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How to Get Someone Into Rehab

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How to Get Someone Into Rehab Who Doesn’t Want to Go

Watching a loved one struggle with drug or alcohol addiction is very difficult. Espcially when you want them to seek help, but they don’t.

If you are watching a family member struggle with addiction, you’re not alone.

In the United States, over 23 million people are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Only 11 percent of them receive treatment.

Helping an alcoholic get into rehab is seems like a big undertaking. But it can be broken down into steps. Looking at it this way can reduce stress. Here are some ways to make the process easier, more organized, and more effective.

Signs of Addiction

The first step is to determine whether the person is actually addicted. Signs of addiction include:

  • Impulsive or reckless behavior
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Money problems
  • Problems with the law
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Lying or hiding drug use
  • Aggression or violent behavior

Speaking With an Addicted Loved One

If they do have an addiction, you should approach them and see if they will seek help on their own. It's best to do this in a non-confrontational manner.

Try to find a time when they are sober. Use a soft tone, and don't use accusatory statements. For example:

"I feel sad when you spend time getting high instead of hanging out with me,"

is better than

"You always choose drugs over me! You need to stop!"

You should also do some research beforehand. You can select the best treatment option and make plans to get them into treatment.

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Staging an Intervention

You can also explore staging an intervention.

An intervention usually follows this structure:

  1. Planning — you'll need to research and plan in order to be successful. It's best to speak with a doctor, social worker, therapist, or professional interventionist.
  2. Preparing others — interventions can be very emotional. A professional will help you and others prepare emotionally.
  3. Gathering a team — several people should attend the intervention. Partners, family members, and friends should be there.
  4. Giving consequences — if the person tries to walk away from the intervention, the team should respond with consequences.
  5. Sharing — each member of the team should speak. They share their feelings and concerns over the substance abuse problem.
  6. Offering treatment options — this should be prepared in advance. That way if the addict is ready they can accept treatment immediately.

If you plan to perform an intervention, seek professional help from a professional interventionist to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Effective Addiction Treatment Options

The best type of treatment for substance use depends on the individual’s specific needs and the severity of their addiction:

Inpatient Treatment

During inpatient treatment, the person with the substance use disorder will live full-time at a rehab facility. They will have the support of trained medical professionals available 24/7, who will help them through detox, withdrawal, and recovery.

They will attend structured programming designed to help them break negative habits and reinforce good habits. The average inpatient treatment program stay ranges from a few weeks to several months.

Medical Detox

Medical detoxification provides a safe environment for an individual to undergo withdrawal from drugs or alcohol while under medical supervision.

This makes the detox process safer and easier to get through than if done independently.

Detox can occur at an emergency room, in a partial hospitalization program, or during inpatient treatment.

A supervised detoxification program may prevent potentially life-threatening complications that might appear if the patient was left untreated. However, it does not resolve the long-standing psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with alcohol and drug abuse. It may provide a point of the first contact with the treatment system and the first step to recovery for some patients.

Outpatient Treatment 

Outpatient treatment is a form of alcohol or drug rehabilitation in which patients visit a rehab center, clinic, or therapist regularly during the week and are allowed to live at home while receiving treatment. Outpatient programs are most suitable for individuals who do not require detoxification and round-the-clock supervision.

Partial Hospitalization

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a form of outpatient drug or alcohol rehabilitation in which the patient lives at home and commutes to a hospital several times a week. These programs typically require more of a time commitment than an outpatient program and are often considered as an alternative to inpatient substance abuse treatment.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a support group for adults with alcoholism or seeking to control their alcohol use. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere.

AA can provide a sound support system for anyone struggling with alcohol abuse, but individuals with more severe addictions should also seek professional help.

For individuals struggling with drug use rather than alcohol abuse, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is an alternative program structured similarly to AA but focused on drug addiction.

Relapse Prevention (After Treatment)

Relapse prevention is a part of aftercare during the recovery process of alcohol or drug addiction. Relapse prevention seeks to prevent individuals from using again while in their recovery process after treatment. The treatment goal is to help individuals recognize the early warning signs of relapse and develop coping skills.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Several medications are used to treat alcohol and drug dependence (known as medication-assisted treatment). These medications can help with withdrawal symptoms and maintaining abstinence. They are only available with a prescription. The type of medicine used depends on clinical judgment and patient preference.

Family Therapy

Many consider alcohol or drug addiction to be a “family disease,” influenced by family trauma or behavior and communication patterns. Family therapy can be an effective way to address the underlying causes of alcohol or drug addiction and prevent the disease from progressing. 

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Addiction Treatment Costs & How to Pay for Treatment

Many treatment centers offer financial assistance, like sliding scale payment plans, and financing options.

Those who cannot pay for outpatient treatment may find drug rehab programs through various federal or state-funded agencies and nonprofit organizations. Program eligibility requirements vary but usually include verifying income, lack of insurance, and residence in the state.

Many faith-based organizations also offer free addiction treatment programs to members of the community that need assistance.

If you are still struggling with getting your loved one into treatment, you can explore involuntary commitment. This is a way to force someone to enter treatment.

Insurance Can Help Pay for Addiction Treatment

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What States Allow Involuntary Commitment?

Involuntary commitment in the United States is a way to force someone to go to rehab through a court order from a judge. Court-ordered rehab requires an adult person to be committed to an addiction treatment center.

An involuntary commitment may be the right option when the person suffering from a substance use disorder poses a danger to others or themselves. 

Thirty-seven states in the United States and the District of Columbia allow involuntary commitment for individuals suffering from a substance use disorder. Each state has its commitment procedures and legal requirements. Before involuntarily committing someone, you should research to understand if your state allows it and make sure you know the required laws and processes.

Suppose the addicted person is a child under 18. In that case, their legal parent or guardian can send them to rehab without their approval and without having to go through a lengthy legal process. Even if they refuse to get into the car, the parent may physically carry them to treatment or hire a transport service to bring them to therapy.

Once you understand whether or not involuntary commitment will be an option for your loved one, you should explore effective addiction treatment options to determine the right treatment for them.

Get Help From a Professional Today

It is normal to feel hurt, scared, or overwhelmed when confronting an addiction. But you don't have to go through this alone.

If you have questions about getting someone into rehab, talk to a professional. They can give you advice on how to speak to your loved one. They can also help you figure out logistical details.

Having a treatment plan in place before staging an intervention can help the process go smoothly. It also eliminates excuses on why the person can't be committed.

Remember to be loving, supportive, and helpful throughout the process. This will be challenging for you. That's why it's best to seek help as soon as possible.

Updated on March 28, 2022
8 sources cited
  1. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2006. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45.) 1 Overview, Essential Concepts, and Definitions in Detoxification. Available from:
  2. “Civil Commitment and the Mental Health Care Continuum: Historical Trends and Principles for Law and Practice.”, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,
  3. “Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinician’s Guide.”, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health , Oct. 2008,
  5. “Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.”, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2018,
  6. Melemis, Steven M. “Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery.” The Yale journal of biology and medicine vol. 88,3 325-32. 3 Sep. 2015
  7. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Treatment Settings.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 25 May 2020,
  8. “What Is A.A.?” Alcoholics Anonymous : What Is A.A.?,

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