While many people willingly engage with addiction treatment, there is also a place for involuntary rehab on the continuum of care.
From staging an intervention and checking a reluctant loved one into a rehab center, to rehab ordered by the courts for a variety of offenses, not everyone who commits to recovery takes the initial steps through free will.
The most recent data from SAMHSA’s yearly National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH 2020) shows that both alcoholism and addiction are on the rise in the United States. 28.5 million people satisfy the criteria for alcohol use disorder, while 40 million are diagnosed with substance use disorder.
Not only are millions of people grappling with various addictions, but the consequences of substance abuse almost always ripple outward, impacting friends and family, as well as the community and society.
To make things even worse, researchers estimate that only 10% of those requiring addiction treatment engage with any form of therapy.
Where does involuntary admission to rehab come into play, then?
Involuntary Admission to Rehab
Placing a loved one into involuntary rehab involves following a step-by-step process. This process varies from state to state, but you must typically demonstrate these criteria:
- Threat: Your loved one poses a danger to themselves or others.
- Disability: Addiction has triggered physical or mental disabilities in a friend or family member.
- Neglect: When a loved one is unable to fulfill their basic needs or deal with routine affairs due to the abuse of substances.
- Incapacitation: If your loved one is rendered completely out of control through addiction to drink or drugs.
There are involuntary commitment laws in 35 states, and also in the District of Columbia.
The person able to petition the court for involuntary rehab varies by state, but the person with a substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder requires an assessment from a medical professional leading to a written recommendation of addiction treatment.
Court-Mandated Substance Abuse Treatment
How addiction is viewed has changed over the decades as scientific research has further illuminated the reasons underpinning addiction, a chronic and relapsing brain disorder.
Where once addiction was viewed as a moral failing, character flaw, or weakness and treated as a criminal matter, the modern scientific viewpoint considers addiction as a disease and a public health issue requiring rehabilitation and not incarceration.
With some substance-related crimes today, court-ordered rehab can serve as a more fitting alternative to jail time. Some of the most common crimes committed under the influence of drink and drugs are:
- Domestic violence
- Property crimes
To qualify for court-ordered drug treatment rather than a prison sentence, your loved one will need to undergo an initial screening investigation. You can request this screening, conducted by police officers and addiction specialists.
Firstly, your loved one is remanded into custody. It is then possible for addiction specialists to evaluate whether or not they can exercise control over their actions due to substance abuse.
If the police officers and addiction specialists agree that the person represents a danger to themself or others, the court will issue an emergency court order. This leads to a hearing being scheduled.
The person who committed the offense, their loved ones, and an attorney can all request court-appointed rehab instead of a custodial sentence, but the final decision will rest with the judge. If the judge decides that court-ordered rehab is the best option, the charges will not be dropped until the person completes the rehab program.
Your loved one will only qualify for court-ordered rehab if the following conditions are satisfied:
- The crime was non-violent.
- The defendant has not previously attended court-appointed rehab.
- The offense was the result of dependence on alcohol or drugs.
- The offense qualifies for probationary sentencing.
- The court believes the defendant would benefit from rehab.
How To Get Someone Help Who Doesn’t Want It
If you have a loved one grappling with substance abuse, and you need to resort to involuntary rehab, you should ideally encourage them to seek professional help before they end up in legal trouble as a result of their addiction.
Here are some simple ways to encourage someone struggling with an addiction to get the help they need, even if they are reluctant to engage with therapy.
- Take the medical approach first
- Stop funding or enabling the addiction
- Offer your unconditional support
- Encourage your loved one to engage with the appropriate level of addiction treatment
- Consider staging an intervention if all else fails
1) Take the medical approach first
The sustained use of addictive substances causes structural and functional brain changes. If it seems like your loved one is not acting in their right mind, you are witnessing the compulsive behaviors triggered by addiction.
Suggest to your loved one that they schedule a routine check-up appointment. Inform their doctor of the suspected addiction.
You may find that your loved one takes more notice of a medical professional than a friend or family member, especially if the doctor recommends some form of substance abuse treatment.
2) Stop funding or enabling the addiction
Many people with family members struggling with addiction end up enabling these addictions when they are only trying to help.
By enabling your loved ones, you will insulate them from the effects of their addiction, ultimately prolonging active addiction and delaying treatment. Stop lying for your loved ones, stop making excuses for them, and stop providing financial assistance that enables them to continue using alcohol or drugs.
Set firm boundaries or behaviors you consider acceptable or unacceptable. More importantly, maintain these boundaries without feeling guilty about it.
None of this means you need to stop helping your loved one. On the contrary, you are now in a much stronger position to help meaningfully and sustainably, so what comes next?
3) Offer your unconditional support
Tell your loved one that you want them to engage with addiction treatment, whether in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Let them know you are prepared to help them every step of the way.
If you educate yourself about addiction, you can advise your friend or family member that rehab doesn’t need to mean a month or more in residential rehab. If your loved one feels they can remain anchored to their everyday life while engaging with outpatient rehab, this might help them feel less intimidated about recovery.
Perhaps your loved one is still resistant to the idea of any form of treatment. Rather than forcing the issue, return to this conversation at another time. Consider it an ongoing dialogue, just as recovery is an ongoing journey rather than a time-limited event.
4) Encourage your loved one to engage with the appropriate level of addiction treatment
Continue gently encouraging your loved one to commit to some form of addiction treatment, whether that is a medical detox or an outpatient program.
While denial is a common by-product of addiction, you may find in some cases that your loved one doesn’t advance beyond this, continuing to steadfastly deny that they have a problem with drink or drugs. If this happens, all is not lost…
5) Consider staging an intervention if all else fails
Staging a formal intervention involves gathering friends and family members who feel the individual in question needs addiction treatment.
Convening in a private residence when the person is not intoxicated, each member of the intervention group explains how the person’s addiction is negatively impacting their lives, using specific examples.
Handled correctly, the person can see that all of their loved ones feel they would benefit from addiction treatment without feeling judged or bullied.
In the optimum outcome, you can immediately connect your loved ones with the treatment they need. We can help you with involuntary rehab here at Renaissance Recovery Center.
Getting Addiction Help at Renaissance Recovery
Here at Renaissance, we can help you with all forms of addictions, including alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder.
Once you have detoxed from drink or drugs – this typically takes a week or so – you are ready to engage with one of our evidence-based outpatient treatment programs. In addition to standard outpatient programs (OPs), we also offer more intensive programming in the form of intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs).
Additionally, we can provide remote outpatient treatment for those unable to access a treatment center through our virtual IOP.
Once you have determined the right level of support and structure for the scope and severity of your addiction, your treatment team will personalize an array of the following therapies:
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- Psychotherapy like CBT or DBT
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Holistic therapies
For anyone with co-occurring mental health disorders like anxiety or depression, engaging with our dual diagnosis treatment program will allow you to tackle both these issues head-on for the best chance of a complete recovery.
To get started or learn more about involuntary rehab, reach out to admissions today at 866.330.9449.