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Involuntary Treatment Explained

Involuntary treatment, also referred to as involuntary commitment, is a controversial topic. However, some may never choose to seek care for themselves, and involuntary commitment may be necessary in these extreme cases.

What is Involuntary Treatment?

Involuntary treatment is a legal process in which a person is required to attend substance use disorder program. This could be an emergency hospitalization, court-ordered therapy, or admission to a rehabilitation facility. 35 states permit involuntary commitment, but a person must meet specific criteria to qualify for court-ordered recovery programs. 

Generally, a person must exhibit signs that the substance use disorder creates a risk of significant harm or inhibits their ability to function independently. This needs to be imminent, meaning that without intervention, either this person’s life or the life of someone else is in danger. This legal process aims to support those who have a severe chemical dependency.

Involuntary Commitment Process

Each state varies slightly in its judiciary process for involuntary treatment. As a whole, a person seeking to commit a loved one must follow these steps:

  1. Gather Documentation: Most states require a medical evaluation of the person who needs professional care. This evaluation needs to state that they have a substance use disorder that necessitates intensive care.
  2. File a Petition: Because this is a legal process, involuntary treatment must go through the state court system. States have specific requirements for their petitions, so it’s important to research these before starting the process. 
  3. Approval and Commitment: Upon approval of the request, the person is transported to a clinical rehabilitation facility. Laws require that this person is able to maintain their rights and attends an evidence-based rehabilitation program.

Using Intervention Services to Get a Loved One to Rehab

If you’re concerned about a loved one who has a substance use disorder, there are alternatives to the involuntary treatment process. Most professionals consider a court-ordered rehabilitation program a last resort, meaning that ideally, a person would choose recovery for themselves. However, this is challenging when your loved one doesn’t see that their addiction is a problem. 

Interventions create an opportunity for a person with a substance use disorder to recognize how this is affecting their life and agree to make a change. An intervention allows loved ones to express concern, provide examples of behavior, and express their support for the person struggling with addiction. Through this process, many come to an understanding of the dangers of their decisions and choose to attend a rehabilitation program.

Interventions with Whitman Recovery Service

With over 30 years of experience, our intervention experts have helped many people choose professional care. Our numbers speak for themselves, and we have a 98% success rate with the interventions we lead. We offer services nationwide, meaning we can meet you and your loved one wherever you are. Our methods are backed by research and allow loved ones to have an active role in the process. Through our intervention process, we provide space for understanding on both sides while identifying specific concerns and confronting behavior. If your loved one would benefit from a formal intervention for their substance use disorder, contact our team of experts today.