Can You Force Someone to Go to Rehab in California

Can You Force Someone to Go to Rehab in California?

Getting a Loved One into Treatment in the Golden State

Addiction is a terrible, life-altering disease. It affects not only the person struggling with addiction but also everyone who loves them. If you know someone with an addiction, you understand how helpless it feels to watch them suffer – especially when they won’t get the help they need. But can you force someone to go to rehab in California?

It depends. There are several conditions that impact whether you have the legal ability to send someone to a drug rehab or alcohol rehab against their will. These stipulations can make it hard to get them help before things go too far.

However, if your repeated pleading is ignored, it might be time to take a legal approach to getting them help. At South Shores Detox and Recovery, we know how difficult this decision can be, and are here to support you and your loved one every step of the way.

Keep reading to better understand the process of forced rehab treatment, and learn about setting the stage for voluntary treatment at South Shores as well!

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How Do You Force Someone To Go To Rehab In California?

In most states, including California, you cannot force someone into rehabilitation against their will just because you believe they need it. Even if you’re a family member, partner, or friend, you must observe their right not to be illegally detained, including for an addiction treatment program.

However, there are legal guidelines in place that allow you to attempt to involuntarily commit someone to a treatment center to receive addiction treatment. There’s no guarantee they will be committed, but you can begin the legal process allowing for involuntary treatment.

How Does Involuntary Commitment Work In California?

Petition for Involuntary Commitment Work

When all else fails, California’s involuntary commitment laws offer a chance to force someone to go to rehab. The most common way to force someone to go to rehab in California is by petitioning for them to undergo an evaluation as part of a “5150” or “5585”.

Note that this is different than participation in drug courts in California, as it involves involuntary rehab without the forced incentivization of criminal charges and their consequences.

What Is A “5150” or “5585”?

The 72-hour psychiatric hold used to force people into rehab in California is known as a “5150” for adults or “5585” for minors. When enacted, the individual suffering from addiction and mental illness can be evaluated by a licensed professional for involuntary commitment.

You can petition drug court for a “5150” or “5585” involuntary hold for anyone who suffers from a serious mental illness like alcohol abuse or drug addiction. They can be evaluated and potentially detained if they meet the criteria outlined in Section 5150 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

Section 5150 allows for someone to be detained if they:

  • Pose a danger to themselves, such as attempted suicide by overdose
  • Pose a risk to others, especially while under the influence
  • Suffer from a grave disability due to their condition that prevents them from fulfilling their basic needs

These evaluations can be initiated with a call to a crisis intervention team or other mental health service provider who will provide you with further information and treatment options.

Alternatively, you can also call 911 in the case of immediate danger like inflicted harm or a drug overdose to get police and first responders help with starting the process.

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What Happens During a “5150”?

Once the officer or mental health professional determines that an involuntary hold is required, they’ll take the patient to a treatment facility for holding. During this period, a medical professional will evaluate their drug abuse, the risk they pose, and the degree of their disability. If they can’t be released, they may be forced to undergo court-ordered treatment.

Individuals can be held for up to 72 hours as part of the “5150” if deemed necessary or released early once cleared. In some cases, they may extend the holding period to two weeks as part of a “5250” hold.

Why Do People Suffering from Addiction Refuse To Go To Rehab?

Suffering from Addiction Refuse To Go To Rehab

Despite substance abuse problems being a treatable condition, only 10% of people with a substance abuse disorder receive treatment at any kind of rehab center.

With high-level, comprehensive addiction treatment centers and services in California like those we offer at South Shores Recovery, why don’t more people get help?

They Don’t Want to Feel Like Failures

The stigma surrounding addiction and rehabilitation services plays a role in discouraging people from getting help. Some people associate rehab with shame and guilt, so they’re afraid to get help and admit to you that they have a problem.

Shame can be particularly discouraging regarding addictions within families where parents or partners are highly regarded. They don’t want you to think less of them, so they try to address their illness on their own or live with it.

