November 1, 2022

Can Drug Rehab Be Forced?

Can drug rehab be forced? If you're struggling with addiction, or if you're concerned loved one or someone who is struggling with addiction, we've made this resource for you.

can drug rehab be forced

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Contributors & Editors

Susana Spiegel

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Last Update on July 5, 2023

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Can drug rehab be forced? If you’re struggling with addiction, or if you’re concerned loved one or someone who is struggling with addiction, we’ve made this resource for you. 

Searching for help with drug and/or alcohol addiction? Call us now at (888) 643-2108.

What is Drug Rehab?

Drug rehab is a medical treatment for physical and psychological dependence on psychoactive substances like prescription drugs, illegal drugs, and alcohol. 

The treatment aims to help the patient stop substance abuse and deal with underlying problems that made them resort to this self-destructive habit in the first place.

The process generally includes medication and different types of psychotherapy to help the patient adapt to a drug-free environment. 

Depending on the severity of the person’s condition, they’ll be recommended to enter either an inpatient program, an outpatient program, or a combination of both.

Can Drug Rehab Be Forced?

Involuntary admission into drug rehab becomes necessary when the patient is unwilling to get help. In all states, parents can admit their children under the age 18 without consent if they have substance abuse problems and that can be proven to a judge.  

However, the involuntary admission rules differ for people over 17 years of age.

Over thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws for involuntary commitment that enable family members to force their loved one suffering from a substance use disorder into rehab. The specifics of each statute vary from state to state.

People with substance use disorders (SUD) who have been convicted can also be forced into rehab involuntarily by drug courts. 

These courts can only divert the sentence of non-violent offenders in cases wherein punishment is not the intent.

About 30% of people affected by substance use disorders who completed rehab in 2015 were referred by the criminal justice system or drug courts. To qualify for involuntary admission by drug courts, however, one must be convicted.

States Where Rehab Can Be Forced (Involuntary Commitment)

The following states have laws allowing a person to be involuntarily committed to rehab. However, it’s important to note that each state has its own specific criteria. Click each one for more information.

Montana (Substance Abuse Only)
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island (Alcoholism Only)
South Carolina
South Dakota
Vermont (Substance Abuse Only)
West Virginia

What are the Benefits of Involuntary Committment for Substance Abuse?

Though many people enter drug rehab annually, not all follow through with the treatment. A person suffering from addiction must stay in rehab long enough to break mental patterns leading to substance abuse and reclaim control of their life. Here are some life-changing benefits of getting an individual involuntary committed to drug rehab.

Restore Their Physical Health

The first phase of drug rehab is detox, during which all substances are eliminated from the body. The detox process can last up to a few weeks, but if a person is in treatment, they are given medication to make this much more bearable. Once they have completed the detox process, their physical health will gradually improve. They’ll feel more energetic and clear-headed.

Better Understanding of Your Mental Patterns

Drugs interfere with the brain’s normal functioning by either stimulating neurons or inhibiting them. This can cause memory problems, lack of mental clarity, and inability to focus or concentrate. 

During drug rehab, an individual learns how addiction affects her brain and what mental patterns trigger cravings. They identify these triggers with their counselor’s help and actively deal with them efficiently.

Identify Underlying Issues

Behavioral therapy is an important part of drug rehab, which helps the patient get deep insight into the underlying issues that pushed them towards substance abuse. 

Drug rehab will help them identify the root causes of their substance abuse habits, whether taking drugs to numb themselves or avoid physical pain.

Build New, Healthy Habits

Drug rehab programs will help someone learn discipline and self-care habits crucial for long-term sobriety. People with substance abuse problems have poor discipline and fail to accomplish their goals. 

As they work with their counselor during rehab, they’ll learn how to set goals and go about achieving them.

Addiction can shatter a person’s resolve to the point where they no longer feel like making an effort. The repetitious cycle of trying to change bad habits but failing can render the person hopeless. 

During treatment, people learn to build new habits conducive to their physical and emotional health, relationships and social life, and spirituality.

Create Boundaries

To begin healing the toll of addiction on your relationships, a person must learn to create healthy boundaries.

People with substance use disorders normally take too little responsibility for their behaviors, and the bigger chunk of responsibility falls on the laps of family and friends.

Establishing relational boundaries will help them navigate healthy relationships. With poorly defined boundaries, the entire family will end up in an awful situation where each member will assume a different role to cope with stress.

These roles only alleviate stress momentarily and can ultimately cause the family unit to collapse.

During rehab, individuals learn to define and detangle relational boundaries that keep their loved ones from taking the toll of their addiction.

How to Convince Someone to Go to Rehab?

