How to get someone into alcohol rehab?

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If you’re planning to get someone into alcohol rehab, the first step is to recognize the signs of addiction.  

Some signs include: 

  • Severe cravings for alcohol 
  • Loss of control in life 
  • Changes in behaviour 
  • Frequent mood changes 
  • Poor body coordination 
  • Denial of addiction 
  • Weight gain or loss 
  • Slurred speech 
  • A decline in cognitive abilities 

If a person is in a chronic alcoholic state, then rehab is the only way to get to recovery. Rehab focuses on recovery from alcohol and the underlying conditions that led to this addiction. 

Also, the only way to get a family member or loved one into rehab is for them to admit to a mental health professional, who then schedules rehab for them. 

Some people say that they can get treatment for alcohol abuse and alcoholism without anyone else ever knowing or asking.

The truth is, it’ll be harder for alcoholics to self-treat their addiction and they may undergo relapse anytime. 

If you think your loved one should seek rehab, you need to know their lifestyle and capabilities whether they can turn themselves in.  

Recognise these signs before talking to the person for rehab.

  • Borrowing or stealing money to buy alcohol 
  • Being secretive 
  • Spending a lot of time drinking 
  • Missing work and family events due to hangover 
  • Avoiding responsibilities 
  • Developing poor hygiene and lifestyle habits 
  • Smelling like alcohol 
  • Developing impulsive actions 
  • Feeling ill if they stopped drinking (alcohol withdrawal symptoms) 

If you noticed any of these symptoms it’s important to take action. It sounds easy, but it is not. Most alcoholics have family members, friends and, colleagues who have difficulty them to commit to it.  

Many alcoholics declined treatment because they are afraid, and refused to get into rehab with an expert.

Different alcohol recovery centres are familiar with this case and know the high risk of dying from alcohol poisoning because of the inability to stop drinking. 

Many things can make someone decline treatment or become evasive when seeking help, including denial, the cost, and the time involved.  

Other reasons why some individuals don’t want to enrol in a rehab facility is that they: 

  • Are in denial of the addiction. 
  • Can’t afford rehab. 
  • Are afraid they won’t get better. 
  • May fall into relapse. 
  • Think that alcohol withdrawal symptoms may hurt. 
  • Expect that treatments and therapies won’t work for them. 

You can minimize the fear in them by sharing resources on alcohol rehab. That way, they’ll know what to expect when undergoing rehab. 

How to Get Someone to Rehab?

If your loved one wants to go into rehab, you can start searching for the best recovery programme. If they’re unwilling to enrol in a rehab centre, it’s best to have a healthy intervention without being too confrontational about it.

Learn which treatment options are suited for your loved one. Many treatment facilities offer a personalized plan that addresses this or her specific needs. You can even discuss financing and insurance coverage with an alcohol counsellor.

Rehabilitation centres offer a range of treatments designed to empower people to live healthy lives in the communities that they have chosen to live in.

Through education and counselling, individuals learn how to get control over addictions and build healthy relationships.

Can You Force Someone to Go to Rehab?

Just because someone refuses treatment, doesn’t mean they don’t need it.

Unfortunately, it’s unlawful to force someone to go to rehab if the alcoholic has a sound mind and strong consciousness over the matter of his or her addiction.

In the UK, nonetheless, there are laws and policies where you can force someone to go to rehab. However, there is strict adherence to these guidelines before putting someone in a facility centre against their will.

Forcing Someone to Go to Rehab

The Mental Health Act of 1983 allows people to compel alcoholics to enrol in rehab. An alcoholic patient may be admitted to a treatment facility or hospital where they are detained there for a certain period.

Mental health condition

A patient may be admitted to a hospital if he or she is suffering from a mental disorder to a degree that necessitates admission to a hospital or treatment facility for assessment.

What’s more, patients found to harm themselves and others while intoxicated, should also be detained for their and others’ safety.

Court-order rehab

If the Crown Court or magistrate’s court found evidence that the perpetrator has committed the crime intentionally or unintentionally and suffering from a mental disorder, the alcoholic person can be remanded for rehab.

The Act was also designed to limit criminal prosecution of alcoholics for assaults on family members and strangers. If the patient is held under this act, they will stay in the facility for a certain period.

Voluntary Rehab

Most rehab centres prefer voluntary rehab where the patient enters the facility on his or her own choice. One can’t coerce a loved one to enrol in a treatment centre if they don’t want to.

But, what if you could convince someone to do it voluntarily, based on a good-faith commitment by the person that they desire to go to rehab?

In situations like this, you would be able to compel someone who knows they need help, and who feels the desire to stay as healthy as possible.

Know the severity of their addiction

Alcohol addiction progresses over several phases. Sometimes, it's impossible to pinpoint the severity of alcoholism with your loved one.

If you can still talk to them on a one-on-one level, you can help nudge them to visit a doctor. You will realize when they have gone too far in their addiction when they burst out of control and won't seek medical help.

Cut out funding

An addict will mostly seek funding from you or pawn items on the house to continue the habit. Refuse when they ask for money from you. A severe alcoholic may have display outbursts if you say no.

