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Making a Plan to Help Someone Get Treatment for an Alcohol Use Problem

Topic Overview

Use this list to help you plan how to help someone you care about get treatment for an alcohol use problem. A health professional who has special training in conducting interventions (intervention specialist) with people who have alcohol use problems 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 an alcohol use problem 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, coworkers, 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 behavior. For example, you can say "When you [specific behavior], 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 center and make the arrangements ahead of time.

List other concerns or questions you have.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
Last Revised January 18, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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