People who develop substance abuse disorders have many risks to face. The longer the addiction goes unattended, the higher the risk of an overdose. The CDC reported 67,367 deaths related to drug overdoses in 2018. The statistics only count for the United States, with the global figure being significantly higher. Studies show that drug overdoses have a significant impact on the lives of those around the addict.
A majority of individuals with addiction are unable to take the first step to recovery themselves. Loved ones play a big role in helping the person realize their self-destructive behavior. Taking the right steps to help the addict is important, which is why interventions are often used.
There are different approaches taken when an intervention is planned. A common question that remains is “How long is an intervention?” While the intervention itself may be relatively short in terms of time, the overall process can sometimes take several weeks. We take a closer look at how long do drug interventions typically last and why people should consider this method when trying to help.
Typical Timeline for an Intervention
Preparation is the key to the success of an intervention. When preparing for an intervention, it is important that everyone who is involved understand how the process works and, equally important, how long it takes. Every person needs to set aside enough time to contribute from their side.
The specific time frame for an intervention differs between cases. An interventionist will often prefer to address the intervention as a process rather than just an event.
An intervention will include multiple phases or steps. Each step has a general timeline that should be considered. The intervention itself is just one of the phases – we need to take the period prior to the day of the intervention into consideration.
A minimum of one hour should be allocated to the intervention. During the intervention, multiple individuals are asked to provide their input in order to help make a breakthrough with the addict. This can take some time. You do not want to rush things, which is why an hour or more is usually advised to ensure everything can be done in a calm way.
Note that this one-hour plus time frame only applies to the actual intervention. This is when the addict has gathered along with the loved ones in a single place. There is a time frame prior to this event that we need to look at as well.
The preparation for the intervention will take much more time than the actual event. In most cases, be prepared to spend well over a week to set up the intervention. Some people prefer to take a bit more time in order to ensure everything is done right. The more controlled the environment and event, the better the chances of breaking through and getting the addict to accept the help that is being offered.
Factors That Affect the Duration of an Intervention
The time frame for intervention is not a fixed factor. There are some basic recommendations. As we have discussed, setting out an hour for the intervention is a good starting point. This, however, does not mean the intervention will last for exactly one hour. Sometimes, the gathering can go on for much longer.
Flexibility in time is needed when an intervention is planned, and while the gathering is going on.
There are a few factors that can influence the length of an intervention. Understand these factors beforehand. When looking at the specific factors, it is easier to get a more accurate estimate of how long the event may last.
Here are a few factors that can have an impact on how long an intervention will last:
- The number of people involved can play a part. Every person who attends the intervention is given a chance to speak or read from a prepared letter. With this in mind, take note that more people mean more time is needed. It is important that everyone gets a chance to speak from the heart and show the addict what substance abuse is doing to them.
- The steps involved in the intervention can also affect the time frame. Professional interventionists will usually be able to determine the best approach for the intervention. Multiple steps may be involved to facilitate the process. When the intervention includes more steps, those gathering may need to set aside additional time.
- The severity of the addiction can affect the time needed for the intervention as well. People who have a more severe addiction are harder to talk to in an intervention. Getting to the point of a breakthrough can take more time. They may also be reluctant to the idea of accepting help. These factors can all make the intervention a lengthier process.
By taking these factors into consideration, people should be able to get a better idea of what to expect – particularly in terms of how long the intervention may last. The time spent planning can affect the duration of intervention too. When thorough planning is used, along with a rehearsal and other advised elements, the intervention itself could take less time.
Why an Intervention Should Not Be Rushed
Recognizing priorities during an intervention is important. The ultimate goal is to get an addict to accept help. The addict should admit they have a problem and break free of the denial that they have been suffering from.
The intervention will often include a step where every individual involved tells the addict how the addiction affects them. Examples of scenarios where they were hurt are generally given. This is to help the addict realize how destructive the addiction is.
When an intervention occurs, however, it is important to take note of all the goals. The goal here is not only to show the addict how destructive they have become. It is also to help the addict realize there are people who care for them and that they are not alone. Every person gathering at the intervention is there because they care – this needs to be expressly communicated to the addict.
