Making a Plan to Help Someone Get Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Topic Overview

Use this list to help you plan how to help someone you care about get treatment for an alcohol use disorder. A health professional who has special training in conducting interventions (intervention specialist) with people who have alcohol use disorder can help you set up your plan.

The plan should include:

  • When you will talk with the person. Don't try when he or she is drunk. Usually, the best times to talk with a person who has alcohol use disorder are right after a drinking episode or first thing in the morning before the person has had a drink.
  • Where you will talk. Decide the location and how you will get the person there.
  • How long you will talk. Decide how long you will talk with the person. If you talk longer than 60 minutes, you and the person might become frustrated, which can make the meeting less helpful.
  • Who will talk with the person. Possibilities might include relatives, co-workers, and friends.
  • Whether you will have a health professional present. If you plan a formal intervention, it is more likely to be successful if an intervention specialist is there.
  • What will be said. You will want to tell the person how his or her drinking has affected you. Be specific about his or her behaviour. For example, you can say "When you [specific behaviour], I feel [feeling]." You will also want to tell the person that you are not willing to continue the relationship unless he or she gets treatment. Tell him or her what you are going to do. For example, "I will...." or "I will no longer....." You might want to write down what you will say so you can practice several times.
  • Where you will take the person for treatment. Talk with the treatment centre and make the arrangements ahead of time.

List other concerns or questions you have.

Related Information

    Credits

    Current as of: August 22, 2019

    Author: Healthwise Staff
    Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
    Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
    Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
    Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
    Peter Monti PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
    Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health

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