How to Get a Loved One Into Rehab

Last Updated on August 11, 2023

If your loved one is suffering from addiction, you’re likely wondering how to get someone into rehab.

It isn’t always easy to get a loved one to rehab when he or she needs it.1 In addition to strong resistance on the part of your loved one, there are practical considerations to contend with, such as:

  • Choosing the best treatment facility to meet your loved one’s needs2
  • Figuring out how to pay for the treatment at the residential treatment center
  • Helping your loved one make plans to handle his or her absence from work
  • Other obligations during the time he or she is away at treatment for addiction3

This process can be exhausting and emotionally draining. Yet the biggest hurdle is convincing your loved one that rehab for drug or alcohol addiction is in his or her best interests. Once you’ve secured the agreement, the rest is more housekeeping and detail than anything else, not that any of the arrangements are unimportant, for, of course, they are.

Here are some suggestions on how to get a loved one into rehab—and maintaining your own sanity in the meantime.

Know the Signs of Substance Abuse and Addiction

One important part of helping your loved one overcome his or her addiction is to gain as much knowledge as you can about the disease of addiction. You’ll benefit greatly from learning about:

  • The reasons why your loved one’s addiction started
  • The symptoms of substance abuse and addiction
  • The warning signs of relapse
  • Examples of triggers
  • How everyone in the family is affected
  • How to offer support without enabling your addicted loved one

Although these are all valuable things to know, one of the best ways you can help your addicted loved one is to recognize the signs of addiction early on.

Some of the most significant early warning signs of drug and alcohol addiction include:

  • Secretive behavior
  • Sudden and frequent mood swings
  • Poor hygiene
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Borrowing money frequently or stealing money and/or valuables
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Avoiding responsibilities
  • Losing interest in normal hobbies and activities
  • Coming home smelling like smoke or alcohol

Depending on the type of addictive substance your loved one is abusing, the signs may vary. For example, someone who is abusing heroin may have needle marks on their arms or wear long sleeves in hot weather. Or, if someone is misusing stimulants, there may not be any outward signs, but they might go long periods of time without any sleep.

Check out the literature available on the 12-Step websites, as well as book title suggestions and links to other useful sources. Other helpful resource links include:

The more you know about addiction, the better prepared you’ll be to deal with denial from your loved one while offering him or her the necessary support and encouragement to accept treatment.

Find Out If Your Loved One Wants to Go to Rehab

If you recognize that your loved one is displaying some of the signs of addiction listed above, you’ll want to find out if he or she is open to going to rehab. If your loved one expresses interest and is willing and ready to go to rehab, you can call the admissions team at Nova Recovery Center at (512) 605-2955 to get started.

Otherwise, you’ll likely need to hire an interventionist. Interventionists are professionally trained to plan and host addiction interventions. They also know how to respectfully speak with addicted individuals about the prospect of going to treatment without any emotional attachment or placing any blame, which can make the process much smoother. Sometimes, hearing that you need help for addiction can be hard when it comes from a close family member or friend. On the other hand, hearing it from a professional or someone who is emotionally unattached may lead to better outcomes.

Be Prepared for Resistance

When you broach the subject of getting treatment at a rehab center, be prepared for resistance. Depending on how long your loved one has been addicted and what other problems caused by his or her addiction have already transpired, the idea that treatment is necessary may not be a new one.

Still, even if the topic has been discussed before, it’s likely that your loved one is still in denial and is not going to welcome the idea of going away for treatment.4 Here are some of the types of responses you might get from your loved one after bringing up the topic of going to rehab:

