Can I Be Put in Treatment Against My Will?

Can I Be Put in Treatment Against My Will?

Addiction is a disease that centers around control. Drugs and alcohol rob addicts of control, but the disease of addiction convinces addicts that it’s actually the people who try to convince them to pursue sobriety who are trying to control them. Understandably, then, many addicts are concerned about the possibility of being forced into treatment, especially if they have ongoing conflicts with friends and family about drugs and alcohol. The odds of you being placed into rehab against your will are vanishingly slim.


Treatment as a Voluntary Process

When treatment is forced upon addicts, it’s doomed to fail. Resisting the temptation to use drugs or alcohol is no small feat, so a person who has been forced into treatment is unlikely to make it very long. Consequently, rehab centers don’t typically accept addicts who have been ordered to go into treatment. Though you might feel pressured into treatment by legal or financial issues, the decision to check in is yours and yours alone. And if you really want to get the most out of treatment, it’s best to wait until you’re fully ready to give up drugs and alcohol.


Some addicts receive treatment at inpatient psychiatric hospitals, or on the psychiatric ward of a traditional hospital. These facilities can and do accept patients who have been involuntarily committed, but the conditions under which such commitment can occur are very few.


Court-Ordered Treatment

You can only be forced to undergo treatment when a court orders such treatment. This most typically happens when a therapist expresses concern that you pose a danger to yourself or others. Procedures for this process vary from state to state. Generally, the therapist must seek a court order to have you committed. The police can then arrest you and take you to a psychiatric hospital. Once you’re checked in, you have the right to a lawyer, who may be able to appeal your commitment. Even if the court finds that you’re a danger to yourself or others and need to remain in treatment, though, you can’t be held against your will forever.


In some other cases, a court might order you to undergo treatment instead of sending you to jail. Some courts also make drug treatment a condition of probation or parole. In some cases, the judge signs an order immediately confining you to a treatment facility, thus forcing you into treatment even if you don’t want to go. In most scenarios, though, treatment is merely a condition of your continued freedom. Thus you’ll have a specific period of time during which you can pursue treatment. If you fail to get treatment in that time period, the court can force you into treatment. In most such cases, the judge opts to penalize your refusal to comply with treatment instead. This means your parole or probation could be revoked, landing you in jail. You might also be forced to pay additional fines, perform community service, or meet additional demands, such as submitting to routine drug and alcohol tests.



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