Convincing a loved one to enter rehab voluntarily can be extremely difficult. People with substance abuse disorders tend to deny that they have a problem and refuse to seek treatment.

Here’s what you should do to get your loved one to enter rehab:

Educate Yourself on Addiction First 

From the dangers of substance abuse to the behavioral patterns of people with SUDs, you must familiarize yourself with all the details of addiction and rehab before approaching your loved one. 

Research online, talk to specialists, and read relevant literature to educate yourself on the subject fully.

Understand Why People Misuse Substances 

People with SUDs need validation more than anything else in the world. When you have a conversation with them, the chances are that they’ll feel like you don’t understand them. 

Making the conversation only about rehab will backfire on you. It’s important to have a conversation that’s fully bilateral and revolves around the needs of your loved one. Before you bring up the subject of rehab, make sure you listen to them and make them feel validated.

If All Else Fails, try an Intervention

A well-thought-out intervention can go a long way in the progress of addiction treatment for your loved one. Rehab is not an easy subject for people with SUDs and can easily trigger them. 

The goal of an intervention is to present the problem of addiction to your loved one from different perspectives.

This will help them understand the damaging effects of their substance abuse problem on themselves and their loved ones. A skilled professional with experience in addiction counseling can help mediate the conversation.

What are the Consequences of Not Going to Rehab?

Not seeking treatment for substance abuse or addiction has many serious consequences. From physical and mental health to relationships to career, addiction has dire consequences in all areas.

Deterioration of Physical & Mental Health

If left untreated, addiction can cause irreparable damage to major body organs, including the lungs, kidneys, liver, brain, and heart.

Drugs, when consumed for long periods, cause changes in the brain that can result in cognitive impairment, anxiety, and depression.

Poor Relationships

Substance abuse can severely damage relationships. People with addiction can depend on their loved ones for their financial, emotional, and medical needs.

 Codependency can ultimately cause the demise of a relationship and result in the collapse of a family unit.

Social Consequences

People with addiction can get dropped out of school, lose their jobs, become hospitalized, and face legal trouble. Addiction can make you go from a good friend to an almost outcast.

Should I Involuntarily Commit My Loved One to Rehab

It’s a difficult decision, but considering involuntarily committing your loved one to a substance abuse treatment center, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons.

On the one hand, involuntary commitment can provide much-needed structure and support during a difficult time.

It can also give your loved one access to treatment and resources that they may not be able to find on their own.

However, involuntary commitment can also be emotionally draining for you and your loved one.

It’s important to talk to your family, friends, and a professional before making a decision.

What Do I Need to Prove to Get my Loved One Forced into Rehab?

Proving your loved one needs rehab can be a complex process, and it is important to understand what is required before taking action. Generally speaking, three elements must be satisfied for involuntary commitment to be an option.

First, the individual must suffer from a mental illness or substance use disorder. Second, they must be incapable of caring for themselves or making decisions in their best interests.

Finally, they must present a danger to themselves or others if left untreated. If all of these criteria are met, you may petition the court for an involuntary commitment order.

However, it is important to note that this is a last-resort option and should only be pursued after all other avenues have been exhausted.

What Can I Do If I’m Forced into Rehab?

If you’re being forced into rehab, it can be a difficult and confusing experience. It’s important to remember that you have rights, and there are things you can do to help ensure you get the treatment you need.

First, ensure you understand why you’re being sent to rehab. Talk to a counselor or therapist to get more information about your options.

Once you know why you’re going to rehab, you can start to advocate for yourself. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re uncomfortable with the facility or the treatment plan.

You may also want to reach out to family and friends for support. Finally, remember that you can always leave rehab if you feel it’s not right. Whether or not rehab is successful is ultimately up to you.

Take Charge and Seek Help for Yourself

It’s important to understand that family and loved ones usually don’t resort to involuntary commitment out of malice. Take a moment to reflect on the reality behind your drug or alcohol use. 

Sometimes, denial can keep you from getting the help you need. If you don’t like having rehab forced on you, then the best thing you can do is seek help for yourself first. 

If you’re ready to ask questions about drug and alcohol treatment, give us a call. Cornerstone Healing Center is an addiction treatment center in Scottsdale, Arizona. We are ready to meet you with compassion and care. Call today at (800) 643-2108

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Author & Reviewers

susana spiegel recovery writer and SEO expert

Susana is a recovery writer and advocate with over 8 years in addiction recovery. She is passionate about sharing accurate and helpful information about mental health, addiction, and recovery. She holds a Bachelor’s in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University and has over 7 years of working in the addiction field. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges; he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues.

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