According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 14.5 million American adults ages 12 and older have alcohol use disorder. Alcohol is prevalent everywhere we go, from restaurants and social gatherings to events and workplace functions. As it’s quite common for people to drink, it can be easy to miss when an individual’s drinking has become a problem. If you suspect that your loved one can benefit from the alcohol addiction intervention process, keep reading for a complete guide on signs an intervention is needed, how to stage an intervention and what mistakes to avoid.
What Is Alcoholism?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a brain disorder that prevents a person from being able to control or stop their consumption of alcohol despite negative consequences. Previously, the condition was called alcoholism or alcohol addiction, but the term “alcohol use disorder” is used by most healthcare professionals and addiction professionals today. AUD is a chronic disease that can present itself on a spectrum, with people having a mild, moderate or severe addiction.
The Dangers of Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol may be legal for individuals over 21 to drink, but that doesn’t mean it’s an entirely safe substance. When it’s consumed in excess, alcohol can have negative side effects. In the United States, alcohol is the third-leading cause of preventable deaths, killing approximately 95,000 people annually.
Individuals with AUD are at a higher risk of alcohol-related health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease and stroke
- Liver disease
- Digestive problems
- Increased risk of some cancers
- Anxiety and depression
- Learning and memory issues
Additionally, alcoholism can cause problems in a person’s relationships, friendships and work performance. Addiction can cause people to lose everything they care about.
Signs Your Loved One Needs an Alcohol Addiction Intervention
If you’re concerned about a loved one and substance use disorder, an alcohol addiction intervention can help them recognize that change is necessary.
Some of the most common signs your loved one needs an intervention for alcohol abuse are:
- Increased consumption of alcohol
- Becoming intoxicated at inappropriate times (i.e., early in the morning)
- Job loss or put on review for poor work performance
- Significant body changes such as sudden weight loss
- Increased deceptive behavior, such as lying or hiding bottles
- Neglecting responsibilities such as paying bills or taking care of kids
- Increased mental health issues
- Unexplained mood swings
- Increased risky behavior such as drinking and driving
Having even two or three of the above signs can indicate a person’s drinking has become problematic and they need help.
How to Stage an Alcoholism Intervention
Staging an actual intervention can be stressful, but remember that it can also save your loved one’s life. An intervention is an opportunity for an intervention team made up of close friends, family members and partners to get together and express to the individual how their alcohol or drug addiction is impacting them. It’s a carefully planned process and a plea for the person to get help while reminding them they have a support system.
The typical steps to staging a formal intervention include:
- Planning: An intervention should be a carefully planned event with an intervention team. Consider where to hold it, who to invite and when to do it.
- Intervention Specialist: It may be beneficial to hire a mental health professional or professional interventionist to attend. This person can ensure the intervention stays on track and serves the purpose it’s meant to. It also allows for a neutral third party to be in the room.
- Know What’s Next: A successful intervention should include an ultimatum. Participants should clearly state what they would like the outcome of the intervention to be, such as having the individual enroll in an inpatient rehabilitation program. Many intervention specialists will also encourage participants to clearly outline the consequences if the person continues with their addiction and doesn’t get help.
Interventions can help shine the spotlight on a person’s addiction, which can help them admit they have a substance abuse problem and accept treatment for alcohol use disorder.
What Not to Do at an Alcohol Abuse Intervention
If you’re planning an alcohol intervention for an addicted person, it’s important to understand this is a sensitive situation and setbacks can occur. Refrain from the following at an intervention:
- Inviting Too Many People: Alcohol abuse interventions should be a relatively intimate gathering of an intervention group made up of the person’s closest friends and family members. Participants should be carefully selected as those who care enough to show up and will take this event seriously.
- Having Expectations: It’s common for a person struggling with addiction to respond to intervention with anger. Don’t walk into this experience expecting your loved one to react the way you want them to. It may take some time, even months, but hopefully, this intervention will encourage them to eventually seek treatment.
- Yelling or Criticizing: An intervention isn’t the time to let your frustrations out. While participants should speak truthfully about how the addiction has negatively impacted their life, it’s not helpful to shame, berate or yell at the individual. All participants should be encouraged to speak calmly and use “I” statements.
You can find additional information about interventions, including tips for what to do and not do, on our website about intervention services in Phoenix.
Substance Abuse Treatment at Camelback Recovery
Alcohol use disorder is a highly treatable disease. Sadly, only 7.2% of people with AUD receive the treatment they desperately need. A treatment process in a professional rehabilitation facility can help an individual overcome their addiction, stop drinking and get back to living a healthy, productive life.
If your loved one is open to treatment after their alcohol addiction intervention, consider Camelback Recovery. Our mental health and addiction clinic is one of the best treatment centers in Arizona, offering patients various options for their treatment program. Help them start the road to recovery today by booking a walkthrough of our facility. Call (604) 466-9880 to help them take one step toward sobriety.