How Do I Convince a Loved One to Go to Rehab?

In 2017, an estimated 19.7 million people in the US had a substance use disorder. Of these people, 8.1% had a co-occurring mental illness, such as anxiety or depression.

In 2018, however, 21.2 million people starting from age 12 had the need for substance use treatment. Only 1.4% of them received their needed treatment though.

That said, you may be asking, “how do I convince a loved one to go to rehab and get treatment?” You may also feel worried that they will take your advice to go to rehab the wrong way.

Knowing how to communicate with a person who has a substance use disorder is the first step. We’ll discuss this in detail below, so please keep reading so that you can better prepare yourself.

Have a One-On-One Conversation First

Up to 95% of people with substance use disorder are unaware of their condition. However, this doesn’t mean that they need a whole group of people to tell them about it all at the same time. A sudden intervention with a large group of people may do more harm than good.

As such, it’s often best to first have a one-on-one talk with a loved one whom you think may have a chemical dependency. It’s best if you can find a time and place to be alone together, without distractions.

When you do talk, keep in mind your choice of words and your hand gestures. Look them in the eye to convey your genuine concern. Make sure you avoid words that will make them feel as if they’re in a threatening confrontation.

Remind Them That You Love Them

Society has long since stigmatized people with an addiction. So much so that those with a substance use disorder expect others to criticize or even condemn them. That includes their loved ones, who, in spite of good intentions, end up criticizing them.

This is why one of the first steps to convince a loved one to go to rehab is to show compassion and kindness. Empathize, don’t criticize. Tell them that you don’t know everything, but that you do know you’re ready to help them through their pain.

By being compassionate and kind, you can re-establish trust with your loved one. This can help them remember that you indeed love them.

This may also help them feel less defensive, which can make them feel more comfortable opening up to you. They may not agree to seek treatment right away, but this trust will serve as a stepping stone.

Use “I” and “We” Instead of Just “You”

Using second-person terms like “you”, “your”, and “you’re” can sound accusatory. A loved one in active addiction may be quick to think that you’re about to berate them if you start off with these terms.

Instead, reassure them that you’re there to help and support by saying “I” or “we”. Affirming them of your presence is one of the best ways on how to convince someone to go to rehab.

So, rather than saying “You need help”, it may be better to say “I care about you and I’ll be here to support you every step of the way”. You can also encourage them by saying “We will get through this together”.

Be as Honest as You Are Kind

Over time, people with an addiction increase their harmful use of drugs in multiples of 2. This increase is due to the gradual resistance of their bodies to the effects of the drugs. The longer the hazardous use goes on, the more tolerant their bodies become to the drugs’ effects.

This tolerance, in turn, can make a person with an addictive disorder turn to deception. It’s not uncommon for people with active addiction to lie or steal so as to acquire more drugs.

This is why other members of the household are often the first to feel the effects of hazardous drug use.

That said, one of the ways on how to get someone into rehab is to hold them accountable for their past actions. While you should definitely avoid being intimidating, you should be completely honest too. Let your loved one know how exactly their previous actions have had a direct negative impact on you.

Again, do your best to use non-blaming terms when speaking with them. As much as possible, don’t let your emotions take over by forcing you to raise your voice. Remember: they are a person separate from the disease, so treat them as such.

Seek the Help of an Addiction Treatment Specialist

During your one-on-one talk, ask your loved one if they are willing to seek treatment. If they resist, don’t insist. Don’t walk away immediately though — remind them again of how much you care for them before leaving.

Right after this, consider speaking with an addiction treatment professional. Enlist their help to hold an intervention as soon as possible.

Gather other family members and friends of your loved one with an addictive disorder. Ask them if they can participate in the intervention. Choose participants with the lowest risk of breaking down or becoming too emotional.

An intervention with a specialist may work better as they serve as a neutral party. They can re-establish balance when emotions go out of control during the intervention.

Since they are a health care professional, they will scientifically validate your concern. There may be a need for this if your loved one questions or counters your claims about the dangers of drugs.

If done right, an intervention can make your loved one realize that many people care about them. It can make them forget about the social stigma of addiction. By knowing that they have strong social support, they’re more likely to agree to treatment. This is how you can convince them for rehab.

Keep Supporting Your Loved One Even After They Agree to Go to Rehab

When your loved one agrees to go to rehab, it’s important to remind them that you’ll await their return. They need to remember that they have a warm home, a loving family, and concerned friends to return to. This knowledge can help them get through and complete their treatment.

If you need assistance in reaching out to your loved one with a substance use disorder, we can help. Please get in touch with us so that we can help you help your loved one seek proper and prompt treatment.

Get Help Today

Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you’re facing. Get in touch with one today.