Nonetheless, stay firm on your decision and air your side that the alcoholism has gone too far.

Offer positive support

Offer positive support to an alcoholic to join a rehab. Be kind to them. Understand their addiction is a voluntary action. Stay in touch with them regularly by talking on the phone and visiting when they need your help.

Offer your unconditional help and compassion. Be sure to advise that if they go to rehab they will have a chance to reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption.

Avoid a nagging reminder

As part of the process, you could suggest to your alcoholic friend or family member to get alcohol addiction counselling from your doctor.

Ask your doctor to prescribe a voluntary alcohol use reduction counselling plan with an alcohol therapist in your area. Be sure to emphasize that these voluntary treatments are voluntary.

If you feel that you have exhausted all of your options, ask for voluntary alcohol addiction counselling. Be sure to offer a positive supportive approach to your alcoholic friend or family member.

Be clear and decisive with your intentions. You must remain compassionate towards your friend’s goal. Tell them that your willingness to provide them with voluntary rehab comes with positive support.

Alcohol Intervention Preparation Advice for Families

If you’re thinking of trying to send an alcoholic family member to rehab, you have to be honest and upfront and take a risk.

Indeed, alcoholics can sometimes make their problems worse, but people can also develop a problem with alcohol simply by living with someone who drinks heavily.

You can help to make sure that your family member gets the help he or she needs to become sober.

Preparation for an Alcohol Intervention

An alcohol intervention specialist assists families in planning successful treatment.

They assessed the conditions of the addiction and assist family members in determining the best option for getting your loved one to choose a rehab.

If your loved one has experienced the following, you may need an intervention with a specialist:

  • Has a history of severe mental health condition
  • Has a history of violence
  • Stealing or looking for money to buy alcohol
  • Making impulsive decisions
  • Missing work, school, or family events

If your loved one agrees, the intervention provider may arrange the appropriate recovery programme and follow-up schedule.

Holding interventions at Home

It’s common to see the intervention taking place in one’s own home. These alcoholic individuals should be allowed to feel safe while the specialist talks to him or them and the family.

Usually, the duration of intervention lasts for an hour or two.

Family members may not know what to do to help those who do not have a recovery plan. Here’s how you can start helping a loved one.

Step 1: Try to understand what triggered the drinking. Hold a family discussion with the specialist about what are the patterned triggers that often led to the drinking problem.

Step 2: Discuss with family members how to handle your loved one’s alcoholism. The intervention often serves as a precursor to the rehab.

Would your loved one need treatment or a therapy session with a psychiatrist? Does he or she refuse to seek treatment?

Step 3: Educate yourself about relapse prevention. Learn as much as you can about alcoholism and how you can help your loved one who is struggling.

Know its effects on the body, how you can manage drinking behaviour, or how to give support to a family member.

Step 4: Support your family member with practical help that benefits their successful recovery.

Contribute to your loved one’s sobriety by taking them to outpatient counselling appointments, volunteering, and healthy activities with a support group.

Step 5: Try to help them reduce stress by understanding what rehab and intervention are for them. The primary goal of rehab is to help the patient live a sober life.

Rehab is helpful to the alcoholic because intervention allows family members the opportunity to spend more time with the recovering patient so the patient’s stress levels decrease.

Step 6: Support them with positive reinforcement and actions like spending time together, including the loved one being honest about their addiction.

Discuss what they are willing to do, what they want to get out of rehab, and get the intervention process going.

Step 7: Establish strategies to give guidance and support. Enlisting family members or friends to act as a go-between can provide an opportunity for the alcoholic to express the extent of their problems without involving others in the action

Step 8: Establish positive actions that can decrease stress. Use caution and even great patience, before you tell the person how to get better.

Even with the best intentions, you may not be able to convince someone, and the rehab may be another thing they refuse. Go easy on your loved ones.

Step 9: Support them to become the person that they were before their addiction. This step helps them recognize their problem. Unless someone has been in an alcohol rehab programme themselves, most cannot even see the need to do so.

They cannot identify anything they could do that might help them lower their stress.

Step 10: Help them to develop healthy habits to stay physically and emotionally healthy. It’s important for everyone involved to have a comprehensive plan in place to prevent relapse.

Create a safety plan, together with the family. This will provide an opportunity for your loved one to show that everyone is willing to take action together.

This plan should include someone in the family to act as a safety net in case of a relapse.

How to Have an Alcohol Intervention?

An alcohol intervention can be as straightforward as a heart-to-heart conversation between the alcoholic and therapist, or it could be a group initiative involving families to address the growing issue.

An intervention is ideally well-thought-out and can enlist the help of a drug abuse specialist, psychiatrist, or other experts. The number one priority in alcohol intervention is to convince the person to get into rehab or therapy.

Here’s how to stage an alcohol intervention with your loved one.

Step 1: Talk with them

To be safe, you should talk to your loved one about why he or she needs help and that you are willing to assist them.

You can ask for help and suggest other options for your friend, but ultimately your friend should want to have an intervention.

You should be prepared for the potential of a person refusing rehab because they can say that it is not for them. You may find it hard to do so, but it is their choice.

