How to Know if it’s Time to Stage an Intervention

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Knowing when the right time is to stage an intervention isn’t easy. Of course, you want it to go as smoothly as possible and ultimately convince your loved one to go to rehab, so you may be tempted to put off an intervention until the time is right. However, there may not be a “right” time to hold an intervention. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is get it over with and do it as soon as possible. 

If your loved one has been abusing drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time, it might be difficult to see the truth past the toxicity that addiction has brought into your life. That’s why it’s so important to seek the help of a professional addiction interventionist when trying to convince a loved one to go to rehab. A professional can help guide you throughout the process, help mediate the conversation, and let you know exactly when the right time is to hold an intervention. 

Before speaking to an interventionist, there are many signs and symptoms of addiction that you can look for to determine whether or not your loved one needs substance abuse treatment. 

Signs that it’s Time for an Intervention

Interventions can help convince a loved one to agree to go to rehab. However, to determine whether or not it’s time for an intervention, you need to know what signs to look for. The following outline signs and symptoms that your loved one is addicted and it’s time to consider staging an intervention

Risky Behaviors

Drug and alcohol misuse is commonly associated with risky and illegal behaviors such as drunk driving, stealing money, buying and selling drugs, lying to loved ones, having unprotected sex, and much more. Oftentimes, people who suffer from addiction are under a mental fog where they don’t see the weight of their actions. In fact, many are in denial that their actions are hurting anyone other than themselves. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Risky behaviors are dangerous and hurt many people, so it’s important to stop them as soon as they start. If your loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol and is acting out in worrisome behaviors, it’s time to send them to rehab. 

Physical Dependence and Withdrawal Symptoms

Addiction develops after the habitual use of a mood or mind-altering substance.  Repeated use of addictive drugs causes the body to develop a tolerance where it requires more and more of the substance to produce the desired effects. Furthermore, the body comes physically addicted to whatever substance a person is abusing, leading to the phenomenon of withdrawal symptoms when not taking the substance. If your loved one gets sick with withdrawal symptoms when they don’t use substances, has begun taking more and more of a substance over time, or acts as if they cannot function without the substance, it might be time to start considering staging an intervention.

Mood Swings

Some tell-tale signs and symptoms that substance abuse has progressed into full-blown addiction include depression, irritability, fatigue, and anxiety. When people are abusing drugs, you may notice dramatic mood swings where a person is happy one minute, but easily set off to be upset or angry the next. These mood swings occur due to the chemical changes that drugs and alcohol have on the brain and body.[1] Mood swings are difficult to manage, and substance abuse only makes these mood swings more severe. If you’re noticing a shift in your loved one’s mood and they refuse to get help, it’s time to stage an intervention.


People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol typically put their addiction first. It isn’t easy to keep up with heavy substance abuse, and it certainly isn’t free, so people may go to extreme lengths to get their next fix. This may include showing up late to work, spending too much money on drugs or alcohol, the inability to pay bills, the inability to hold a steady job, and general forgetfulness that leads to problems in managing one’s daily life and responsibilities. The longer a person abuses drugs and alcohol and acts out on addictive behaviors, the more unmanagable their life becomes. If this sounds like your loved one, staging an intervention might be a good way to convince them to get their life back on track. 

Health Problems

While fatal overdoses are one of the tragic consequences of addiction, there is an array of other health problems that may occur as a result of substance abuse. While the health effects of long term substance abuse vary depending on which substance a person is addicted to, they can include, but are not limited to:[2]

  • Rapid weight loss and nutrient deficiencies
  • Abscesses, track marks on arms, infections, collapsed veins, and the transmission of blood-borne illnesses
  • Liver disease, kidney damage, cancers, and gastrointestinal problems
  • Development of mental illness
  • Short term memory loss
  • Respiratory problems such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • Hormone problems

Many of these problems will improve or get better entirely with the help of an addiction treatment center. If you’re loved one is experiencing health effects as a result of their addiction, it’s time to stage an intervention before it’s too late.

Is it Time to Schedule an Intervention for Your Loved One? Contact us Today.

Convincing a loved one to go to rehab isn’t easy. Denial is a common attribute of addicts and many will go to extensive lengths to hide the severity of their addictions. However, knowing the signs that it’s time to stage an intervention can help push you to take the next most appropriate steps to help your loved one. 

It’s normal to be afraid of confronting someone you care about, especially about a touchy subject like addiction. That’s why it’s so important to seek help from an intervention specialist near you. If these signs and symptoms sound like your loved one, it’s time to hold an intervention. Our addiction specialists in New Jersey are here to help you and your loved one every step of the way. Contact us today to see if it’s the right time to stage an intervention.



Medically Reviewed: April 14, 2020

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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