Addiction is a complex condition that affects more than just the
individual who is abusing drugs and alcohol, but also their family,
friends, and loved ones. If you know someone who struggles with
addiction, you may feel obligated to go to any length to convince that
person to go to rehab and get the help they need. When is it time for intervention?

One of the most effective ways to convince someone to go to an addiction treatment center is by staging an intervention.
However, families are often hesitant to confront their addicted loved
ones in a formal manner due to fear of losing their trust or damaging
their relationship with the individual. With that being said, drug and
alcohol interventions save lives, so how do you know if you should

Here are six signs it is the right time to stage an intervention.

1. A Risk to Oneself or Others

Drug and alcohol abuse can impair a person’s judgment and affect their mental health. In relation to addiction, it is not uncommon for individuals to become a risk to themselves or others.

Some studies suggest that over 50% of all suicides are associated with drug and alcohol addiction, and at least 25% of people who struggle with substance use disorder attempt to take their own lives.[1] As a result, alcoholism and drug addiction are considered risk factors for suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and actions.

There are also situations in which an addicted individual is posing a threat to another person. One study found that 8% of local jail inmates, 9.8% of state prisoners, and 14.8% of federal prisoners committed violent crimes simply to get money for drugs.[2] The potential to hurt someone else isn’t limited to crime, either. A person could be threatening to manipulate, sabotage, or emotionally or financially harm another person.

It’s important to note that people who suffer from addiction generally do not set out to carry out violent crimes or hurt the people they love. However, addiction is a powerful disease that can make people do desperate and harmful things.

If your loved one is a potential threat to themselves or others, there is no time to waste. You should stage an intervention or take legal action to force your loved one into rehab immediately.

2. Compulsive, Uncontrollable Drug or Alcohol Abuse

One characteristic of addiction is the inability to moderate or control one’s drug and alcohol abuse. Individuals who suffer from addiction may swear off substances one day with pure intentions to get clean, only to use drugs or drink alcohol the next day. Some signs that your loved one has lost control over his or her substance use are:

  • Continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite the conflict in one’s relationships or personal life
  • Continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite a worsening mental or physical health condition that is exacerbated by substance abuse
  • Drinking or using drugs in secret and lying to loved ones about it
  • Making more than one attempt to get sober but being unable to do so
  • Needing to drink or use drugs first thing in the morning or before doing anything
  • Bringing alcohol or drugs to unacceptable places/events such as a church, family gatherings, school, or work
  • Acting out on risky or dangerous behaviors to continue one’s drug and alcohol abuse
  • Getting into financial trouble because they are spending all of their money on their addiction

If your loved one has lost control over his or her substance abuse and is acting out on compulsive behaviors, it is the right time to stage an intervention.

Addiction takes a toll on both the mind and body. All substances, including alcohol, have long-term health effects that can range from mild to severe. For example, the CDC reports that more than 50% of alcohol-related deaths are due to health effects from chronic alcoholism, such as liver disease, heart disease, or various types of cancer.[3]

The substance-related health problems people experience depend on which type of drug they are addicted to and which method of administration is used to get high. Other common short and long-term health effects of addiction include:[4]

  • Overdose
  • Infection (abscesses, skin infections, blood infections, etc)
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Mental illness
  • Hepatitis
  • Cognitive decline

If your loved one is experiencing consequences on their health due to their addiction, it is time for intervention and convince them to get help.

signs its time to stage an intervention

Get The Care You Need and Deserve

Woburn Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.

(781) 622-9190

4. Dangerous or Illegal Behaviors

In 2004, 17% of state prisoners and 18% of federal inmates admit to committing crimes related to their current offense to obtain money for drugs.[2] Today, the vast majority of state and federal inmates are in custody for drug-related charges.[5]

Again, it’s not that people who suffer from addiction are bad people, it’s that their judgment is impaired by the disease of addiction. Examples of dangerous or illegal behaviors people may engage in include:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Stealing money from family, friends, and work
  • Selling drugs
  • Smuggling drugs
  • Public intoxication
  • Robbery
  • Prostitution
  • Fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Tax crimes

Sometimes, a person’s behaviors may not be illegal, but they could be dangerous, like having unprotected sex, sharing needles with other people, and lying to loved ones.

5. Inability to Make Sound Decisions for Oneself

Denial is an extremely common feature among people who struggle with addiction. These individuals often believe they don’t have a problem or that their addiction isn’t bad enough to warrant a trip to rehab. Not only that, but drug abuse changes the way the brain works. Addicted individuals get a reward response when they use substances and struggle with decision-making as a result of their condition.[6]

If you are certain your loved one struggles with addiction and is unable to come to this conclusion themselves, it’s time to stage an addiction intervention.

6. Hitting Rock Bottom But Refusing to Go to Rehab

Drug and alcohol addiction brings out the worst in people. Addiction is chronic, progressive, and can drive individuals to desperation. Many people aren’t willing to go to rehab until they have reached “rock bottom.” Rock bottom is a term used by people in recovery to describe the lowest point in their addiction that inspired them to get help.

Rock bottom is different for everyone, but examples of rock bottom include, but are not limited to:

  • Losing one’s job
  • Becoming homeless
  • Divorce
  • Getting kicked out of a living situation
  • Getting arrested
  • Surviving a life-threatening overdose
  • Experiencing a traumatic event

In some situations, even people who reach rock bottom refuse to get help. This could be due to fear, shame, guilt, or feelings of worthlessness. If you have a loved one in one of these situations, a drug and alcohol intervention may be able to help.

Find Help for an Addicted Loved One Today

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact us today. We know just how difficult it can be to convince someone who doesn’t want help to accept the help being offered. But, we also know how effective treatment can be once you get a person to walk through our doors. With a success rate higher than the national average, we provide nothing less than individualized and comprehensive care. Call us now for addiction help or intervention support for you or a loved one.


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