If you or someone that you know and love is abusing alcohol or drugs and you believe that they have an addiction issue, it can be very difficult to get someone into a rehabilitation programme. Addiction is a disease and must be dealt with professionally to ensure long-term recovery is achieved. When someone is harming themselves and their life is in danger, one form of treatment that is particularly common in America is forced rehabilitation.

Forced rehab is a process that can help get someone into rehabilitation for their own good and protection, even if they don’t want to go themselves. Addiction changes the functions and structures of the brain, so forcing somebody to receive treatment may be necessary.


What is Forced Rehab?

Forced rehab or involuntary rehab as it is sometimes called, helps addicts get into a drug or alcohol rehab programme for their mental and physical health. Here are some of the criteria that usually have to be met when we talk about forced rehab:

  • A person is a threat to themselves or to the public
  • A disability in which the addict is unable to help themselves
  • Mental incapacities, including severe mental illness, means they are unable to make good decisions
  • Total loss of control which may or may not include themselves or others around them

Forced rehabilitation may at first seem inhumane if the person is against wanting help, and this is not usually permitted in the UK. However, watching a loved one sink deeper into depression and self-harm is just as devastating as taking them against their will. Addiction can lead to severe mental health issues, or physical impairments, including a higher risk of accidental overdose, which is why seeking treatment as soon as possible is key.

Although in the UK a person needs to accept treatment in order to go to residential rehab, interventions are a key way in which a person can be persuaded to attend rehab, even if they were initially against the idea.


Effectiveness of Forced Rehab

But just how effective is forced rehab? When a person faces addiction, they are often mentally ill, and often their behaviours and choices reflect this. They may not feel ready to go into rehab, or they may want their freedom. However, forced rehab can also create an atmosphere that makes the addict realise that there is a huge problem.

According to a study conducted in 2015, it found that forced, or coerced, treatment was not more effective in handling substance use disorders than any other treatment. Therefore, forced rehab success rates are not as high for those who voluntarily commit. Those who are forced into rehabilitation may also feel disdain or anger towards those who have bestowed this decision upon them, and they may not be ready to go sober. However, it is often the admittance of a problem that is the hardest obstacle to overcome.

The pros and cons of forced rehabilitation include:


  • Getting immediate help
  • Feeling as if you’re taking control


  • A lack of motivation behind recovery
  • Feeling thoughts of bitterness or anger towards those who intervened
  • Leaving rehab early and returning to a worse state
  • Not dealing with admittance and acceptance of addiction


Is Forced Rehab Available in the UK?

Forced rehabilitation is legal in the USA, and is commonly practiced. However, it is not yet legal in the UK. Whilst forced rehabilitation may be considered a way to save someone’s life and assist them in long-term sobriety, the UK mostly favours drug or alcohol family interventions and gently assists an addict into help without forcing them.

At Asana Lodge, we require all our patients to consent to their treatment. Not only does this create a non-toxic environment, but it also allows a patient to feel completely in control of their body, mind and the treatments that they will undertake. Someone facing addiction or any mental health issue needs to come to the conclusion on their own terms. In the UK, however, you may be sectioned under the Mental Health Act and therefore kept in the hospital without consent. However, this is under extreme circumstances.


Alternatives to Forced Rehab

In order to help someone facing addiction, there are numerous pathways that do not require you to force anyone into rehab. Coercion does not always tackle an issue. Rehabilitation needs dedication, therefore forcing someone could cause them to feel more bitterness and therefore not fully undertake the process.

Ways in which to help someone can differ, but we highly recommend finding the positives in the negatives. Typically speaking, someone facing addiction is likely to have numerous mental health conditions that may exacerbate their problem. In the UK, we offer interventions that can help you create a safe and calm environment to help someone that you love get into rehab. Interventions generally also have better outcomes.

1. Talk gently, calmly and openly

Someone facing addiction needs rational conversations. This includes calmly talking and discussing the issue, as well as being open and understanding. Remind them that you are here to help and that you do not want to force them. Encourage them to seek help and tell them that you are always here to support them – see top tips to help somebody with an addiction here.

2. Remind them of their potential

Everyone has the potential in life to achieve a dream or make a difference. You should gently remind this person that despite the fact they now feel incapable or helpless, they can turn their life around. Remind them of past and future dreams, and remind them that they are not alone in this situation. Goal setting can be very beneficial to help somebody struggling with addiction.

3. Get outside help

Getting access to professional help is a great way to feel more in control. At Asana Lodge, we want to help family and friends and provide support for helping get someone into rehabilitation, as well as assisting in staging interventions. These can create a strong and positive environment. Professional support encourages all parties and provides you with a way towards change without having to consider forcing someone against their will.


Seek Rehab Treatment with Asana Lodge

Addiction treatment options can vary, but usually, psychotherapy and counselling are the best starting point. The rehabilitation that is chosen is the best option for long-term sobriety. With a designated rehab programme, designed to meet the needs of the individual, you can ensure that your loved one will be in the best hands. They will undergo a medical detox and numerous therapies run by a team of multidisciplinary members, with a full team of support and aftercare plans.

Although we don’t offer forced rehab programmes, this is not the best form of treatment as forced rehab does not always work. Please reach out to us today at Asana Lodge if you feel that someone you love could benefit from support, assistance or an intervention. There is no need to suffer in silence. Please call us today on 01908 489 421.

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