Can You Force Someone into Rehab in California?

Watching someone you love destroy their lives because of their addiction can feel like one of the most helpless feelings in the world. Luckily, you are not helpless. There are many things you can do to help encourage your loved one to go to rehab, however, sometimes those efforts don’t always work out. It can take many tries before an individual finally accepts the help they need. If your loved one is hitting rock bottom, again and again, you might come to a point where you wonder, “can you force someone into rehab in California?” Luckily, the answer is yes, and there are many avenues you can take.

Knowing When to Force Someone into Rehab

If you are looking to force someone into rehab in California, it is important to know how to go about it the right way. Otherwise, your loved one may feel betrayed and hurt, and your actions could backfire. Things to keep in mind are:

  • Have all other options have been exhausted? Have you sat down with your loved one and tried to convince them to go to treatment before? Coming out of the gate with forcing someone into rehab could be off-putting.
  • Are they a danger to you or themselves? If your loved one has become violent, threatening, suicidal, or has otherwise become a danger to themselves and others then it is time to force them into rehab for everyone’s safety.
  • Can they function in society? Your loved one must be so incapacitated by drugs or alcohol that he or she cannot provide for basic needs, including food, shelter, and clothing, and there is no suitable adult willing to provide for such needs. There usually is an adult providing these needs — also known as an enabler — and removing this from the equation is often the extra boost an individual needs to finally go to treatment.


Holding an intervention is one of the most successful ways to force someone into rehab in California, aside from court orders. NuLife Recovery Center can help assist with this and guide you through the process of encouraging your loved onto to go into treatment. Give our admissions counselors a call so they can help walk you through everything you might need.

How to Force Someone into Rehab

What Are Involuntary Commitment Laws?

In order to understand how to force someone into rehab in California, you must understand involuntary commitment laws. According to Heather Gray, NAMSDL Senior Legislative Attorney, 37 states and the District of Columbia currently have statutes in place allowing for the involuntary commitment of individuals suffering from substance use disorder, alcoholism, or both.

Enforcing these involuntary commitment laws isn’t simple, and will take some time to put them into effect. You will have to go to court and prove:

  1. The substance abuse disorder
  2. Show the person has inflicted, or is in danger of inflicting, harm on themselves or others
  3. The person is not able to provide for his or her basic needs

After that, the judge will decide whether or not to enforce the involuntary commitment laws and allow for the individual to be forced into rehab.

Will Recovery Be Successful?

One criticism about forcing loved ones into rehab is that it won’t be as effective as the individual voluntarily committing themselves to get sober on their own. There is little data on this, however, The NIDA found that individuals who are forced into treatment stay in rehab longer and do just as well, if not better, than those who were not forced to attend a program. In addition, the effectiveness of addiction treatment depends on many factors other than just how the individual got there.

For many individuals, being forced into rehab might be the very thing that gets them sober. Many people are weak against the hold their addiction has over them and would have never sought sobriety on their own. Usually, people who suffer from addiction do want to get sober deep down — no matter how much they may deny it — and being forced into rehab is what finally turns on the light switch for them.

While court-ordered situations are a start for getting your loved one into rehab, the length of stay that the court provides isn’t long. After a certain period of time, they will be able to leave on their own free will if they are under 18. Supporting your loved one is crucial so that they remain motivated to stay and finish their treatment program.

About NuLife Recovery Center

If you are ready to help get your loved one into treatment, give us a call. Our admissions counselors can help guide you through the process and give you as much information as possible. They are also experts in speaking to health insurance companies to ensure the best cost possible for treatment.

NuLife Recovery Treatment Center is nestled on 14 beautiful acres surrounded by the Santa Monica Mountains. Our resort-like setting allows for your total comfort so that you can concentrate on reestablishing your health — and your life — free of drugs or alcohol. We have developed the most effective treatment program in the industry, one that Engages, Inspires and Empowers you, backed by evidence-based treatment and holistic therapies that treat the mind, body, and spirit, in a complete 360-degree manner.

Research has validated the effectiveness of evidence-based therapy models; CBT, DBT, MI, and EMDR to name a few. But if they are not part of an organized treatment system purposely designed to facilitate long-term recovery, they can have little effect, if any, on helping you overcome your addiction and addressing any co-occurring disorders that you may also have.

That’s why NuLife’s Clinical Team developed the effective 360-degree treatment method. This individualized method wraps you in care and compassion while Engaging, Inspiring and Empowering during each measurable step of your treatment. The 360-degree method treats the whole person, mind, body, and spirit, utilizing Evidence-Based Mental Health Therapies, Experiential Therapies, and Holistic therapies. When combined into the 360-degree method are a powerful tool that will help you achieve lasting recovery.

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