etc. the opportunity to tell them how they feel about their substance abuse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, having the support of friends and/or family members during addiction treatment is positively associated with longer treatment stays and better recoveries. An intervention can be that first positive step.

When Do I Know It’s Time to Have an Intervention?

It can be hard to determine when it is really time to hold an intervention. Some people think an addict needs to hit rock bottom before they can hear anything, but this is untrue. However, there are some tell-tale signs that can help you know when it’s time to speak up.

Changes in Behavior

When your loved one’s behavior starts to change as a result of their substance abuse, this can be a good time to hold an intervention. This is a strong sign that their use has become serious and that the way their brain works is already starting to change as a result. According to Indiana University Bloomington, a few behaviors that often indicate addiction include denying the problem and hiding the addictive behavior.

Tolerance Increase

People who use drugs often and become addicted will start to experience a steep increase in their tolerance level. This is extremely obvious among alcoholics, but you can see it with other types of drug abuse as well.

Isolation and Social Withdrawal

People who become addicted to drugs will begin to withdraw from their friends and family members. Often, this is in order to spend more time alone and using drugs. Some people may also start spending time with totally new friend groups who use, leaving old friends behind.

Ignoring Responsibilities

Has your loved one been missing work a lot or stopped going to class? Do they make excuses to not take care of the children? If you start noticing that they are shirking their responsibilities in order to use, this is a strong sign of addiction—and a sign an intervention may be necessary.

Changes in Appearance

If your loved one has stopped taking care of themselves physically (including showering, shaving, personal hygiene, etc.) and no longer seems well, this is another sign of addiction.

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Constant, High-dosage Use

If your friend’s stories always start out with them using drugs or being drunk and if you feel like you haven’t seen them sober in a long time, this is behavior that may require an intervention.

Memory Problems

Addicts often struggle with mental fog and have issues remembering what happened the night before, especially if they were on drugs or drinking. When this happens constantly, addiction has likely already set in.

Financial Problems

If your loved one starts spending all their money on drugs, this is a problem. It could lead to them constantly asking you and others for money, even when they have just received some. It could also lead to stealing and other illegal acts.


Addicts will often lie in order to keep using. According to a study published in the Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, this is extremely common. However, it can also cause serious problems between you and your loved one.

Multiple People Notice

If you’ve had a conversation with your mutual friend, family member, or others who have also started to become worried for your loved one, this is another strong sign that an intervention is necessary. It means you aren’t the only one who sees a problem.

Some people are high-functioning addicts and are able to seem like they have everything together. Others may start to fall apart under the weight of their addictions. Whatever the case is with your loved one, ask yourself, “Is their substance abuse too much? Is it dangerous? Is it causing problems in their life and mine?” When you answer yes to these questions, it’s time to start planning an intervention.

Remember: the best time to hold your intervention is when everyone important can be present and when your loved one is sober. It will be much harder for them to ignore the problem when everyone they love will not let them.

Want to Learn More About Holding an Intervention?

Or would you like to seek out safe detox centers where your loved one can begin their treatment regimen for substance abuse and dependence? Just call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) today. Don’t wait- call now.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)- How Can Family and Friends Make a Difference in the Life of Someone Needing Treatment?
  2. Ruth C. Engs, RN, EdD. Professor, Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington. (2012). What Are Addictive Behaviors?
  3. Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association. (2008). Addiction In Medicine.
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