Rehabilitation is usually critical to successful, long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. In many cases, getting clean without professional interference is challenging, if not impossible, making access to a treatment center a top priority. The only problem? It’s often hard to convince someone living in denial of the importance of getting help.
Trying to force someone into rehab isn’t an easy endeavor, especially for those who aren’t willing to accept the reality of a substance use disorder. Adults generally make their own choices, and if they aren’t currently a threat to themselves or others, there is no good way to make someone get help. However, there are some mechanisms that can be used under the right circumstances to ensure someone gets the help they need.
The Truth About Rehab
Rehabilitation shows up in the media in many different forms, from luxurious escapes where celebrities right themselves to prison-like environments where participants are locked in and kept under strict surveillance. This paints a confusing picture of what to actually expect when seeking help: will the experience be relaxing and enjoyable, or frightening and discouraging?
In truth, rehabilitation is a complex process that combines medical treatment with psychological care in both group and individual settings. Rehab can be inpatient or outpatient, and may also involve detox or a step-down setup that starts with an inpatient program and moves to partial hospitalization and then intensive outpatient care. It’s not designed to be a luxury vacation or a punishment; instead, rehab is intended to garner results that will last in the most effective way possible. Every element of care in a certified rehab center is intentional and beneficial.
Why Substance Users Resist Rehab
Anyone who has dealt with substance abuse knows that denial and disinterest are big elements of the illness of addiction. Many people living with a substance use disorder either don’t believe they have a problem, or aren’t interested in committing to the lifestyle changes necessary to get sober. As such, many choose not to seek help, even when they desperately need it. Unfortunately, only around 11 percent of those who could benefit from rehabilitation pursue treatment.
The reasons people avoid treatment are myriad and can include:
- Fear of job loss or a lack of income while in treatment
- Worry about losing friends and hobbies in sobriety
- Stress about admitting a need for help to friends and family
- Panic about leaving home and staying in a treatment center
- Misplaced convictions about the punitive nature of rehab
- The belief that it’s possible to recover without help
Regardless of the reasoning, most individuals with substance use disorders don’t want to go to rehab.
How to Force Someone to Go to Rehab
Substance users who are minors can be compelled to go to rehab but for adults, it’s another story. In general, adults, particularly those living with a disease like an addiction, aren’t interested in being forced into doing things— which is why it’s hard to make someone go to rehab.
The best and most effective way to convince someone to go to rehab is to talk them into it using cogent arguments. With evidence of the consequences of addiction-related actions, like personal, romantic, financial, or career trouble, as well as statistics and evidence related to how rehab can help, it’s possible to make a convincing case.
However, when someone who clearly needs professional help isn’t getting it, the urge to force them becomes evident. Under these circumstances, it may be tempting to use blackmail, guilt, or bribery to try to make a point. Sometimes this might work, but it can open the door to relationship issues and resistance in rehab.
Under limited circumstances, there may be a legal pathway for how to commit someone to rehab. However, this generally involves an individual with an addiction getting in legal trouble or being involuntarily committed due to a co-occurring mental health disorder. Around 50 percent of those who suffer from mental health disorders have drug or alcohol problems as well, so this may be a valid possibility.
While this opportunity can seem like a good alternative for someone who refuses to get care, this isn’t usually the case. Using the law to motivate treatment should be a last resort; getting to this point is in no one’s best interest. Outcomes are best when individuals with substance use disorders choose to get help.
Capitalizing on the Moment of Clarity
Sooner or later, everyone struggling with substance abuse will have a moment of clarity. This may be after a fight with a loved one, a penalty at work, financial struggles, or making an embarrassing or damaging decision. At this point in time, the ramifications of addiction become crystal-clear, and the substance user realizes the severity of their issues.
This time, this moment of clarity, is the perfect opportunity to urge someone to consider getting help. During a moment of clarity, the guilt and stress can be strong motivation, encouraging someone living with addiction to make a choice for the better.
When a moment of clarity is an influencing factor for rehabilitation, participants are far more likely to start a program motivated and engaged. After all, enrolling to make a positive life change was their own idea, and not a decision forced upon them.
Why Motivation Matters
Forcing someone who doesn’t want to go to rehab to enter a treatment program may get them through the door, but it’s not going to show them the value in getting help. While living in a treatment center, they may go through the motions, participate in therapy sessions, and spend time with others in recovery, but the commitment needed to get clean will be missing. And, unfortunately, without a focused commitment, substance users are likely to finish treatment and return immediately to their old habits. A moment of clarity may occasionally happen while in rehab but it’s not guaranteed.
Rehabilitation works, but it’s most effective when participants are motivated to succeed. Forcing someone, while tempting, isn’t a good way to get them to commit to the process of getting clean. Recovery is a lifelong journey, and without focus and motivation, it’s easy to fall off the wagon.
The right approach to rehabilitation can be key to steering someone down the path of recovery. Contact FHE Health today to learn more about our step-down approach to drug and alcohol recovery and explore the benefits our treatment professionals have to offer.