When someone you love is struggling with addiction, it can be difficult to know how you can help them. One thing you can’t do is step into their life and make a change for them, oftentimes this is a change they cannot make on their own. While the support of loved ones can be a huge benefit during recovery, the acknowledgment that drugs or alcohol has become a problem and the steps toward sobriety ultimately have to come from the individual. But you can learn how to get someone into rehab and help them take those steps — or seek a court-appointed ruling to get someone in rehab if they’re presenting a danger to themselves or others.

Here’s what you need to know about getting someone into rehab in various scenarios. For guidance through this process call us at 252-715-3905.

How to Get Someone Into Rehab When They Have Asked for Help

The first scenario occurs when a friend or family member admits to you they are struggling with a substance abuse problem and asks for your help. While it may seem small, this is a huge step for someone who is considering recovery. It’s important to react as calmly as you can and talk with the person in a nonjudgmental manner. It’s also critical to realize that you probably can’t help this person on your own; addiction is a chronic illness that typically requires professional intervention. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help from counselors, doctors or rehab facilities.

Offer to help your loved one research recovery options, be with them when they call or visit a facility or help them arrange an appointment with a doctor or therapist. For someone who’s been caught in the cycle of addiction, reaching outside of it is the unknown and can be scary. Offering encouragement and support through this process makes it more likely your loved one will follow through on seeking professional addiction treatment in North Carolina.

How to Convince Someone to Go to Rehab

If you’re wondering how to get someone into rehab when they haven’t come to you for help, you probably realize it’s a more complicated process. This is especially true if the person has been hiding their addiction or avoiding discussing it.

First, you must talk to the person about the addiction. This is often referred to as “confronting someone about addiction,” but remember that confrontational behavior on your part can spark defensive behavior on theirs. Here are some tips for opening the discussion about drug or alcohol abuse with a loved one.

  • Whenever possible, choose a time and place that’s comfortable for you both. The Thanksgiving dinner table (with all the relatives looking on) or the hurried moments before rushing off to work are not ideal. Try to select options that afford privacy, time and physical comfort.
  • Prepare yourself so you can remain as calm as possible. Don’t make light of the situation or pretend it’s not upsetting, but try to keep an even tone and remain on topic. Be honest and specific about how the other person’s addiction makes you feel so they can understand they alone aren’t impacted but don’t make it all about you or play any sort of blame game. Always remember that addiction is a disease process.
  • Listen to the other person too; if they’re willing to talk about their addiction, it’s a good sign. But how you react can set the tone for the rest of the discussion.
  • Do try to find a moment when the person is sober if possible; if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may not be rational or able to appropriately process what you are saying.
  • If you’ve attempted to talk to someone about their drug or alcohol abuse unsuccessfully, consider speaking to a professional who can help you stage an intervention.

Once you’ve opened the door to the discussion and the other person has started to respond in a positive manner, bring up treatment options. Offer to help them research options, and encourage them that rehab is available for every person and there are many options. If they are willing, don’t wait — call Changing Tides at 252-715-3905 for a free consultation. We will speak with your loved one and help them understand what options they have for seeking recovery; if we’re not the appropriate facility, we can offer a recommendation to another rehab.

How to Get Someone Into Rehab Against Their Will

Unfortunately, there are times that no amount of discussion convinces someone to take those important first steps into recovery. In some of these cases, court-ordered rehab may be possible.

In North Carolina, the criteria for involuntary commitment to a rehab facility is that the person is using drugs or alcohol pathologically and presents a danger to themselves or others. In cases such as these, there are three paths to seeking involuntary commitment.

  1. You can petition the court. If the magistrate agrees with your petition, they order a law enforcement officer to take the individual into custody and transport them to a hospital ER or other appropriate medical facility for an exam. This must occur within 24 hours of the order. If the evaluating clinician agrees there is a danger present, the individual is admitted to a 24-hour facility. A second exam occurs at that time and the second clinician decides whether the individual should be released or admitted to an outpatient or inpatient substance abuse program. The individually legally must comply with this recommendation but will have a hearing before the court within 10 days to decide the matter going forward.
  2. A clinician can file the petition, and this counts as the first exam. If the magistrate agrees with the petition and issues an order, a law enforcement officer transports the individual directly to the 24-hour facility, and the rest of the process from step one occurs.
  3. A clinician can file an emergency petition. This is done when the clinician believes the person needs immediate medical or psychiatric care. It counts as the first exam, and the magistrate review is skipped; the individual goes straight to the 24-hour facility and the rest of the process from step one is followed.

You can access the forms for involuntary commitment on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website.

Reaching Out for Help Today

Involuntary commitment processes exist for a reason, and sometimes this process is the only way to protect someone. And court-ordered commitments can work; someone may have several days or a week within rehab before a court hearing, and that may be enough for them to begin to realize they’re struggling with addiction and that change is possible.But it’s also true that someone who is a willing participant in their rehab is more likely to see success. Involuntary commitment processes are usually a last resort effort, and you don’t have to wait for that to be your only option. Contact Changing Tides today to understand how we can help your loved one take the first steps toward recovery and sobriety.