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Updated on September 23, 2022
5 min read

How to Get Someone Into Rehab

If a family member or loved one is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, you probably want to get them into rehab to turn their life around.

Checking into a treatment center can not only help them quit their alcohol addiction or substance use, but it can also benefit their behavioral health.

Some rehab stats include:

  • About 76 percent of alcohol rehab patients who successfully complete treatment report sobriety at three months
  • Almost 69 percent state that they’re still sober at six months
  • Between 85 and 95 percent of people who successfully complete drug rehab report still being abstinent nine months after discharge

In other words, rehab can certainly help.

Whether you choose an inpatient or outpatient rehab program, it may be the push your loved one needs to lead a healthier life.

But not everyone who struggles with alcohol use disorder necessarily wants the help they need. Some are in denial that they have a problem, and others may think they could quit on their own. 

Here's how to help someone who doesn't know they need help.

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

Alcohol rehabs and drug abuse rehab centers welcome people with all levels of addiction. But getting a loved one into a detox treatment program can be difficult.

You’re not alone.

More than 14 million adults struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Only about 7.9 percent of adults who had AUD in the past year received treatment. Ten percent of adults in the United States have had a substance use disorder (SUD) at some point in their lives. And, 75 percent report not receiving any treatment for their problem.

You’ve probably tried begging your loved one to stop drinking or to quit drugs, warning them of the health dangers if they don’t get professional help soon. However, if your pleas always seem to fail, there are some other ways to motivate your loved one. 

Here are three tips to get someone into rehab who doesn’t want to go:

1. Show empathy

Try not to judge your loved one or be critical of their behaviors. Instead, try to empathize with them to establish rapport and trust.

One way to do this is by asking open-ended questions instead of making statements or claiming to know everything about them and their situation. Once they fully grasp that you have their best interest in mind because they feel heard and understood, they may be more willing to give your rehab suggestion a try.

2. Hold them accountable

The first step toward making a change is recognizing that you’re at fault.

Your loved one won’t accept that they need to change if they won’t even accept that what they’re doing is wrong. So try not to enable them. Instead, encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and inactions.

3. Enlist help from others

Convincing your loved one to go to rehab isn’t going to be easy by yourself. But if you can enlist the help of your friends and family who also care about this person, the weight of several opinions might hit them harder.

Setting up a family intervention is a great starting point. Likewise, if you can at least get your loved one to check out support groups, that may be able to help. After all, the people in these groups have walked in your loved one’s shoes.


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What States Can You Force Someone Into Rehab?

If you can’t convince your loved one to check into rehab on their own, you can force them to do it in some states.

Research suggests that involuntary commitment to outpatient treatment facilities can mean 57 percent fewer treatment admissions in the future and an average of 20 fewer days in the hospital compared to people who don’t get treatment. 

If they are over 18 years old and you live in one of the 37 states that have laws in place allowing involuntary commitment to mental health treatment facilities, you can get a court order to send them.

Court-ordered rehab is possible in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Each state has specific laws and guidelines that your addicted loved one will have to meet before you can admit them to an addiction treatment center. The process can take weeks. 

Plus, forced admission can get your loved one into rehab, but it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll take the recovery process seriously if they’re in denial. 

Best Addiction Treatment Options

While inpatient and outpatient alcohol and drug rehab centers are a great option for people struggling with unhealthy alcohol and/or drug use, there are other options available:

  • Going to family therapy to unpack the alcohol or substance use problem with a support system
  • Seeking support groups to aid in the recovery process
  • Finding a holistic treatment plan that incorporates physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health
  • Getting traditional counseling to unpack the triggers of alcohol use or drug addiction

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Tips for Setting Up an Intervention 

Setting up an intervention with your loved one isn’t as easy as it sounds. You have to confront your loved one, which may feel uncomfortable.

You probably don’t want to make them feel ashamed, embarrassed, or belittled, but you also need to express your concern and acknowledge that they need help.

Enlisting help from other loved ones can help so you don’t have to bear the brunt of it all yourself. They can also offer up more thoughts and concerns that can help the person in need.

Other things you can try:

  • Make sure that you the person's loved ones approach the intervention in a non-judgemental way
  • Ask questions instead of making accusations
  • Suggest step-by-step solutions instead of demanding immediate and total life changes

The last thing you want to do is overwhelm the person in need and make them feel like recovery is impossible.

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Updated on September 23, 2022
7 sources cited
Updated on September 23, 2022
  1. 10 Percent of US Adults Have Drug Use Disorder at Some Point in Their Lives.National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 18 Nov. 2015.
  2. 17 Uplifting Statistics About Drug Rehab Success.Legacy Treatment Services, 10 June 2019.
  3. Alcohol Facts and Statistics.National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  4. Can I Get A Court Order To Put My Loved One In Rehab?Find Rehab Centers Based On Your Needs, 21 Apr. 2020. 
  5. Can You Force Someone To Go To Rehab? - Ohio Addiction Recovery.Ohio Addiction Recovery Center, 21 May 2020.
  6. Civil Commitment and the Mental Health Care Continuum: Historical Trends and Principles for Law and Practice, SAMHSA
  7. SAMHSA's National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP : SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.SAMHSA.

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