How to Help Your Adult Child Refusing Addiction Treatment

Posted on March 13th, 2015

Watching your child, whatever his age, struggle with addiction is terrible, especially when he refuses to get help. When you have reached the end of your rope, there are some last-ditch efforts you can make to get him into treatment. According to government statistics, over 23 million Americans have an addiction and need treatment, yet only about 3 million get that help. If you have an adult child in the same situation, you may think you have no options, but you do. Learn how to help your child and learn when you have done all you can.

Present Treatment Options

How have you approached your child about his addiction? Do you nag and whine and cry? Do you get emotional instead of being practical? If so, a new approach might just do the trick. If all you have been asking your son to do is simply get help, you’re not giving him any options. He doesn’t know how to get help. Even if he knows that he needs to make a change, he doesn’t know how to do it. To provide him with help, give him real options. Have a few treatment programs picked out. Have solutions for paying for treatment ready to go. Be ready to answer each of his objections with a practical answer and with minimal emotion. Make it hard for him to argue.

Try an Intervention

Of course, addicts are not always practical or logical. They are ruled by a chemical substance. If your child still refuses help, you might want to consider hosting an intervention. Done correctly, an intervention can be a powerful tool for pushing an addict past the point of denial. An intervention can be dangerous, though. If your child is volatile or prone to violence, a confrontation like this could trigger an outburst. The best way to have an intervention is to hire an expert to plan and lead it. Professionals know how to approach addicts the right way and have contingency plans in case things go awry. 

Can You Force an Adult Into Rehab?

When all else fails, you may wonder if forcing your adult child into rehab is an option. The answer depends on where you live and what the laws are there. Look into the laws in your state to see if court-ordered treatment is a possibility. Forcing someone to get help isn’t ideal, but it isn’t a fruitless tactic either. Studies show that treatment for addiction does not have to be voluntary to work. There are many more important factors in a treatment program that make it effective. If you can get your child into treatment by any means necessary, that is a good first step.

When to Walk Away

Believe it or not, there is a time to walk away from your child and his addiction. When you have exhausted all of your resources, forcing him into treatment is not an option, and your physical, emotional and mental health is suffering, it’s time to walk away. Tell your child that you are done asking him to get help, but that when he is ready you will be there with the support and the resources to get him into treatment. It may sound harsh, but you have to draw your line in the sand and know when you have done all you can. And who knows? Telling him that you found that line and you’re backing off might even be what convinces him to finally get help.

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