Step 2: Educate yourself about addiction

Know the warning signs. If you are working with a parent who has a relative struggling with alcoholism, know how to watch for the warning signs.

Alcoholics don’t always show those signs that they are drinking excessively, especially after they have been in rehab or treatment.

Step 3: Call an alcohol intervention specialist

Often, your loved one will refuse rehab treatment or talk about the addiction. Discuss it with family and find an alcohol intervention specialist or counsellor to help your loved one.

Step 4: Choose a safe location and ideal date for the intervention

Choose a venue and schedule for an intervention. While most alcoholics feel safe when talking about their addiction at home, others may feel wary and precarious of the environment.

Choose a venue and date where the alcoholic can share his or her concerns safely.

Step 5: Provide the intervention education

The person will be dealing with so many issues when they are coming off a period of treatment, or when they are already experiencing something of a relapse.

Hopefully, their family will be teaching them about how alcoholism takes over a person’s life, causing him or her to neglect those that matter most and sabotaging his or her health.

Step 6: Talk about programmes and lifestyle guides on sobriety

For example, an alcohol counsellor may help determine which type of alcohol rehabilitation treatment plan would be best for sobriety and personal goals.

They may determine if a medication should be prescribed for alcoholism, such as an anti-depressant or anticonvulsive if the addiction requires additional detoxification methods.

Step 7: Determine if your loved one wants treatment or not

Alternatively, the person may want to go through a programme to change behaviour through intervention or consultation with a psychiatrist. He or she will then be able to decide on whether or not to have rehab.

Step 8: Be gentle with your loved one

Help your loved one address the addiction problem so they can move toward a productive life, in your beloved’s full sense of identity.

Again, do not interfere with the process, or intervene in any other way that would jeopardize the safe recovery.

If your loved one has not already moved into treatment, this could be a good time to decide on intervention.

Your intervention should involve you discussing what has occurred with your loved one and the impact of your intervention.

The takeaway

If the person is having difficulty feeling comfortable with others, having a difficult time concentrating or staying on task, complaining of low self-esteem, or admitting that he or she has decided to take their sobriety away from his or her loved ones, it is important to intervene.

The intervention should be done through the intervention counsellor to avoid offending the interventionist or professional.

It is important to educate the individual about how alcoholism negatively affects his or her whole family.

Depending on the duration of the intervention, you may ask the interventionist to teach the individual to educate the rest of his or her family about the dangers of alcoholism.

How To Admit Someone to Rehab Who Refuses to Go?

The process of recommending a patient who refuses to go to rehab should be carefully handled through an intervention team. Every intervention is different in the degree of refusal.

Depending on the situation, intervention specialists assess the situation and educate them on the strategies and plans for sobriety from alcoholism.

They start the process by meeting the patient face to face. The specialists explain how much their life is about to change when they quit alcohol. You can even help your loved one understand the benefits of entering into a sober lifestyle.

You could ask them how to cope with life sober or with alcohol, and what they need to avoid relapse. This is very important because you can assess their knowledge level and look for help that is required to cope with life.

Once you find out what your patient needs and what resources they need, you can start finding specialist rehab facilities.

As soon as you can do this, you can introduce alcohol intervention in a structured intervention team. This process would include one or more of the following interventions:

Step 1: Offer to refer the sober patient to the treatment centre that the team has selected. Once they agree, it becomes a matter of finding an appropriate alcohol treatment programme.

These programmes can provide medication and counselling to treat the disorders that often contribute to the individuals’ inability to achieve long-term sobriety.

Step 2: If they refuse to go to rehab, you can educate them gently on the effects of alcohol. Addiction counselling often focuses on helping people learn how to deal with specific conditions or problems they face in their daily lives.

This includes educating them about how alcoholism affects themselves and other family members.

Step 3: Ask them what resources they would need to stay sober. A wide variety of options are available in both the hospital and clinic setting.

The most common intervention is a stay in a detoxification centre or mental health facility, which works well because of the need for detoxification and mental health intervention.

Rehab settings can vary widely, depending on the conditions of the person. The recovery environment will affect how well intervention will work.

People generally want to know that they are loved, cared for and that they can recover from a problem that has been a problem for many years.

Step 4: Ask them what they are struggling with to overcome their dependence and to maintain sobriety. When a person goes into rehab, they need to get help with their substance abuse.

If they are experiencing an alcohol withdrawal, they need to be treated.

Counsellors or professionals must educate the entire family to prevent a relapse from happening. By educating them, you are hoping to bring them together and prevent a breakdown.

Step 5: If necessary, provide support to them. Let them know that you understand their situation. Ask what steps they would like you to take, whether it's checking up on them or allowing them to seek help for themselves.

If your loved one is at risk of harming themselves or committing suicide, you should take immediate action. This could mean getting in touch with local authorities or medical professionals.

Consult with professionals

If you're not sure what to do, speak with a professional. Abbeycare has a list of places where you can go for advice.

Perhaps the simplest way to intervene is to take them into a detoxification centre. Once they are in detoxification, the staff can provide support. The staff can monitor symptoms and changes in the person’s condition.


About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Pete has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for The Hygrove and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. To read more about Pete visit his LinkedIn profile.