How To Convince Someone To Go To Rehab Even if They Don’t Want to

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In this article, we will provide some insights and tips about how to get someone into alcohol rehab or how to get someone into drug rehab.

Loving someone who has an addiction problem is incredibly difficult. Persons who struggle with either alcohol or drug addiction tend to lose their ability to love and care about the other people in their lives. Their whole focus becomes the addiction, and finding ways to get high or get drunk. Trying to communicate with loved ones who have an addiction problem can be challenging.

This article provides some basic information about how to get an addict into rehab. If you are looking for additional information about this, we urge you to call our 24-hour hotline at (888)-459-5511 to speak with a knowledgeable representative who can offer more personalized information.

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Why Is Convincing An Addict To Enter Rehab So Difficult?

Convincing an addict to go into rehab is hard because  – Duh! – they don’t want to go. What they want is to do is keep drinking or taking drugs.

You need to keep this in mind when confronting anyone who has developed an addiction. To some extent, if you’re trying to get a family member into rehab, you’re not talking to your family member at all – you’re talking to an addiction that is trying desperately to perpetuate itself. The addiction is in control. Your task is to try to help the person you love take that control back.

This is not going to be an easy task, because one of the key aspects of addiction is denial. Someone with an addiction problem will lie to friends, family, co-workers, and everyone else about their addiction, but the thing you need to bear in mind while trying to convince them to seek help is that the person they’re lying to the most is themselves.

Can and Should You Get Someone Into Rehab Against Their Will?

Definitely, if that’s the only way for them to get help. There is a common myth about addiction that “In order to get better, addicts have to want it.” This actually isn’t true, because scientific studies show that success rates for those who were forced to go to rehab are remarkably similar to success rates for those who went to rehab voluntarily.

When Is The Best Time To Talk To Someone About Rehab?

First, you have to wait until the person is sober. Drugs and alcohol change how the brain processes information, and if the person you’re trying to help is under the influence of them they almost certainly won’t be able to comprehend what you’re trying to say.

You should also not have such a discussion in the middle of some incident that has made either you or the addicted person angry or emotional. Wait until the next day, or some time when you can both discuss things more calmly.

What Should You Focus On During The Conversation

The goal of any “intervention conversation” – whether it’s part of a formal substance abuse intervention or a more private one-on-one conversation – is to get the person to accept help and enter rehab. Try to keep the following general guidelines in mind:

  • Show that you’re concerned and that you care. The essential thing to get across is that you’re coming from a place of love and caring, one in which you really want the best for them. Saying “I love you” and “You’re not alone” are important, and usually much more effective than “tough love.”
  • Care and compassion are always the best approach. Although it can be difficult, you should try to take a calm, loving, and compassionate approach to your meeting. Being angry and using harsh words is never productive. Try to remember that addiction is a disease. You wouldn’t yell at someone who had cancer or heart disease, right?
  • Help the person make connections. If they’re lost in a haze of substance abuse, chances are they really haven’t ever made the connection between that abuse and the impact it has on the people and things they love. Make tangible connections that help them to understand that they’ve changed. For example, if they used to love golf but don’t play any more because all their money is going to supporting a drug habit, that’s a tangible connection.
  • Prepare for the conversation by doing research beforehand. Your challenge, after all, is how to get someone admitted into rehab. So you should know as much as possible about the treatment program you’re trying to get your loved one to take advantage of. Bring written materials about the facility, their treatment programs, and their success rates. Basically, do your homework.
  • Try to listen at least as much as you speak. This is a good rule of thumb for any conversation, but it’s essential during a conversation in which you hope to convince someone that you care about them and really want to help. One of the most powerful needs that human beings have is to be seen and heard.
  • Communicate your limits. If your loved one refuses help and doesn’t want to change, make sure you let them know the consequences of that decision. If you feel that you can’t continue living with them while they’re still abusing drugs or alcohol, say so. If you’re afraid to allow them to be alone with the kids, be very clear about that.

Things Not To Talk About

Naturally, there are a few things you should avoid when trying to get someone into rehab:

  • Avoid scary stories. Telling your friend or family member stories about the horrible things that happened to other people when they tried to quit on their own is not helpful. You want to share hopeful, supportive stories, not negative ones.
  • Don’t compare your problems to theirs. On the whole, the “No one is perfect and I have problems, too” approach doesn’t work, because frankly no one whose brain is controlled by a serious addiction believes anyone’s problems are as bad as theirs.
  • Don’t say stuff like “You’re so selfish…why don’t you just stop doing drugs?” It would be wonderful if addicts could instantly stop feeding their addictions, but most need help to accomplish that. They can’t just will away a condition that has literally reprogrammed their brain chemistry.

Understand and Communicate the Treatment / Rehabilitation Process

Again, the answer to how to get someone into rehab against their will is to have a plan. You need to understand and be able to describe detoxification, the difference between inpatient treatment and outpatient counseling, aftercare, and ongoing recovery meetings and techniques.

Be Prepared For Excuses And Evasions

Remember, you’re talking to an addiction that wants to perpetuate itself. Your loved one might say things like “I can always start rehab next month, when it’s less busy at work” that sound good, but are really just an evasion, a way to avoid having to make drastic changes to their life.

If the person firmly claims that they have an addiction problem, be prepared with examples to show them that they do. “If you don’t have a problem, why did ________ happen?” If you focus on specific events and incidents, you make it harder for them to use general excuses.

Be Prepared In Case Your Conversation Doesn’t Work

While you should always hope for the best when trying to get someone into rehab, be prepared emotionally for the possibility that you’re not going to be able to. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, only 11% of people with substance abuse addictions actually get the help they needed.

And even if your loved one does agree to enter rehab, it’s not a given that the treatment program will “take” and be successful the first time. An estimated 40% to 60% of people addicted to drugs or alcohol relapse. So, even if such an “intervention conversation” fails and the person refuses treatment, you may have “planted a seed” that bears fruit later.

Addiction professional with a phone

Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options.
Call our free and confidential helpline

Treatment Is Fully Covered by Insurance In Most Cases

If you are looking for additional information about rehab or helping someone get into rehab, we urge you to call our 24-hour hotline at (888)-459-5511 to speak with a knowledgeable representative who can offer more personalized information.

How To Convince Someone To Go To Rehab Even if They Don’t Want to

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