Watching a family member or friend suffer from the disease of addiction is tough. Especially when they do not show any interest in receiving help. As a result of this, you may find yourself wondering if you can force someone into rehab.
Addiction is a chronic, progressive, and devastating illness. The effects of this condition range from lost careers, broken families, health issues, and much more. Oftentimes, getting professional addiction treatment is the difference between life and death for people struggling with substance abuse. Taking this into consideration, it’s easy to see why families and friends of addicted individuals desperately try to convince their loved ones to attend treatment.
Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to attend addiction treatment. It is common for addicts and alcoholics to be in total denial that they have a problem, causing them to reject the idea of rehab. On the other hand, some people may not believe they are ready to give up substances. Either way, it is always devastating when your loved one refuses to get help for their addiction. Circumstances such as these often lead families to question whether they can force their loved one into treatment. Let’s take a look at the facts surrounding involuntary rehab.
Forcing Adolescents to Get Help for Addiction
While this issue is less discussed, many adolescents suffer from addiction and substance abuse issues. Even though it is more common for young and older adults to deal with addiction, children and teens suffer from this illness as well. When someone of adolescent age is dealing with addiction, it’s better to find them treatment sooner rather than later. When you address issues of substance abuse at an early age you may prevent it from becoming worse over time.
Fortunately, if you are a parent of a child under the age of 18, you can force them to attend a drug and alcohol rehab center. However, your child’s success relies on their personal dedication to their treatment. With that being said, if they do not want to get sober, rehab may not be effective. While forcing a child to go to rehab is easy, it becomes much more difficult after they turn 18.
Which States Allow Involuntary Rehab?
If you are hoping to force an adult-aged loved one into rehab, it is possible. However, the process may be difficult. In other words, just being concerned about someone’s substance abuse is not enough to involuntarily commit them into addiction treatment. Most of the time, you will have to go to court to have a judge rule for involuntary commitment to rehab. However, this is only permitted in some states.
The states that allow involuntary rehab include:
- District of Columbia
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
If you live in one of the previously mentioned states, it is possible to force someone into rehab. It is important to note that the process of involuntary commitment may be different in each state.
How Does Involuntary Rehab Work?
If you are hoping to force your loved one into rehab against their will, it’s important to be aware of the process of obtaining involuntary rehab. If the individual that you are worried about is not a minor, it will be more difficult to get a court to grant such an order. In most states with these laws, you will have to go to court and prove several things associated with the individual’s substance abuse.
First, there must be some proof that the individual in question has a substance use disorder. Some states will allow involuntary commitment for drugs or alcohol, while other states limit involuntary commitment for one or the other.
In typical cases, you will also need to show either that the person has inflicted harm on themselves. Or, it should be proved that, if not committed to rehab, there is a substantial risk that the individual will harm themselves or someone else. Additionally, if the individual has become unable to perform usual hygiene maintenance or is completely incapacitated due to their substance abuse, it is more likely that a judge will grant involuntary rehab.
When seeking involuntary rehab for a loved one, it is considered a true court hearing. Because of this, the person that you seek to have committed has the right to attorney representation. Of course, if the person cannot afford an attorney, the court, or some other participating agency will appoint one for them.
Motivating a Loved One to Attend Rehab
Of course, the best way to get your loved one help is to convince them to willingly attend addiction treatment. When a person voluntarily attends rehab, it is more likely that they will take their recovery seriously. However, this is not to say that involuntary treatment never works. Sometimes, individuals find the motivation they need to recover while in treatment.
Either way, let’s take a look at the best ways to convince your loved one to attend treatment, so you can avoid having to force someone into rehab.
Mentioning the Risk of Harm
Sometimes, it is helpful to explain to your loved one about the risks they are facing as a result of their addiction. This may include the risk of health issues, overdose, and even the risk of developing mental health conditions. However, it is important to note that this may not work until the risks become imminent.
Instead of forcing someone into rehab, you might try threatening some form of deprivation first. While this sounds harsh, the threat of no-contact with family members and loved ones may be the motivation your loved one needs to attend treatment. This is often the most effective when done in an intervention setting. Telling them that you will not see them until they get help might allow them to realize they have a serious problem.
If your loved one is in serious danger due to their addiction, it may be wise to utilize legal consequences, such as court-mandated rehab. While this could prevent them from suffering from an overdose, involuntary rehab is not always effective. Always keep in mind that individuals must be motivated to change and recover, otherwise, treatment becomes ineffective. 
Having a True Desire to Recover
With patience and unconditional compassion, an individual can connect with the desire to recover from addiction. By being patient, supportive, and setting healthy boundaries, your loved one may eventually seek rehab on their own. The only downside to this is that it may be difficult to reach this perspective through the fog of substances and addiction.
Voluntary and Involuntary Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one are struggling with the effects of addiction, it may be time to attend rehab. Whether you are forcing someone into rehab or voluntarily committing yourself, Addiction Intervention can help. Contact us today for more information about addiction treatment.