Alcohol Intervention

Is an Alcohol Intervention Different from Other Interventions?

alcohol intervention

When people reach out to us and ask us about an Alcohol Intervention, many people think that alcohol and drug interventions are conducted in the same way. An Alcohol Intervention or an intervention on an alcoholic is an intervention where the addiction is primarily alcohol, although there may be other substances abused as well, just to a lessor degree. Although the substance itself isn’t usually the true problem in terms of recovery, it is important to understand that each substance abused does require a different approach in terms of the interventionist. An alcohol intervention is handled differently than a standard drug intervention. Alcohol is a depressant, making alcohol interventions less aggressive than say a stimulant intervention on crack or meth. Alcohol interventions require precision timing as sometimes the alcoholic can be under the influence making an intervention for alcoholics best handled by an interventionist familiar with alcohol.

An Alcohol Intervention is different than on a drug user

When people think of an Alcohol intervention, they usually think of it differently than “drugs”.  Alcohol is technically a drug, however, most people put alcohol into it’s own category. Refer to an alcoholic as a drug addict and see the reaction. Due to the legality and social acceptability of alcohol we generally refer to those addicted to mood altering substances as either an “alcoholic” or a “drug addict”. In dealing with an alcoholic we generally have two types of people needing alcohol interventions, each of which is dealt with in a different way.  Again, an intervention on an alcoholic is different than one done on a drug user.

Alcohol Intervention for Binge Drinkers

The first type of alcohol intervention is on the “binge type” alcoholic. This is someone who usually doesn’t drink everyday and may even go for months without a drink. However, once alcohol enters their system’s leads to another and another. This type of alcoholic often baffles the family member. He seems to be fine, everything is ok and then the worst happens again. He may even be trying not to drink, may have promised never to drink again, but there he goes again. And, unfortunately, it seems that with each binge the behaviors worsen. Sometimes getting into fights, passing out, or driving drunk, his behaviors while drunk are completely different to his personality while sober. He may even be the nicest guy in the world, but give him a drink and watch what happens. It’s almost as if there are two personalities. This type of alcoholic takes longer for a family member to become concerned enough to consider alcohol interventions. Usually what happens is that after a binge the family is quite concerned, however, they fall back once again into the hope that perhaps things will be different this time. It commonly takes either a long series of ever worsening binges or such extreme behaviors during the binge for the family to become willing to conduct an alcohol intervention. The sad reality with binge drinkers is that statistically they are in greater danger than the “daily drinker”, and are often confronted less often…usually only after a binge.

The difficulty of doing an alcohol intervention on a binge drinker is one of timing. If an alcohol intervention is conducted on a binge drinker who hasn’t had a drink in 6 months, there is a higher degree of difficulty in convincing the alcoholic that although sober right now, he still has an un handled problem and without some degree of therapy will probably drink again. Ideally, alcohol interventions for a binge drinker should be conducted within months of his last binge.

Alcohol Intervention on a Daily Drinker

The second type of alcohol intervention is on the “daily drinker”. As the name implies, a daily drinker is someone who rarely goes without alcohol for long. There are different stages of the daily drinker. Generally this begins as someone who has a 6 pack or a martini every night after work. Later this quantity might increase and as the amount and duration increases, the daily drinker might need to have an occasional drink throughout the evening when his sleep patterns become interrupted. A later stage involves the daily drinker awakening with the need to have a drink to “stop the jitters”. At this point in his alcoholism, the alcoholic has begun to become physically dependent on the alcohol and may even have seizures, delusions or tremors if he goes without alcohol for too long. The last and final stage of a daily drinker is the need to constantly ingest alcohol. To go without alcohol for any length can even result in death at this point. The irony being if he continues to drink in the same duration and quantity then he will surely die from alcohol relation symptoms…if he quits abruptly without medical supervision he will probably die from a seizure or heart failure.

The difficulty of doing an alcohol intervention on a daily drinker is also in the timing, however this is a timing of minutes or hours and not days or months like with the binge drinker. To conduct alcohol interventions on a daily drinker in the morning prior to his first drink will usually result in his attention being solely on his first drink, major agitation, tremors and possible seizures. If we wait too late in the day he may be too severely intoxicated and unable to process the intervention.

An Alcohol Intervention can help save your loved one

Essentially each alcohol intervention is unique and after proper analysis and guidance your professional intervention specialist will help you to determine when and what is the best approach.  Listed below we have provided additional information about intervention regarding alcohol.

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