Can You Force Someone Into Rehab? Understanding The Treatment Of Substance Addiction


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Substance addiction is a serious issue that affects millions of people in the (US) United States, and Los Angeles is no exception. Rehabs in LA provide specialized treatments to those struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, offering hope for recovery and lasting sobriety. But what happens when someone isn't ready to seek professional help? Can family members force them into rehab? Understanding how treatment works can help families decide if this step is necessary.

Can You Force Someone Into Rehab? Understanding The Treatment Of Substance Addiction

The very important thing to remember is that rehab should be voluntary. This article discusses how to encourage a loved one to seek treatment.

What Is Involuntary Rehab?

An involuntary rehabilitation is an inpatient program of medical care and treatment for substance addiction that a person is sent to without their consent. The court, a parent, or another legal guardian may order it. Generally, it involves psychiatric evaluation and stabilization as well as more intensive substance abuse treatment. Involuntary rehab can be beneficial if someone needs immediate care or is a threat to themselves or others.

What Are The Criteria For Involuntary Commitment?

For a person to be involuntarily committed, they must meet specific criteria. This includes:

• Being in an extreme state of mental illness to the point that they cannot care for their safety and well-being.
• Showing signs of potential harm or danger to themselves or they inflict physical harm to others.
• Refusing voluntary treatment in alcohol rehab for their condition, despite its need.
• Having a history of similar behavior in the past.
• Being a danger to the community or public safety.
The mental health professional that evaluates the individual must also document all criteria being met for the court to approve an involuntary commitment petition.

It is important to remember that involuntary commitment should only be used as last resort when no other options are available. The decision to involuntarily commit an individual is not taken lightly, as it can have severe implications for their future.

What Does the Involuntary Rehab Treatment Process Look Like?

The process of involuntary rehab varies depending on the state and facility but typically includes the following:

Evaluation for Substance Abuse:
Mental health or licensed medical professionals will evaluate the person's current condition and create a treatment plan for their needs.

Admission Process:
The person may be admitted to an inpatient facility and placed under 24-hour supervision. This can be done through a court order, voluntary admission, or involuntary commitment depending on the state.

Depending on the severity of substance addiction and any underlying mental health issues, treatment may include one-on-one therapy, group counseling, medication management, and alternative therapies in drug rehab.

Aftercare For Substance Use Disorder:
Once a person has completed inpatient treatment, they will need to continue with outpatient therapy and support services such as 12-step meetings or peer-support groups.

How Do Involuntary Commitment Laws Work?

Involuntary commitment laws are used to provide treatment for mentally ill individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others. The involuntary commitment process is usually initiated by a family member, friend, mental health professional, or law enforcement official.

The steps are as follows:

• The individual must be evaluated by a mental health professional to determine if they meet the criteria for involuntary commitment.
• A petition is then filed with the court in which it is determined that the individual is unable or unwilling to seek treatment on their own accord.
• The judge will review all evidence and testimony presented before deciding whether or not to order commitment.
• If a commitment is ordered, the individual will be held in a secure facility for an extended time and receive mental health treatment.
• The court may also order additional treatments such as medications, psychotherapy, or other therapeutic approaches depending on the needs of the individual.
• After the individual has completed their court-ordered treatment, they may be released from the facility or placed on probation with continued outpatient supervision.

Involuntary commitment can be beneficial in some cases, but it is essential to remember that rehabilitation should always be voluntary.

What Are the Rights of Involuntarily Committed Individuals?

Involuntarily committed individuals have certain rights that all parties must respect. Some of the rights include:

Right To Be Informed:
Individuals have the right to know about their right to legal representation, the nature of their commitment, and any other relevant information.

Right To Access Treatment:
Individuals have a right to receive appropriate mental health care and treatment for their condition.

Right To Privacy:
All confidential information about an individual's mental health is protected by law and must not be disclosed without consent.

Right To Refuse Treatment:
Even when involuntarily committed, individuals still have the right to refuse certain treatments if they wish.

Right To Appeal:
Individuals can appeal their involuntary commitment if they believe it was unjustified or that the conditions of their confinement are too restrictive.

These rights must be respected and upheld, and you should report rights violations immediately if you notice them.

How Can Family Members Help During Addiction Treatment?

Family members can play an essential role in helping an individual struggling with substance use disorder to recover.

Family members can provide emotional and practical support, such as helping with daily tasks and providing a listening ear.

Family members can learn about the disease of addiction and how it affects those struggling with it. This knowledge can help family members better understand their loved ones and provide them with more effective support. You can also visit mental health services for more information.

Family members can motivate their loved ones to stay on track with their treatment plan and help them to develop healthier coping skills to fight drug abuse.

Family members can speak up for their loved ones and advocate for the best possible treatment.

Family members can also hold their loved one accountable by providing encouragement and accountability in regard to continuing with recovery-related activities such as attending therapy or support groups.

By providing this type of support, family members can play a crucial role in helping an individual struggling with an addiction to achieve a healthier and more fulfilling life.


The decision to seek professional help for substance addiction can be challenging, and you shouldn't take it lightly. Involuntary rehab may be necessary if someone is in immediate danger or cannot make an informed decision about recovery. However, seeking treatment should always be a voluntary process - it is the only way to achieve long-term sobriety.

Families and friends of those struggling with mental health disorders can support and encourage their loved ones to seek help on their terms. By understanding the treatment process and being there for each other during this difficult time, families can help their loved ones find lasting sobriety.
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