Convincing Someone To Go To Rehab: Can (And Should) It Be Done?
Substance abuse is a growing problem in the United States. In 2015, more than 52,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, and that number continues to climb. Sadly, the majority of those who desperately need treatment do not seek it. This can be extremely frustrating for well-meaning family members and friends. Many people are aware of the benefits that an alcohol or drug rehab center can provide, so it's understandable that you would do anything to get your loved one help. But convincing someone that they need to go to rehab is not always easy.
Can You Force Someone Into a Drug Abuse Treatment Center?
First of all, involuntary substance abuse treatment may not actually be a legal option where you live. Even if it is, it is virtually impossible for someone to stay sober long-term if they are not ready to stay drug and alcohol free. While some states do allow it, the person in question has to meet several guidelines before it becomes a viable option. For example, involuntary addiction treatment typically requires proof that a person is addicted; that the person has attempted, threatened, or inflicted harm on themselves or someone else; and that this person is so impacted by their substance abuse that they can not provide for their basic needs (and that there's no one else willing to provide them for this person).
Not every person struggling with addiction will meet these guidelines, but that's not the only reason why forcing people into drug rehab centers may not be a great idea. If your addicted loved one is not truly ready to make a drastic change in their life, it's likely that their time in rehab could be all for naught. Regardless of the type of drug abuse treatment center chosen, the person struggling with addiction needs to make a commitment to change. Your own desire for someone to change is not enough. Unless that person truly wants the help they're being offered, your attempts to get them into an addiction recovery center may end up doing more harm than good.
That being said, it can be possible to motivate someone with a substance abuse problem to go to rehab. They may be in denial or they may be too comfortable in their current lifestyle to even consider going to rehab. By changing your own behavior, you may be able to convince them that they need the help that a drug abuse treatment center can provide. But before you talk to your loved one or consider staging an intervention, you might want to read the list of questions below.
When Trying to Convince Someone to Go to a Drug Abuse Treatment Center, Consider...
Do they admit they have a problem? If an addict or alcoholic is not willing to discuss their substance abuse (or even recognize their problem), they may not be ready to accept the gift of recovery. It may help to remove accusations, "you" statements, and judgments in conversations with this person. Instead, utilize empathy and open discussion whenever possible.
Have they tried other options already? Not everyone who struggles with substance abuse will require treatment at a rehab center. Some programs simply won't feel like the right fit. If no other options have been tried, jumping straight to rehab might be too hasty. There are many other therapeutic options available that can be of great benefit to those struggling with addiction.
Can you offer your full support? Going to a drug abuse treatment center is only one piece of the recovery puzzle. Someone who struggles with chemical dependency also requires the support of friends and family -- who have educated themselves about addiction -- once treatment has been completed. You may also need to look at setting healthy boundaries with your loved one and follow through on bottom lines to truly support their sobriety. If you are unable to provide what your loved one needs, it's possible that rehab might not be as effective as it could be.
If you're convinced your loved one may benefit from the help a drug abuse treatment center can provide, it can be hard to wait for them to reach this conclusion, too. However, so long as they know they have your loving support, they will ask for help when they are ready to change.
Refuge of Hope is an Arizona addiction recovery center for women. If you or someone you care about is struggling through the hell of addiction, our caring staff is here to help.