  • “I don’t need treatment because I don’t have a problem. I can handle drugs and alcohol on my own.”
  • “How could you even think of sending me away like that? I’m not some low-life drug user or skid-row alcoholic.”
  • “I can’t afford to be away from my job for that long. I’ll get fired or demoted. It’s too risky and I’ve worked too hard to get where I am to lose everything.”
  • “It will be too hard on the kids and you to have me gone. I don’t want to put you guys through that.”
  • “If you love me, you won’t send me away.”
  • “I don’t want to tell my thoughts to a bunch of strangers.”
  • “I don’t need or want a therapist.”
  • “I’m not going, period.”
  • “I can’t stand the thought of being stuck with a lot of drunks and drug users. That’s not me.”
  • “Treatment won’t do me any good. Besides, is it so bad at home now? I’ll try to do better.”
  • “I promise I’ll give up drugs and alcohol.”
  • “I’d feel like a prisoner.”
  • “I wouldn’t like the food, the beds won’t be comfortable, there’s too much distraction from everybody moaning and complaining.”
  • “If you make me go, I’ll hate you forever.”

There are, of course, many variations on the comments loved ones make when they’re refusing to consider treatment, even when they know in their heart that they need professional help. Even if they decide to quit cold turkey and promise to get sober on their own, most people need professional treatment to successfully remain sober. This type of treatment usually consists of:5,6

  • Psychotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Evidence-based treatment modalities
  • Education
  • Training in coping and relapse prevention

It isn’t that you’ll hear the arguments, because you absolutely will. What’s important is being prepared for them, not taking anything that your loved one says personally, remaining calm and encouraging, and being consistent.

How to Find Addiction Treatment for a Loved One

Not all people experience addiction in the same way. As a result, it’s important to do your research and find the best type of treatment for your loved one’s situation. Different types of treatment may be better than others depending on your loved one’s needs and circumstances, such as:

  • The severity of the addiction(s)
  • Any co-occurring disorders
  • Treatment and substance abuse history
  • Financial ability/insurance benefits

Selecting the right type of treatment will help ensure that your loved one gets well-rounded care that is effective and most suitable for his or her long-term recovery. Here are the types of addiction treatment Nova Recovery Center provides. An admissions representative can help you determine what type of treatment might be best for your loved one.

  • Medical detox: Medical drug and alcohol detox is designed to help clients break their physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. Clients stay onsite throughout detox and are treated by a team of doctors, nurses, and licensed clinical therapists. Medication is administered as necessary to help reduce the severity of drug withdrawal symptoms and clients participate in one-on-one therapy and group therapy (if they are physically able) to address psychological aspects of drug withdrawal.
  • Residential rehab: Clients live on-site at the rehab center and complete an individualized program that is designed to help them overcome their psychological addiction to drugs or alcohol. The program is comprised of various evidence-based treatment methods, such as one-on-one behavioral therapy sessions, group therapy, family therapy, 12-Step facilitation therapy, process/discussion groups, and recovery-oriented group activities. This type of rehab program provides a very high level of structure and support and clients must adhere to program requirements and rules, including remaining sober at all times.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): An intensive outpatient program allows clients to complete rehab while they live at home or in a sober living home. Clients attend treatment sessions for a set amount of hours each day or week and may continue working or going to school when they are not in treatment. This type of rehab provides a good amount of structure and support while also providing flexibility for clients who have personal, professional or family obligations.
  • Sober living program: Sober living programs provide safe, supportive, and substance-free housing for people in recovery. These gender-specific homes also offer structured recovery support programming, such as regular drug testing, peer recovery support, individualized recovery programs, volunteer placing, educational planning, and employment assistance. Once a person has completed detox and rehab, a sober living program is a great option for continued support as they adjust to living sober on their own.
  • Support groups: After completing detox and a formal treatment program, your loved one may also choose to join a local support group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Connecting with a group of like-minded sober individuals is an excellent way to prioritize sobriety and begin establishing a peer support system in recovery.

Speak With Your Insurance Provider and the Treatment Center’s Admissions Staff

At this point in the process, there will be many logistics to figure out and you’ll also need a clear picture of your loved one’s financial ability to determine what type of program will work best. You may also want to use this opportunity to ask important questions about the treatment center and the programs it offers. Use our guide on the 10 Key Questions to Ask a Potential Drug Rehab Center for assistance.

If you have health insurance and your loved one is covered by your policy, it’s best to contact your health insurance provider to determine what type of coverage you have for addiction treatment services. Your policy may cover a good portion of the treatment cost, but you may also find that you have to cover some of the cost out-of-pocket.

