Updated on February 6, 2024
7 min read

How to Get Someone into Rehab

Getting someone into rehab can be difficult. There are several reasons why they might not want to seek treatment, such as:

  • Denial
  • Thinking they can quit whenever they want
  • The stigma associated with substance abuse
  • Privacy concerns
  • The cost of treatment
  • The location of the treatment facility
  • Admission availability

Because of this, it’s important to approach the subject patiently, compassionately, and strategically. Here are a few ways to do that.

Tips for Talking to Someone About Rehab

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

1. Do Your Research

Before talking to someone with an addiction, you should do your research. Familiarize yourself with the signs of addiction and how it can affect them and yourself.

Understanding how addiction works can help you become more empathetic about your situation. You should also know the different types of treatment programs and support groups. 

Most of the time, people want addiction treatment but don’t know how to get it. Available treatment programs for addiction include:

2. Consult a Medical Professional

Talk to a medical professional before you talk to your loved one about their addiction. You can ask questions to understand the following:

  • Addiction
  • Withdrawal
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Treatment options
  • Support groups for yourself and your loved one

A healthcare professional can accompany your loved one to a doctor’s appointment if they’re open to it. They can also evaluate their substance use and help design a treatment plan that caters to their needs.

3. 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 understand that you have their best interest, they may be more willing to try your rehab suggestion.

4. 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. 

Avoid enabling them. Instead, encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and inactions.

5. Enlist Help From Others

Convincing your loved one to go to rehab isn’t easy by yourself. But if you can enlist the help of your friends and family who also care about this person. The presence of several different people might open their eyes to the problem.

Setting up a family intervention is a great starting point. You can also get your loved one to check out support groups

Support groups are a community of empathetic and relatable people. They may be able to understand your partner on a deeper level than you can.

When Should You Hold an Intervention

Consider staging an intervention when enough is enough. Here are some signs that you should hold an intervention for your loved one:

  • Denying that they have a problem
  • Destructive behavior that leads to physical and mental risks
  • They’re refusing or are reluctant to seek treatment
  • They’re lying to you about their addiction
  • Their health is deteriorating
  • They’re secretly abusing substances
  • They always need more of their addiction
  • You can’t keep supporting them anymore

Can You Force Someone into Rehab

If you can’t convince your loved one to check into rehab independently, you can force them. Many states allow parents to force their underaged children to attend drug and alcohol rehab without their consent.

However, if they’re above 18, you can force them to go into rehab through involuntary commitment laws. 37 states have statutes for involuntary commitment for a SUD.9

What States Have Involuntary Commitment Laws

Court-ordered rehab is possible in the following states:9

  • 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

What Laws Exist Around Involuntary Rehab?

The laws around involuntary rehab can vary depending on the state and its jurisdictions. However, a certain criterion must be met for the involuntary commitment law to take effect.

If you want to place your loved one in involuntary rehab, they must meet the following criteria:

  • They’re a danger to themselves or others
  • The addiction has rendered them physically or mentally disabled
  • They cannot make decisions
  • They cannot fulfill their basic needs or tend to their personal affairs
  • A total loss of self-control

Your loved one also has to be assessed by a medical professional. They need to certify, in writing, that their loved one requires addiction treatment.


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What Are the Steps for Involuntary Commitment?

To process involuntary commitment, you need a medical health warrant. The warrant serves as a magistrate’s order for emergency apprehension and detention.

Remember, the warrant doesn’t guarantee admission. It only guarantees that your loved one will be evaluated for treatment.

The steps for involuntary commitment include:8

  • Contact your local county clerk’s office or Justice of the Peace Office
  • The magistrate must find reasonable cause for involuntary commitment
  • A physician has to provide a medical certificate within 24 hours of admission
  • A probable cause hearing must be held within 72 hours
  • The mental health hearing must take place within two weeks of the person’s detention

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Does Involuntary Commitment Work?

Research suggests that involuntary commitment to outpatient treatment facilities can result in 57% fewer treatment admissions in the future. 

Additionally, people have an average of 20 fewer days in the hospital compared to people who don’t get treatment.4,5

How to Support a Recovering Addict

Supporting your addicted loved one can be tiring and overwhelming. You can also suffer just as much from supporting them through their addiction.

Here are a few tips to help you support a recovering addict:

  • Take care of yourself
  • Encourage healthy habits (healthy eating, exercise, etc.)
  • Don’t judge or attack them for their addiction
  • Be patient with them
  • Continue to educate yourself on addiction and sobriety
  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Reduce environmental triggers for their addiction

You should also consider joining a support group for people with addicted loved ones. Support groups like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon can help you cope with your loved one’s addiction and recovery.

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Know the Signs of Addiction

Understanding the signs and symptoms of addiction is the first step to getting help for your loved one. Knowing the signs is critical to get them help as soon as possible.

Addiction has behavioral, psychological, and physical signs. These include:

Behavioral Signs of Addiction

  • Missing work or school
  • Problems at work/school
  • Missing important engagements
  • Isolating or being secretive about activities
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Legal problems
  • Relationship/marital problems
  • Financial problems (e.g., always needing money)
  • Preoccupied with drug/alcohol-related topics

Psychological Signs of Addiction

  • Anxiousness
  • Inattentiveness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability or aggressiveness
  • Personality or attitude changes
  • Emotionally and mentally withdrawing from people
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Unexplained paranoia

Physical Signs of Addiction

  • Shakiness, trembling, and jumpiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Depression
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Headaches and fever
  • Confusion and hallucinations
  • Seizures

Learn the Types of Addiction

Addiction can come in many forms. However, it’s mainly separated into two categories: physical and behavioral addiction.

1. Physical Addiction

Physical addictions are the type of addiction that most people recognize. These are addictions to substances that can be ingested or consumed.10

Physical addictions are typically grouped into alcohol, illicit, or prescription drugs. Some common physical addictions include:10

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Opioids
  • Prescription drugs
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Amphetamines
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • PCP

2. Behavioral Addictions

Addictions define behavioral addictions to actions or behaviors resulting in brief happiness. You can become dependent on the pleasurable feelings that come from doing certain things.10

Some behavioral addictions include:10

  • Food
  • Sex 
  • Internet 
  • Pornography
  • Computers and/or cell phones
  • Video Games
  • Work
  • Exercise
  • Spiritual obsession (not to be confused with religious devotion)
  • Seeking pain
  • Cutting
  • Shopping 
  • Gambling

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Updated on February 6, 2024
10 sources cited
Updated on February 6, 2024

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