Can You Make Someone Go to Rehab Against their Will?

Dealing with a loved one’s addiction is incredibly tough. Oftentimes, families and loved ones find themselves in a position where they have exhausted all of their options–having a conversation, establishing boundaries, setting an ultimatum, or even staging an intervention–all to no avail. Their addicted loved one still refuses to get help and friends and family are left desperate, wondering what else they can do to help their loved one before it is too late.

If you love someone who is struggling with addiction but refusing to get help, you might find yourself wondering if it’s possible to make them go to rehab even if they don’t want to. While the situation is complex, there are certain circumstances where forcing someone into rehab against their will might be considered.

Why Might Someone Want to Force a Loved One Into Rehab Against Their Will?

When you see a loved one struggling with addiction, it’s natural to want to help. But sometimes, they might not realize the severity of their situation. People who struggle with addiction often face things like denial, shame, embarrassment, or fear–all of which can stop them from accepting the help they need.

As a result, you might consider intervention out of concern for their health, safety, and overall well-being. It’s often motivated by love, even though it might not feel that way to them initially.

There are some situations in which making someone go to rehab against their will is beneficial for their well-being. For example, if someone is repeatedly overdosing or unable to care for themselves, their livelihood may depend on whether or not they get into rehab. Another situation would be if the individual was at risk of harming themselves or others. In this case, going to rehab can keep the individual and the people around him or her safe.

Can You Force Someone to Go to Rehab? What the California Law Says

Currently, 37 U.S. states have legal processes in place that allow family members or concerned loved ones to petition for involuntary commitment. Involuntary commitment is the legal term for court-ordering a person to receive an evaluation for a mental health or substance abuse treatment program.

In California, there’s a legal process that allows for involuntary commitment to treatment in certain cases. This process is known as “5150,” and it allows for a person to be held temporarily if they are deemed a danger to themselves or others due to a mental disorder or substance abuse issue. While it’s a challenging step to take, it’s designed to protect individuals in crisis.

Laws vary by state. While most states have general involuntary commitment laws, others have specific laws in place addressing mental health and addiction. For example, Florida has The Baker Act for mental health emergencies and The Marchman Act for commitment to an addiction treatment program.

Is Forced Rehab Really a Good Idea?

While the idea of forcing someone into rehab can be distressing, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. In some cases, it might lead to the person realizing the need for help and eventually embracing the treatment. However, it’s not a guaranteed solution, and it could lead to resistance, anger, or even worsen the situation.

Many people who are reluctant to go to rehab end up warming up to the treatment process once they arrive at a treatment facility and begin experiencing the recoveries of their peers. Watching other people who are in similar situations recover can inspire hope and motivation–which is all people need to start their recovery journey.

If your loved one is at risk of hurting themselves or others and refuses to go to rehab, making them go to rehab against their will could save their life.

Understanding The Alternatives

Before considering involuntary commitment, it’s crucial to explore other options. Open and honest communication with your loved one about your concerns could lead them to voluntarily seek help. You might also want to consider staging a professional intervention, where family and friends express their worries and support for treatment. Consulting addiction specialists or therapists can provide valuable insights into navigating this challenging journey.

Remember, the decision to force someone into rehab is never easy, and it’s important to approach the situation with compassion and empathy. Addiction is a complex issue, and the path to recovery can differ for each individual. Ultimately, seeking guidance from professionals and considering the well-being of your loved one are key factors in making the right choice.

Get Help for an Addicted Loved One Today

If you are ready to pursue treatment options for an addicted loved one, our team at Arise Treatment Center is here to help.

Arise Treatment Center is a leading behavioral health provider located in Vista, California. Using a combination of comprehensive addiction treatment and therapy programs, we help people break away from the cycle of addiction and embark on the road to recovery. Our dedicated admissions counselors can evaluate your situation, speak to your loved one, and take all necessary steps to get them admitted to the best treatment center for them.

To get the process started or to learn about our California addiction treatment programs, please contact us today.


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