Drug abuse and addiction intervention: How it works


Because people may respond differently to certain approaches, it’s hard to say which is the best. Initiating a substance abuse intervention alone isn’t recommended, especially if the person with the drug problem has a complex, long-term substance use disorder. Interventions have the benefit of being carefully planned group approaches where loved ones can share their feelings. Loved ones can also prearrange treatment and create specific boundaries beforehand. The lack of professional help can also prevent the family from having a team of people to help address the difficulties that come with early sobriety attempts. Family and friends will also be without the ongoing support and recovery that professional help provides.

substance abuse intervention

The brief therapies discussed in this TIP are brief cognitive-behavioral therapy,
brief strategic and interactional therapies, brief humanistic and existential
therapies, brief psychodynamic therapy, short-term family therapy, and time-limited
group therapy. The choice to include these therapeutic modalities was based on a
combination of relevant research and, in some instances where there is a smaller
research base, the clinical knowledge and expertise of the Consensus Panel. All of
these approaches are currently being used in the treatment of substance abuse
disorders, and all of them can contribute something to the array of treatment
techniques available https://en.forexdata.info/mash-certified-sober-homes/ to the eclectic practitioner. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings but most treatment for substance use disorders has traditionally been provided in specialty substance use disorder treatment programs. For this reason, the majority of research has been performed within these specialty settings.91 The following sections describe what is known from this research about the processes, stages of, and outcomes from traditional substance use disorder treatment programs. Regardless of the substance, the first step to early intervention is screening to identify behaviors that put the individual at risk for harm or for developing a substance use disorder.

Reviews of Brief Intervention

Detox may occur in a hospital setting or as a first step to the inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation process. Not only can crisis interventions urge the addict to seek treatment in a time of desperate need, but in some situations, professional interventionists can also get substance abusers committed — even against their will — if they are a threat to their own well-being or to someone else’s well-being. The biggest and most common reasons for this are violence against others and attempts at suicide. According to a report from the Nation’s Health, 78 percent of violent crimes involve drugs or alcohol. In substance abusers who fail to get the help they need, the suicide rate is as large as 45 percent, Psychology Today reports.

  • These clients stayed in treatment longer, were more likely to complete
    treatment, and had better posttreatment outcomes than unmatched clients in
    the same treatment programs.
  • Primary care physicians need to be better prepared to identify, assist, and refer patients, when appropriate.
  • The impact of the changes on levels of marijuana and other drug and alcohol use, simultaneous use, and related problems such as motor vehicle crashes and deaths, overdoses, hospitalizations, and poor school and work performance, must be evaluated closely.
  • While you don’t have control over the behavior of your addicted loved one, you can remove yourself and others from a harmful situation.
  • A new perspective might reconcile these observations by recognizing
    that limited treatment can be beneficial–especially considering that at least
    half of all clients drop out of specialized treatment before completion.

Addiction treatment has come a long way, but services like inpatient care or detox are only one part of the process. Often, getting a loved one struggling with addiction to accept treatment can be one of the most difficult parts. Withdrawal from different categories of drugs — such as depressants, stimulants or opioids — produces different side effects and requires different approaches. Detox may involve gradually reducing the dose of the drug or temporarily substituting other substances, such as methadone, Facing Your Powerlessness in Addiction Recovery buprenorphine, or a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. While the goal is to get the person dealing with an addiction in your life to admit they have a problem and get help, the CRAFT method also helps the loved ones prioritize their mental health and improve their happiness. SAMHSA’s working definition of recovery defines recovery as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.

Benefits of Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

They provide the opportunity for clinicians to increase positive outcomes
by using these modalities independently as stand-alone interventions or treatments
and as additions to other forms of substance abuse and mental health treatment. They
can be used in a variety of settings including opportunistic settings (e.g., primary
care, home health care) and specialized substance abuse treatment settings
(inpatient and outpatient). For these reasons, only appropriately trained health care professionals should decide whether medication is needed as part of treatment, how the medication is provided in the context of other clinical services, and under what conditions the medication should be withdrawn or terminated. Mild substance use disorders can be identified quickly and reliably in many medical and social settings. To address the spectrum of substance use problems and disorders, a continuum of care provides individuals an array of service options based on need, including prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery support (Figure 4.1). Traditionally, the vast majority of treatment for substance use disorders has been provided in specialty substance use disorder treatment programs, and these programs vary substantially in their clinical objectives and in the frequency, intensity, and setting of care delivery.

  • The work of Prochaska and DiClemente and their «stages-of-change» model help
    clinicians tailor brief interventions to clients’ needs (Prochaska and DiClemente, 1984, 1986).
  • Before eliminating steps in the brief intervention process,
    however, there should be a well-defined reason for doing so.
  • According to SAMHSA, outpatient treatment offers heightened accessibility, making it easier for a broader range of individuals to seek help and support their recovery journey.
  • For diagnosis of a substance use disorder, most mental health professionals use criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.

SAMHSA explains that family and friends who are supportive of recovery can help someone change because they can reinforce new behaviors and provide positive incentives to continue with treatment. It is also treatable with a combination of medical care, detox support, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. Medications can also ease withdrawal, especially from drugs with intense withdrawal symptoms such as opioids.


This study recognizes continuity of care as crucial in preventing relapse and maintaining long-term recovery. Without intervention, the continued struggles with addiction can significantly impact various aspects of your life, jeopardizing your physical and mental well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life. Not all addicts need inpatient treatment; some people do better with intensive outpatient programs. Your interventionist or doctor can help you determine what treatment program is best depending on the type of substance abuse problem and existing mental illness concerns. Not all interventions need to gather everyone in the addict’s life to address their alcohol addiction or substance abuse; sometimes, it only requires one person to bring about change. These simple, one-on-one interventions can be very effective when carried out alone or with the aid of a professional interventionist.

substance abuse intervention

To reverse these trends, it is important to do everything possible to ensure that emergency personnel, as well as at-risk opioid users and their loved ones, have access to lifesaving medications like naloxone. 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. In some cases, your loved one with an addiction may not accept the treatment plan. Treatment may include counseling, education, job services, family services and life skills training.

Most often, the person who has been the primary caregiver in an addict’s life serves as the facilitator of the Johnson intervention, with the help of a professional interventionist to strategically plan the event. The Johnson Model utilizes direct threats of consequences if the addict refuses to get treatment. For example, a wife may tell her alcoholic husband she will leave him and take the children if he doesn’t get help.

It has also prompted more attempts to match
client needs to the most appropriate and expeditious intensity of care and
treatment modality. Consideration is now given to differences not only in
the severity and types of problems identified but also to the cultural or
environmental context in which the problems are encountered, the types of
substances abused, and differences in gender, age, education, and social
stability. Determining a client’s appropriateness for treatment is one of
the 46 global criteria for competency of certified alcohol and drug abuse
counselors (Herdman, 1997). Indeed, client assessment and treatment matching and referral has become a
specialty area in itself that avoids the hazards of random treatment entry.


This can impact families, especially if the family counts on the person to work and follow through with their responsibilities. In trials, the CRAFT Method has proven to be effective at getting people who are dealing with an addiction to admit that they have a problem and seek therapy. By positive reinforcement, the CRAFT method means recognizing the person who is abusing substances when they don’t drink or consume.