6 Signs It’s Time to Stage a Drug Intervention

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Addiction is a complex and progressive condition that can cause an individual to behave differently. As their addiction progresses, they may become more emotionally unstable. As the loved one of an addict, this can cause you immense stress, making it hard for you to live your daily life.

Because addiction affects the entire family, you may feel obligated to go to any length to convince your loved one to go to rehab and get the help they need. One of the best ways to convince an addict to go to rehab is by staging an intervention. However, you may be hesitant to confront your loved one’s addiction out of fear of losing their trust or damaging your relationship with them.

As a result, it is important to be aware of when it’s the right time to stage a drug intervention. But how can you know when it’s time to intervene? Here are 6 signs that it’s time to stage a drug intervention.

1. Your Loved One is Denying They Have a Problem

One of the most important indications that your loved one is ready for intervention is when they begin denying that they have a problem. Oftentimes, drugs and alcohol cloud a person’s mind to the point that they cannot see their substance abuse has become problematic. While you can see that their drug abuse is affecting their health, relationships, work, and psyche, they are in denial.

Maybe you have talked to them about their drug abuse and tried to explain how it is damaging their ability to function in life, but they continue to disagree. Many people with addiction believe that they have control over it when they clearly do not. This is a sign that it is time to stage an intervention.

2. They Are Refusing to go to Treatment

Have you tried to offer your loved one the chance to get addiction treatment, only to be shot down? Maybe the suggestion of going to rehab caused them to become defensive and angry. If so, your loved one is most likely in need of an intervention.

Sometimes, an intervention is just what an individual needs to motivate them to want to get better. If your loved one is refusing treatment, hearing their family members and close friends read statements about their addiction could convince them that professional help is what they need.

3. They Are a Risk to Themselves or Others

Drug and alcohol abuse is known to impair a person’s judgment and negatively impact their mental health. As a result, your loved one may become a risk to themselves or others.

A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine suggested that 50% of all suicides are related to substance abuse and at least 25% of people who abuse substances take their own lives.[1] Knowing this information, addiction is connected to suicidal thoughts and behaviors, meaning your loved one could become a danger to themselves the longer their addiction goes on.

If you notice the signs of your loved one becoming a danger to themselves or others, it’s time for an intervention. This can help prevent your loved one from suffering the effects of suicidal ideation.

4. Their Health is Deteriorating

We have discussed how addiction takes a toll on the mind, but it can cause physical health issues as well. All substances, including alcohol, can take a huge toll on your loved one’s physical health. The health complications that your loved one may face depend on the type of drug they are abusing and the method of administration in which they use the substance.

The common short- and long-term health risks of substance abuse include:[2]

  • Overdose
  • Infection
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Mental illness
  • Hepatitis
  • Cognitive decline

If you notice that your loved one is displaying signs of health deterioration, it’s time to schedule that intervention.

5. Your Loved One is Lying to You

Addiction interferes with the way the brain works, changing the way a person thinks. Over time, this will cause your loved one to have a hard time making a good decision. The main thing that will be important to them is obtaining the drugs that they are addicted to.

This priority of obtaining drugs will cause them to lie, cheat, and steal. In other words, they will do anything they have to in order to get the substances they crave. Deceptive behavior like this is extremely common among addicts who have lost control of their addiction.

If your loved one is lying to you or stealing from you, they have most likely lost control over their behaviors due to their addiction. This is a major sign that they require a drug intervention.

6. They Cannot Control Their Drug Abuse

One sign of severe addiction is being unable to control your drug or alcohol abuse. If your loved one seems to compulsively use drugs without being able to stop or moderate their use, it’s time to stage an intervention.

Signs that your loved one has lost control over their addiction include:

  • Continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite facing conflict in their relationships or personal life
  • Continuing to use drugs or alcohol even though it is causing their mental or physical health condition to worsen
  • Drinking or using drugs in secret and lying to you 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 behaviors to continue their drug and alcohol abuse
  • Getting into financial trouble because they are spending all of their money on their addiction

Get Connected With a Professional Drug and Alcohol Interventionist

If your loved one suffers from drug addiction and has refused to attend a professional treatment program in the past, it’s time to consider staging a drug intervention. Drug and alcohol interventions can help you convince your addicted loved one that they need professional help. However, you must do so with the help of a professional interventionist who can carefully plan the intervention to ensure that nothing goes wrong.

Our team at New Jersey Addiction Intervention consists of some of the most talented and dedicated intervention experts in the state. Contact us today to get connected with a professional drug interventionist who can help your family heal from the effects of addiction.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1932152/
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/health-consequences-drug-misuse/introduction

Medically Reviewed: September 6, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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