How to Get Someone Into Rehab: Guide for Family Members

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What you will learn:
Learn more about the signs of addiction and when you should seek help.
Find the best treatment program.
Understanding how to talk to a family member through an intervention.

It’s never easy to send a family member to rehab. Staging an intervention or asking a loved one to enter treatment means that the individual either is unaware of a substance misuse problem or aware but has so far declined or neglected to seek treatment.

The experience of admitting that you or a loved one has a problem is typically stressful and emotional, but with effective treatment, recovery is possible. Read on to better understand the treatment options.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) offers addiction treatment to those suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions. Call

When Is Addiction Help Needed?

The first step of recovering from addiction is identifying it. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were 40.3 million people in the United States aged 12 or older who were considered to be in need of treatment for substance misuse issues in 2020. Addiction is considered to be a mental illness, and it can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, or financial situation.

Most people who become addicted to a substance will either be unaware or in denial of their problem. Addiction tends to happen gradually, starting with substance misuse, or in the case of legal prescription drugs, long-term use. Even those following dosage instructions perfectly can become addicted to habit-forming medications, though it’s less likely. Regular substance use will often lead to a tolerance, meaning that more and more of the substance is needed to get the same effect.

Chronic use make it more likely that dependence develops. Dependence involves the changes that take place in the individual’s body and brain in order to accommodate the frequent presence of a foreign substance. This results in withdrawal symptoms when the intake of the drug is significantly reduced or stops altogether. These symptoms can be very unpleasant—so much so that the prospect of withdrawal can deter some from seeking treatment—and dangerous.

Addiction is a physical and psychological condition and involves the compulsive use of a substance despite the negative consequences to all aspects of the individual’s life.

Exhibiting two or more of these signs indicates that the individual meets the criteria for a substance use disorder and should be assessed by a healthcare professional, who can make the diagnosis.

Deciding to intervene in a person’s drug or alcohol use can be something of a judgment call and may require a second opinion from other loved ones or health professionals.

Luckily, there is a common procedure for confronting an addicted loved one and getting that person into a rehabilitation center. Addiction treatment centers will prepare for new arrivals in order to take them in as soon as they accept treatment. However, this means that anyone looking to send a reluctant family member to rehab will have to do some planning first.

How to Get Someone Into Rehab: The Admissions Process

If you are interested in getting your loved one into rehab, reach out to the facility you’d like to attend. Understand the specifics of the program, your payment options, and if they can meet their individual needs. The rehab admissions process may vary by treatment center and whether or not your loved one is attending inpatient or outpatient rehab, but typically rehab begins with an intake assessment and a verification of benefits. Within the first few days of treatment, your loved one will also probably meet with their providing physician, a psychiatrist, and a therapist so that these professionals can gather important information regarding their current state of physical and mental health.

Intervention and Treatment

Many people have seen or heard of some version of an intervention. Each intervention is a personalized experience but typically involves any number of loved ones gathering together in a safe space to speak to the individual struggling with addiction about  their substance use.

Often, the best course of action is to employ the help of an addiction specialist or representative from the addiction treatment center. There are also professional interventionists dedicated to helping the process run as smoothly as possible and act as a mediator if conflict arises.

If your loved one agrees to treatment, they should be escorted immediately to the rehab facility. The individual will be screened for additional issues, such as physical illness and co-occurring mental illness, and checked into a room. Your loved one will be permitted to bring clothes and some personal items but no medications of any kind that are not approved by the facility’s medical staff are allowed. They’ll often be paired with a roommate and have regular interactions with other individuals who are there for treatment.

Family members are typically encouraged to visit to support the addicted person as well as to participate in educational and training sessions to learn more about addiction and how they can best support the client after the rehab program has been completed.

Additionally, as their family member, it’s essential that you actively support your loved one in their recovery process. Sometimes, that support might require you to give them time and space so that they can do the hard work recovery necessitates. Rehab and recovery are life-changing and difficult at times. Your loved one may want to stop treatment early and even ask you to help them do so. However, AAC often advises family members to “lovingly disconnect” from their loved one while they are in treatment, allowing your loved one to adjust and immerse themselves in their new environment so they can fully understand the benefits treatment provides.

It’s very important that individuals in recovery continue to receive support and care after rehab as well. This process does not “cure” addiction. Temptations and cravings often pop up for years after, especially in times of stress. However, with the proper coping techniques as well as with love and support from those surrounding the individual, long-term recovery is absolutely possible.

Can I Force Someone Into Rehab Treatment?

In some cases, yes. For example, parents with children under the age of 18, who are suffering from substance misuse issues, can commit their child into drug or alcohol rehabilitation.1 If someone is over the age of 18, however, things get a bit trickier. Sometimes people who face drug or alcohol-related criminal charges may have the choice to either attend treatment for their substance misuse issues or serve jail time. Another option for families is involuntary commitment laws, which vary from state to state.2 Most states with involuntary commitment laws require that the individual meet certain criteria, which may include:2

  • Being a threat to themselves or others.
  • Being disabled due to substance misuse issues.
  • Lacking the ability to make decisions.
  • Lacking the ability to fulfill their basic needs due to addiction.
  • Demonstrating a total loss of control.

How to Find the Right Rehab Program?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are over 14,500 specialized addiction treatment centers in the United States.

Most of them deal with multiple types of substance addictions, offering services that can include:

The right treatment center for each individual varies based on the severity of the problem, which substance the person is addicted to, the individual’s or family’s financial situation, proximity to the home and transportation centers, and many other factors. There are a number of directories that can be used to locate centers and addiction specialists nearby.

One option includes treatment at an inpatient rehab center. This involves staying in a specialized facility and participating in daily treatment programs, such as 12-Step meetings or other support group meetings and individual counseling. Individuals in these programs are not allowed to leave until the treatment period is complete and not allowed any substances other than those prescribed by a doctor. This eliminates the problem of temptation and allows for around-the-clock care for withdrawal symptoms and any psychological issues that arise.

Outpatient programs provide nearly identical services but allow the individual to return home or to a sober living environment at the end of each day’s treatment.

Communication and Family Therapy

There are many family-based approaches that encourage open communication and family unit healing. Addiction is often not just an individual disorder but a disease that impacts the person’s entire family unit. Family Behavioral Therapy (FBT) aims to address substance misuse issues, co-occurring disorders, and many other issues that can impact a family and the development of addiction, such as abuse, neglect, and unemployment. FBT may involve the person suffering from addiction and one additional family member, like a partner, or in the case of adolescents, parents, caregivers, or siblings. FBT is tailored to fit individual needs and teaches you about healthy communication styles to help the entire family unit overcome addiction among a myriad of other family-related challenges.

Find Rehab for Family Members Near Me

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