Can You Force an Alcoholic to Get Treatment?

Alcohol treatment for an alcoholic.

It can be very painful to watch a loved one tear their lives apart. If you have someone in your life who has succumbed to alcohol addiction, you know the agony that comes with watching them pour their lives down the drain. Not only does addiction hurt the afflicted individual, it also can torment their family and loved ones. If an alcoholic is causing harm to themselves and those around them but refuse to get alcohol treatment, what can you do? Can you force someone to go into rehab or get addiction treatment?

Can You Force Someone Into Alcohol Rehab?

Ultimately, your success in trying to involuntarily force someone into alcohol treatment depends on the state you live in. In 37 states there are laws allowing relatives of an alcoholic to place them in rehab or detox involuntarily. This process is called involuntary commitment and is legal in California.

What is Involuntary Commitment?

Involuntary commitment is a statute that states you can petition the courts to legally force a relative into rehab or detox for alcohol treatment. The court will review the case, and if the individual meets predetermined qualifications they will be placed into alcohol treatment. Involuntary commitment is only valid for those over the age of 18.

What are the Requirements for Involuntary Commitment?

In order to get state approval for your request for an involuntary commitment of a loved one to an alcohol treatment facility, there are a few things that must be done. Make sure to research your state’s laws, as each state can have slight differences when it comes to involuntary commitment. For example, Vermont only allows involuntary commitment for drug addiction, while Montana only allows alcoholics to be committed.

In general, most states require that you prove that your alcoholic relative has an addiction problem and that they have threatened to harm others and/or themselves. Proof can include police records, hospital records, firsthand accounts, or some kind of evidence that they can no longer support themselves or their family.

Can an Addict Legally Fight Involuntary Commitment?

If your relative or loved one is involuntary committed to alcohol treatment, they have a means to try to fight the commitment to a rehab facility. They are able by law to hire an attorney, who will argue that they were unlawfully detained. The outcome of these cases can dramatically vary depending on the individual circumstances, so it is difficult to speculate on what factors would lead to a court ultimately deciding an individual was a victim of unlawful detention.

Does Involuntary Commitment to Alcohol Detox Work?

It obviously depends on the individual, so the results vary. However, one of the biggest factors in the long-term success of sobriety is whether the addict acknowledges they have a problem and “buy in” to their treatment. Without the necessary mental energy, detox and rehab may be inefficient and unsuccessful.

Free Alcohol Addiction Treatment in San Diego

If someone you love is battling alcohol addiction, a better strategy than an involuntary commitment to an alcohol treatment facility is trying to convince them to take part in an addiction clinical treatment trial. You can explain the many perks of joining a trial, including possible cash compensation. The Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research in San Diego is offering free alcohol addiction treatment with our alcohol treatment trial. To learn more, give us a call at (858) 784-7867.