Although technically yes you can make a person get addiction help, the consequences of doing so can permanently damage your relationship with that person. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction treatment does not have to be voluntary to be useful. Unfortunately, involuntary treatment comes at a very high cost. There are other ways to go about encouraging someone to seek treatment if you are worried that their drug addiction is out of control.
Ways to Force a Person to Get Addiction Help
Involuntary treatment is a very difficult thing. Although you cannot tie someone up and drag them to rehab there are ways to get force someone to get treatment. It is very important to consider that these ways are not a good idea unless as a last resort. Forcing someone into treatment is very dangerous under the best of circumstances. Best case scenario they realize you are doing it for their own good. Worst-case scenario the treatment does not work, they lose their job, and family and you have just made their life worse. If it is necessary to force someone into treatment you can:
- Speak with the police – calling the police when they have drugs on them will get them arrested, charged, and incarcerated. Assuming they are convicted, they will get rudimentary treatment while in jail. They might also be sentenced to rehab, which is slightly better than jail and has more of a chance of working. Their drug use will become public record and they will have to deal with those aspects for the rest of their life.
- Prove they are a danger to themselves or others – this is called a baker act and they will be placed on a 72 hour hold pending an evaluation. After the evaluation, they might end up in rehab they might not.
These are the only two legitimate ways to force someone into rehab. All other ways involve rehab being voluntary.
Dangers of Forcing Someone into Rehab
The main danger of forcing someone into rehab is that it does not work and you have exacerbated the reason why they are taking drugs in the first place. They could lose their job, family, friends, position in life, and suffer additional financial hardship. You might be forcing them to live with the stigma of drug addiction as on public record for the rest of their life. This could prevent them from getting a job, loan, or other services. This is very important to consider before actually forcing someone to get help. It is not a good idea to try the above methods unless they are in extreme danger. There are other ways to go about encouraging a person to get help.
How to Encourage Someone to Get Help without Forcing Them
There are several methods of encouraging someone to get help without applying the strong-arm tactics of using force. One of the most common methods is with an intervention. There are a variety of intervention techniques to employ. These techniques are:
- Coercion – In this intervention technique, you threaten the addict with consequences. Some people use financial threats such as cutting the person off. Others use divorce, separation, or family abandonment.
- Bribery – In this intervention technique, you use something the person wants to get them to go to rehab. Some people use money, gifts, or other status symbols. Some people use marriage or stopping divorce or legal proceedings.
- Shaming – In this intervention technique, you shame the person into going to rehab. Some people use past actions or current situation to do this.
- Family pain – in this intervention technique you use what the addiction is doing to friends and family in order to get them to go to rehab. Each family member or friend shares what the addiction is doing to them personally to encourage treatment.
Although these methods seem strong, they do have a reasonable success rate, according to the National Library of Medicine. Most people respond better to positive intervention techniques than they do negative. They also seem to have a better success rate and lower relapse rate when they voluntarily go into treatment either on their own or do to an intervention technique.
How to Help a Person Decide to get Treatment
Aside from interventions and force there are ways you can help a person seek treatment. You can show your support by talking to them calmly and rationally about their addiction. Yelling or threatening does not work. Even intervention techniques using coercion do not involve anger. Encourage the drug user to seek support in a calm manner. Show them that you are their friend and you only want to help.
Treat the person how you would want to be treated if you were in their situation. Understand that the drug addiction is a disease and not a moral failing. Help them understand that there is usually an underlying cause that is treatable.
Talk to them about what their addiction is doing to you and others that they are close to. Sometimes this is enough to persuade them to seek treatment.
Although you can make a person get addiction help it is not always wise to do it. The term make implies force and although treatment can work when forced it is less likely to succeed. Not only is the relapse rate high, the person might end up resenting you or in a worse circumstance than they were before.