Should I Put Pressure on a Loved One to Get Addiction Treatment?

It is incredibly difficult to stand by and watch somebody you love destroy his/her life with alcohol or drugs. It is easy to succumb to hopelessness in this situation – especially if this person has made multiple attempts to quit but failed. One of the most common questions people have in this situation is whether or not they should put pressure on their loved one to get addiction treatment. This is a tricky question to answer because it depends on the situation.

Is Putting Pressure on Somebody to Go to Rehab a Waste of Time?

You have probably heard the claim that a person needs to be ‘ready’ for addiction treatment in order for it to work. This idea makes a lot of sense, but it is not necessarily true in all cases. There are plenty of examples of people who felt pressurised into going to drug rehab, yet they still ended up achieving permanent sobriety. Of course, there are also people who felt pushed into going to rehab who remained resistant and didn’t benefit much from the experience.

An intervention is a perfect example of how pressuring someone to get help can produce a positive outcome. This is where family and friends come together to confront the person caught up in addiction, and there is usually some type of ultimatum given (e.g. if you don’t go to rehab, you can live anymore). An intervention is usually an act of desperation by loved ones, but it can succeed in many cases.

Tips for Encouraging a Loved One to Go to Rehab

  • Don’t attempt to put pressure on this person while he/she is intoxicated
  • People are usually more receptive to the idea of rehab when they are hung-over or remorseful
  • Avoid exaggerating the problem as this can harm your credibility
  • Don’t give ultimatums unless you are prepared to follow through with them
  • Leave recovery literature around the home for this person to see
  • Try not to nag as it may make this person more resistant
  • Discuss the probably calmly – a shouting match will usually not help the situation
  • Have an option ready (e.g. information about a suitable rehab) if your loved one agrees to get help

Learning to Let Go

If the person is completely resistant to the idea of addiction treatment, there may not be much you can do to help – at least not at the moment. In this situation, you best option may be to let go and possibly break contact with them until they become willing to change – this will be especially important if there is any violence or children involved.

Read more: Understanding addiction

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