Then, you’ll want to speak with an admissions specialist or addiction treatment professional at the rehab center of your choice. They can help you determine what resources you need to get started with treatment and sort out the logistics of getting your loved one to the facility.

If you do not have insurance, the admissions staff at a treatment facility can help you explore alternative payment options, such as:

  • Financed healthcare loans
  • HSA funds
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits
  • Medical credit cards
  • Private scholarships or grants
  • Personal loans from family or friends

Host an Intervention

Sometimes, an addicted loved one won’t get to the point of accepting and going into residential treatment without outside help. In this case, addiction experts recommend hiring the services of a professional interventionist. This is often the most effective way to confront a person with a substance use disorder and working with a professional interventionist can ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

While you could try to stage an intervention yourself, it’s not recommended.7 You’re not equipped to handle the highly emotional aspects of the intervention. The professional interventionist, on the other hand, is specially trained in everything that happens before, during and after the intervention. The sole purpose of the interventionist is to get your loved one to acknowledge that his or her addiction is a problem and to accept and be willing to go into treatment.

The interventionist will help you choose who should be involved in the intervention, plan out what everyone will say in advance, and choose an appropriate time and location for the intervention to take place.

During the intervention itself, family members and close friends read prewritten statements out loud that let the addict know how his or her alcohol or drug abuse has affected them, while also reiterating that they are here out of love for the individual and a sincere desire to get him or her the help they need. The interventionist will also serve as a mediator and help facilitate respectful and effective communication.

After the intervention, if your loved one agrees to accept treatment and the arrangements have already been made, the interventionist often accompanies him or her directly into a residential treatment facility.

To find a reputable interventionist, search online for a professional interventionist that is registered and board-certified by the Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS). If you’re not sure how to find an interventionist or you want a recommendation, an addiction treatment professional at Nova Recovery Center will be happy to connect you with one.

How to Offer Encouragement and Support in the Face of Denial

Facing opposition from a loved one over the need for treatment needn’t cause you undue stress and emotional pain.8 You will need people to talk with, a safe place to share your concerns, even time away from the demands of your addicted loved one. The key is to have allies you can turn to, people who are familiar with what you’re going through because they’ve been there themselves.

Consider joining a 12-Step group for the family members of those addicted to alcohol or drugs. An offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, is specifically organized for the loved ones, family members, and friends of addicts.9

When you go to Al-Anon meetings, you don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to. Just listening to others telling their stories, relaying what solutions worked for them, and hearing the suggestions of other group participants can be incredibly helpful. These fellowship members will offer nonjudgmental support and encouragement to you as you wrestle with how to get your loved one to residential treatment.

Why Is Addiction So Hard to Beat?

Addiction is a chronic relapsing disease, so relapse is often a part of the recovery process. Chronic substance abuse changes the way the brain functions, making it extremely difficult to stay sober, even for the most motivated individuals.

Even after all this work and effort to get a loved one to go to rehab, he or she may ultimately decide to leave treatment early or may relapse early in the recovery process. Although this can be very discouraging for supportive family members and friends, try to remember that relapse is not a sign treatment has failed. It’s an indication that more treatment is needed to help your loved one succeed. All hope is not lost and many people successfully stay sober after relapsing early on in their recovery.

Need Help to Find Addiction Treatment for a Loved One? Call Nova Recovery Center

By enlisting support for yourself, gaining as much information about addiction as possible so you feel adequately educated about the disease, planning for the residential treatment, and possibly using the services of a professional interventionist, you’ll be doing all you can to ensure your loved one gets the help he or she needs to heal.

However, you should know that addiction treatment is just the beginning of a lifetime of recovery.10 Think of it this way: recovery is an ongoing journey and treatment is the first step. Help your loved one by giving him or her all the love, encouragement, and support you can, both during and after treatment.

If you’re ready to get started and you want to learn more about our drug and alcohol rehab in Austin, we are here to help. Please call our Austin recovery center at (512) 605-2955.


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