With this in mind, rushing through an intervention is never a good idea. The idea is to create an environment that is calming, conversational, and supportive. It needs to be a place where the addict will at least feel comfortable. When every person at the gathering is in a rush, calm is the last thing that the environment will express.
When the intervention is rushed, it also creates a feeling of pressure or panic in the addict. This is a time when they will feel vulnerable. Sometimes, the addict even feels a bit betrayed. They need to understand that the intervention was arranged because everyone cares about them. Pushing the individual to accept help and to get the intervention to come to an end – that will create the opposite effect.
Is an Intervention Really Necessary?
There are multiple benefits that an intervention can offer, not only to the addict but also to the loved ones who are affected by the addiction. Those who are looking to offer their assistance to an addict should understand the necessity and role of the intervention. This ensures every person knows what to expect and, at the same time, also ensures everyone is aware of what they should not expect.
Some of the benefits that an intervention can bring include:
- The primary benefit is the assistance offered to an addict. Addiction kills millions of people every year, often caused by an overdose. Those who are suffering from addiction have a risk of suffering the same fate. By intervening, the risk of an overdose death will be drastically reduced. This is the primary goal.
- The addict is not the only one that will be affected. Loved ones often suffer greatly when they have to watch how the addict expresses self-destructive behaviors. This causes depression and other mental concerns among loved ones too. A successful intervention will ease the mental impact that addiction has on those in their family and community.
- The chances of getting the addict to accept change and help are higher when an intervention is held. There is a much lower chance that they would seek out help themselves. This is especially the case in a scenario where the person has developed a more serious addiction. At this point, the person might be in denial and would not take the first step to recovery themselves.
How an Interventionist Can Help
Individuals affect by addiction, including loved ones, often do not know where to start when setting up an intervention. It is advised that the entire process is planned out carefully. Taking the wrong step can cause disastrous effects when the intervention is held. This is why it is usually advised to contact an interventionist.
Most medical facilities that provide recovery services will have an interventionist who can help. This can be a counselor with experience in planning out interventions. The experience held by such a professional can be immensely useful during the intervention.
Here are a few reasons why an interventionist should be considered when planning out an intervention:
- The interventionist can analyze the available information and provide recommendations to make the intervention more successful.
- Due to past experience, an interventionist will be able to provide a more accurate view of how much time is needed during the gathering. This helps every person who attends the gathering make appropriate arrangements – setting out enough time to ensure the intervention does not feel rushed.
- A more controlled environment can be created when an interventionist is present. They can advise on the right location for the intervention. The professional also knows what should be avoided and can help each individual determine what to say and what to avoid saying.
- With the help of an interventionist, it is also possible to get a better idea of what type of treatment plan would be more effective. Suggestions regarding the advised treatment plan can then be made to the addict when the intervention starts.
Time Frame for the Next Steps
An intervention is not the only step taken to help an addict. If a breakthrough is made during the intervention, there are a few follow-up steps that are needed. Without providing the addict with the right system for recovery, the intervention would not prove useful.
It is important to take the time frame that is needed for the follow-up steps into account too. While they may not have a direct impact on the loved one’s available time, understanding how long the entire recovery process takes can be helpful.
The duration of treatment for recovery depends on several factors.
Contacting the best residential treatment center for substance abuse in Texas is a good step to take. Not only can this center help with finding an interventionist, but the center can also provide information on the appropriate treatments, including some more details on the potential intervention and recovery time frame.
Detoxification will usually be the first step. This phase of treatment often lasts just about a week. Following the detox process, the person will either be admitted to a residential service or provided an outpatient treatment program.
Recovery from substance abuse is not a fast process. While the intervention lasts just an hour or so, the actual recovery process can take months to complete. There are cases where the patient needs ongoing support for over a year before they can achieve a state of successful recovery.
Most interventions will last for about an hour. In some cases, the intervention lasts a bit longer. It is important to note that this one-hour time frame is a recommended minimum and does not apply to the entire process. A few weeks may be needed to carefully plan out the intervention, find an interventionist, and choose the right environment. Understanding the expected timeline ensures every person involved can dedicate enough of their time to truly help the addict through the process.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction as well as the pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center’s status at the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content creation. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.