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Lindsay Lohan intervention: Why did it fail? (+video)

Lindsay Lohan reportedly rebuffed an attempt by her father to persuade her to enter rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. Planned interventions can work, but they need to be done carefully.

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The saga of actress Lindsay Lohan took another turn this weekend when her father apparently confronted her about her drug and alcohol abuse but failed to persuade her to enter treatment.

According to reports in local entertainment outlets, Michael Lohan's attempted intervention backfired, with Ms. Lohan calling the police. Other family members, such as her mother, Dina, spoke out against the father’s efforts. They deny that the actress has relapsed into substance abuse.

This latest episode has highlighted planned interventions – the tightly scripted, often last-ditch attempts by friends and family to rein in substance abusers – and why they succeed or fail. Mr. Lohan reportedly planned his intervention for weeks, but Ms. Lohan's reaction is indicative of how difficult they can be. Sometimes, they can work even with someone who doesn't want to listen, experts say, but professional help and full family support are usually crucial – and point to why Ms. Lohan resisted.

The role of the family cannot be overemphasized, says Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, Calif. Interventions can work when the addict sees that a loved one is paying attention “and really cares,” she adds.

But Ms. Lohan and others like Britney Spears were exploited as child stars “for the fame and fortune they brought to their parents,” says Dr. Lieberman, who profiled the pair for her book, “Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets.”

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