They Don’t Know They Have a Substance Use Disorder

Another potential reason is a lack of awareness. Substance abuse can prevent someone from seeing how their addiction affects their life. They may not think that they have a problem and that getting treatment is a waste of time, leading to avoidance and long-term use.

There are a lot of reasons that those suffering from addiction can justify not seeking help. Sometimes, your only option for getting them to truly understand the severity of their illness is to involuntarily commit them. But does it work?

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Does Forcing Someone Into Rehab Work?

While forcing someone to go to rehab in California is possible, it may not be a good idea. Involuntarily committing someone you love is a serious decision that can significantly impact your relationship.

Even though you’re trying to help, the person being committed may not feel the same way. It’s incredibly emotional, stressful, and scary to confront an addiction – especially if they don’t believe they have one.

There’s no definitive proof that forced addiction treatment is effective. It’s likely that any kind of treatment, forced or unforced, is better than no treatment. But forced treatment may actually hurt your chances of helping your loved one recover.

The decision to intervene in someone’s personal affairs and get forced help from medical professionals is not one to take likely, but if your loved one’s life is being threatened by their actions, it can be well worth considering.

The Impact of Forcing Rehab Before They’re Ready

Force someone into rehab before they’re ready

If you force someone into rehab before they’re ready, it can build personal resentment or make them hesitate to get help in the future due to the trauma of being involuntarily committed. Unfortunately, just because someone needs help doesn’t mean they have to take it.

Rehabilitation requires more than just being physically present at the facility. The person must be mentally, spiritually, and emotionally ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle. If they feel that they don’t belong there, the treatment may not work and they could relapse.

It’s hard to help someone who doesn’t want help with a substance use disorder. The seriousness of taking legal action to involuntarily commit someone to rehab may open their eyes, but there’s no guarantee. You can help them begin the recovery process, but you can’t force them to beat their addiction by committing them to rehab involuntarily.

Alternatives To Forcing Someone to Go to Rehab In California

Forced addiction treatment should be a last resort after you’ve tried everything else or they’ve become a danger. It has the potential to harm relationships, create a negative feeling towards rehab, and might not even work while placing immense stress on the person suffering.

Instead of forcing involuntary addiction treatment, your goal should be to get them to seek treatment. It’s not easy, but finding a way to change their mentality toward getting help is essential for success in the long run, as overcoming addiction requires. They can only change if they want to – not just because you want them to.

Staging Interventions to Help Encourage Voluntary Commitment

Interventions are a popular way of convincing loved ones to get help. During an intervention, friends, family, and sometimes licensed professionals gather to talk to the person with a substance abuse problem. They share their observations on how the person has changed, give encouraging words of support, and ultimately ask them to commit to rehab.

An intervention is effective for those who don’t realize they have a problem because they learn how their addiction has impacted others. It can help open their eyes to see that they need help and that people care about their well-being.

However, for those with addictions that have significantly impacted their lives and still don’t want help, interventions can cause problems. The lack of self-awareness associated with addiction can make them feel attacked when receiving criticism or ultimatums like removing financial support.

Getting Intervention Support from an Addiction Treatment Expert

Mental Health Support

You can get the help of a mental health expert, like an interventionist, to help you plan your intervention to minimize the chances of a blowup. You can also consult someone who has successfully dealt with a substance use disorder and undergone substance abuse treatment to provide an experienced perspective.

It can also help to take it slow instead of expecting them to agree to inpatient treatment immediately. Jumping into the detox process and seeking addiction treatment can be intimidating, so accompanying them can help. You might go with them to a meeting or coordinate with a health professional for outpatient treatment or counseling that’s accessible without a major commitment.

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Make Rehab an Easier Call for Your Loved One at South Shores

Seeing someone you love suffer from a crippling alcohol addiction or drug addiction is heartbreaking. While you can force someone into rehab in California, it’s more effective for them to commit themselves.

At South Shores Recovery, we create a welcoming environment that’s easy to commit to. Our comprehensive treatment programs are built to identify and address your needs, helping you find the peace you need to recover.

Reach out to our welcoming, compassionate Admissions staff today for a confidential consultation to see how we can help make rehab less intimidating and more accessible to your loved one.