forced rehab

Can I Force My Kid to Go to Rehab? The Facts Behind Forced Rehab

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

In an ideal world, your loved one would voluntarily seek treatment when struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, individuals with substance abuse issues often don’t seek help until it’s too late. If your loved one is struggling and won’t seek help, you may be seeking information on forced rehab (addiction treatment).

When someone is in danger of harming themselves or others, or has been arrested on drug-related charges, they may be involuntarily committed for treatment at a rehab center. Is this something that might be necessary for your loved one? And if so, would it actually work to help get them on the path to sobriety?

What Is Forced Rehab (Addiction Treatment)?

Though it’s an option in most states in America, forced addiction treatment should only be used in serious situations when your loved one won’t seek help on their own. In these cases, involuntary commitment might be an option:

  • Under 18. By age 18, 60% of kids under 18 have tried alcohol. Because young people are significantly more likely to binge drink than adults, alcohol use by adolescents and teens can quickly turn dangerous. If your child, adolescent, or teenager under 18 is struggling with addiction, you can commit them to a rehab facility to get the help they need.
  • Danger to themselves or others. Certain laws, like California 5150, allow you to have a loved one involuntarily committed for 72 hours if they pose a real threat to themselves and others. For example, attempts at suicide require immediate intervention. If treatment professionals then decide that your loved one needs care beyond 72 hours, they’ll be entitled to a lawyer.
  • Unable to care for self. Addiction to drugs and alcohol can make it difficult, if not impossible, for someone to care for themselves. Under California 5150, if you can prove to a judge that someone cannot perform basic tasks of self-preservation, then it may be possible to get them admitted to treatment.
  • Court-mandated. In many cases, adults become involuntarily committed following a legal situation. For example, the court may mandate treatment for someone who is charged for trafficking drugs or stealing money to pay for drugs.

Does Forced Addiction Treatment Work?

If someone is in danger of causing themselves serious harm through their drug or alcohol addiction, then forced addiction treatment can save their life. Swift intervention with medical withdrawal treatment can mean the difference between life and death, and going to rehab treatment can prevent a hefty prison sentence. Sometimes, involuntary commitment is a “wake up call” that helps someone gain perspective on their addiction issue.

But is forced addiction treatment a good long-term solution? One study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse compared a group of men who had been ordered to go to court-mandated treatment with a group who had gone voluntarily. After five years, both groups had the same rate of abstinence. Regardless of how one arrives at rehab, research shows that skilled treatment has been shown to help stop drug abuse and criminal behaviors, as well as improve an individual’s quality of life.

While forced rehab can definitely help get your loved one the help they need, it’s always better to seek treatment voluntarily. This way, they can enter into a rehabilitation program guided by their own intention to get well. If you think that a loved one needs treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, it’s always preferable to communicate, have a conversation, and encourage them to get the help they need willingly.

Getting Help for Your Loved One in Fresno, CA

Seeking help for substance abuse is the first step on a lifetime journey to sobriety. However, each individual reaches that first step in a unique way.

In serious cases, forced addiction treatment can save lives. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, our compassionate care services at First Step Recovery can help. Want to learn more? Please reach out to us today.

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