Currently in the United States, there are over 20 million people in need of substance use treatment. Yet more than 80 percent of those individuals have not received professional help. Most often, it’s because they do not perceive a need for treatment. They do not recognize a problem exists. At the same time, however, they are not able to stop using drugs or drinking on their own.
If your loved one is battling a drug addiction, it is important to recognize that this addiction is a disease. Drugs have the ability to take over a person’s judgement, behaviors, and priorities completely. They take control. They take the ability to see clearly, and to make rational decisions.
If your loved one is refusing to go to rehab, you may feel as though he or she no longer cares about you, or about his/her life. Know that the attitudes your loved one has now, the behaviors that he or she carries out, and the things that he or she says while intoxicated, are often out of his/her control.
So, how can you get through to them? How can you convince someone to go to rehab for addiction? Can you do this at all? Let’s dive in.
Can You Convince Someone to Go to Rehab?
Convincing someone to go to rehab can be difficult. But in many cases, it can be done. By approaching the topic compassionately and strategically, you can get your loved one the help he or she needs. Here’s how:
1. Get educated.
Before approaching your loved one about rehab, it is important to educate yourself around the topic of drug abuse and addiction. You will want to come prepared to this conversation with facts. First, know the signs of drug abuse. By checking these off, you can better build your case for drug rehab.
Next, learn about the dangers of drug abuse and about the disease of addiction. Read literature, talk to addiction specialists, or attend a support group in your area. This will equip you to answer any questions your loved one has, and to guide the conversation with a level-head. By recognizing that addiction is a disease, and knowing how it affects a person mentally, you can address the topic of rehab with a more understanding and empathetic point of view.
It can also help to research addiction treatment options, and to know exactly what happens, or what to expect, in a rehab program. By doing so, you may be able to lessen your loved one’s fear of going, or to dispel some of his/her uncertainty.
No matter how much you read up on addiction, your loved one may be defensive, unreceptive, or simply deny what you’re saying. They may say you are overreacting, or do not know the half of it. You can mitigate this by prefacing the conversation with a “I don’t know everything about your relationship with drugs and alcohol,” but, “I do know what I have read, and what I have seen with my own eyes, and it makes me scared for you.”
2. Plan an intervention.
An intervention can be one of the most effective tools in convincing a loved one to go to rehab. This means that you, along with other friends and family members, will join together to talk to your loved one directly – explaining how this person’s substance abuse has negatively affected their lives. This can motivate people into rehab because most often, they are not aware of how their addiction really affects the ones they love.
Planning an intervention ahead of time is important. Be sure to choose a time when your loved one will be sober and in an approachable state of mind. Talk to an addiction professional at the rehab center of your choice, to plan a post-intervention strategy as well. Secure a spot in treatment, coordinate payment, and pack a bag ahead of time. This is important because, if the intervention is successful, you will want to get your loved one straight into care.
You should also think about consequences if your loved one continues to refuse care. If your loved one says “no” to rehab, be sure to lay out specific consequences of that decision. For example: They will not be allowed to see their nieces and nephews. You will stop paying for their apartment. When the intervention happens, stick to the consequences you planned and carry them out if it fails. These consequences can also cause a turning point in addicted individuals.
3. Avoid negative emotions and attitudes.
When approaching the intervention, do so calmly and compassionately. As much as your loved one’s addiction has hurt you, and as angry as you might feel in this moment, it is important to leave that out of the intervention. These negative emotions will not make them understand or want to change.
Rather, let this person know the intervention is coming from a place of love. You want them to go to rehab because you want to see them healthy and happy again. You want them to be safe. Let them know how much you love them, and that they are not alone. At the same, be sure to let them know how much their addiction has hurt you. Do not blame your loved one, but instead use “I” statements such as “I feel hurt,” “I am scared for you,” and “I want to help, but don’t know how.”
Be sure to listen as much as you are talking. In order for the conversation to be productive, your loved one should feel seen and heard. Learn more intervention strategies here.
4. Consider professional intervention.
Professional interventions, involving someone who specializes in addiction counseling, can be very effective, as well. They will be able to guide the conversation and ensure it’s as productive as possible. This person can also help ease the post-intervention process, getting your loved one into the proper rehab program.
5. Don’t wait until it gets worse.
It’s important to ensure you do not wait for your loved one to “hit rock bottom,” because it could be too late if “rock bottom” means overdose. Do not wait until your loved one has destroyed his or her life to intervene. Rather, if you suspect your loved one has a drug abuse problem, do something about it as soon as possible. Addiction is a fatal disease, and the longer a person uses drugs, the greater risk there is for long-term effects.
Can You Force Someone to Go to Rehab?
If your loved one does not want to listen, or is not ready to stop using, there are still steps you can take to get them the help they need. If you are a parent of an addicted adolescent, you can enroll your child in a rehab program against his or her will. If your loved one is in trouble with the law, or poses imminent danger, he or she can be legally forced into treatment without consent via court-ordered rehab, or involuntary commitment. Involuntary substance use treatment is allowed in 38 states today.
Even if your loved one does not want to get help, he or she can still benefit from it. It is a common myth that, in order to get sober, addicts have to want it. The truth is, at first, many individuals entering treatment don’t want it. They are hesitant, distant, skeptical. However, over time, their walls break down. In fact, those who are forced into rehab have remarkably similar success rates to those who enter rehab voluntarily.
Before forcing your loved one into rehab, or researching involuntary methods of enrollment, try to have a conversation with your loved one. Try convincing her/him of the dangers of drug abuse, and the benefits of professional treatment. It is always best to establish trust, empathy, and support when possible, in order to effective help a person into drug rehab.
If you would like professional guidance on getting your loved one into rehab, please do not hesitate to reach out to Turnbridge. We can discuss strategies for the intervention, as well as a post-intervention plan. Our drug rehab programs are designed for young men and women battling addiction and other co-occurring disorders. Call 877-581-1793 to learn more.