Should You DIY an Intervention or Hire a Professional?

Make your own choice for having a DIY intervention or Hire a Professional depends on your needIn a study conducted by Nielsen in 2011, researchers found that a full 61 percent of global consumers felt that a good value was more important than a good price. In other words, shoppers know that they should take the inherent value of a product into account rather than simply looking at that item’s price. But even so, it might be a universal human trait to look for ways to save money. Sometimes, that cost-saving impulse comes into play when discussing addiction care.

For example, when you are considering holding an intervention for an addicted person in need, you might be tempted to hold the intervention yourself, without consulting with a paid professional. Doing so might save you money.

But does having a DIY intervention give you a good price and a low value? It really depends on the circumstances of the person who has the addiction and the family that wants to help. This is a quick compare and contrast of the DIY and professional intervention approach, so you can make an informed decision for your family.

DIY Intervention

In a DIY intervention, the family is in charge of the entire conversation, from beginning to end. You might assign one person to be in charge of the talk, and you might ask that person to determine logistics, such as where the talk will be held and in what order people will speak during the intervention. The person you put in charge might also be required to stay in control during the talk, keeping order as things unfold.

A DIY intervention can be appealing because it really is a cost-saver. Consider this: One interventionist who puts his pricing on a website says he charges $2,200-$3,800 for interventions that require travel. That is a great deal of money, and some families may not have that kind of money available. By handling the logistics of the intervention alone, they may be able to use that money to pay for other addiction recovery needs, such as medications, inpatient rehab, or aftercare.

A DIY intervention can also be appealing because it allows the family to dive deep into addiction education. In order to hold the talk in the right way, the family will need to know all about how addictions begin, how they are treated, what works in treatment, and what does not. Without an interventionist to guide the talk, the family will need to learn these lessons alone. Doing so could give that family all sorts of insight into how the addiction is impacting and could impact the person they love. Since you will be responsible for the talk, you might be compelled to learn more than you would if someone else were running the show.

But, without an interventionist, you might miss some of the subtleties of the addiction process. For example, a study of 90 students published in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences found that most students had a good amount of knowledge about what drug addiction is and how it works – but these were medical students. You might not know as much as they do. Can you speak to:

  • How drugs of abuse change the chemistry of the brain?
  • How long addiction rehab takes?
  • How addiction rehab works?
  • Common relapse rates for addiction?

If you cannot, you might miss out on key information that could push the person you love into a qualified treatment program. And that could spell disaster.

Similarly, without a professional to help you run the intervention, you will not have a buffer to help you if the person you are talking to gets offended by the talk. People with addictions often do get offended, and their drug abuse can color the way they react when they are offended. For example, in a study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuseresearchers found that teens who abuse drugs have a poor awareness of others. Often, they make decisions that could harm others, and they do not stop to think about how their actions could be harmful. Someone like this could lash out in an intervention without thinking twice, and that could really hurt your feelings.


A Professional Intervention

In a professional intervention, the family hires a professional (known as an interventionist) to run the conversation. This person holds a series of educational classes with the family and helps the family to plan for the talk. Then, this person helps to keep the talk under control.

Interventionists can be self-taught, but the National Association of Drug and Alcohol Interventionists provides more than eight different certification levels for people who want to work in the intervention field. People who have a certification have proven their knowledge on addiction and recovery. They are not amateurs, but people with experience and expertise you can trust.

This education is a major benefit to hiring an interventionist, especially if you are dealing with an addicted person who has a troubled background. According to Mayo Clinic, an interventionist is vital if the person with the addiction also has a history of:

  • Serious mental illness
  • Violence
  • Suicidal behaviors
  • Mood-altering substance abuse

People like this can be unpredictable in an intervention, and it is best to get the help of a professional before speaking with them about the addiction issue.

Another pro of hiring a professional involves success rates. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence suggests that interventions with a professional are over 90 percent successful. When families want to make sure that an intervention is successful, an interventionist could be a good choice.

But there are some drawbacks to consider too. An interventionist will want to be involved in all of the family’s concerns about addiction and the person in need. That means families will need to share a great deal of information about the addiction with a total stranger. They will need to talk about all of the difficulties they have seen and all of the problems they have encountered, and they will need to discuss those issues in detail. Some families simply do not want to share that information with someone who is not trained in mental health. That being said, there are interventionists who also have a background in mental health.

Similarly, hiring an interventionist can make the family feel a little complacent. The family has hired someone else to do the heavy lifting of planning and educating, so they might feel the urge to rest and relax while the professional does the work. That loss of commitment could be detrimental to long-term recovery, as the family will be much more important to the person in need than the interventionist will in the long run. The family has pull. If the interventionist removes that focus, it could lessen the power of the event.

Making a Decision

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to addiction interventions. For some families, hiring a professional will be the right choice. For others, it might be best to keep the issue within the family and away from outsiders. Either could be a good choice, and it is a choice families can only make after careful consideration of all the issues. The important thing is for families to actually hold that talk. They need to get to the bottom of an addiction in an intervention, whether they do that with a professional or alone. The sooner that talk happens, the better.