Addiction recovery specialists recognize two types of drug intervention. There are formal interventions, which involve a high level of organization and planning; and there are informal inventions, which usually occur when a perfect occasion to have a talk arises unexpectedly.

In both cases, an intervention should occur whenever you feel the time is right. If your instincts tell you that a loved one is endangering himself or others with his drug habit, then it’s time to have a drug intervention as soon as possible. But even if your loved one hasn’t reached the dangerous stages of addiction, it’s never too early to show your support and make your feelings known.

Formal interventions

Formal interventions usually happen after family and friends have tried multiple other options to get the addict to stop abusing. Although a formal intervention is often thought of as the last resort, there’s no reason to wait until your loved one has gone off the deep end. As soon as you think it’s become a serious problem, start thinking about a drug intervention.

There are different formats that a formal intervention can take, but they usually involve having the addict’s loved ones gather at a set time and place to collectively and lovingly confront the addict about her habit. Many formal interventions are conducted with the aid of a trained professional. In fact, this is the preferred method, as poorly planned interventions can do more harm than good.

Informal interventions

An informal intervention may occur at any time and with no advanced notice. Some loved ones of addicts find themselves forced into this situation when an emergency arises or the addict becomes mean, self-destructive, or belligerent. In some situations, you have no other choice but to reveal your strong conviction that things have gone too far.

Of course, there are times when an informal intervention is to be avoided. For example, when the addict is high, he may not see the wisdom of the intervention. Also, an informal drug intervention should be avoided when there’s any danger that it will put the addict over the edge emotionally. Play it safe by having the talk in a warm, non-confrontational way. If you can recruit anyone to help you on short notice, all the better.