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How to Refer Someone to Rehab: A Comprehensive Guide

You may feel helpless, disappointed, or afraid if a loved one is addicted. How can you help them get the treatment they deserve?

How to approach people without judging, attacking, or rejecting them may also concern us. Let’s discuss why addiction must be addressed immediately and how treatment may help addicts and their loved ones.

How to Refer Someone to Rehab

Five steps to follow for referring someone to rehab

7 million drug users sought treatment between 2015 and 2019. If you want to refer someone to rehab, there are several ways to do it.

Step 1: Assess the person’s need for rehab

First, establish if the person needs drug or alcohol treatment. Get an addict to go to rehab, determining the essential signs.

Rehab signs include:

  • The person uses drugs or alcohol consistently, even if it harms their health, work, relationships, or finances.
  • They tried to quit or cut back but failed or relapsed.
  • Drug and alcohol withdrawal causes anxiety, sleeplessness, nausea, and tremors.
  • They require more drugs or alcohol to have the same impact.
  • Substance usage causes neglect of duties, hobbies, and interests.
  • To get drugs or alcohol, they lie, steal, or take risks.
  • Substance use causes legal, societal, or family issues.

Step 2: Find a Rehab Center that is a Good Fit for the Person

My next-door neighbor is a rehab successor, he shared his experience through his journey in rehab. He explained that choosing a recovery clinic involves numerous criteria, including:

Cost and insurance coverage

Rehab is expensive, so find out if the person’s insurance will cover it. Search for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid.

Location and amenities

Depending on the person’s recovery, you may choose a rehab facility near or distant from home. Consider the rehab center’s features, such as private rooms, recreational activities, fitness equipment, and nutritional options.

Employees and credentials

The treatment center should have skilled and experienced employees who can provide excellent care and assistance. Check their credentials, reviews, ratings, and expert testimonials.

Step 3: Talk to the person about your concerns

After finding a rehab program, discuss your concerns and why they need therapy. This conversation is crucial but delicate. 

Tips for this conversation:

Choose a suitable time and place

You want to talk to someone sober, calm, and receptive. You should also find a quiet, comfortable environment without distractions.

Be honest and compassionate

You want to convey your concerns and anxieties respectfully. You shouldn’t condemn, blame, or criticize the person’s substance use. Instead, demonstrate your concern for their well-being.

Use “I” statements instead of “you” phrases while talking to someone

Instead of “You have a drug problem,” say, “I’m concerned about your drug use”. This avoids making allegations or assumptions that may make the person defensive or upset.

Give examples

“You missed your daughter’s birthday party because you were high” is better than “Ruining your life”. This makes the person realize their actions’ implications.

Help and support

Not ultimatums or threats. You want to show them you care and want to help. Tell them about the rehab center you found and why it’s a good fit.

Step 4: Help the person get started

Help them start therapy if they agree. Such as:

Helping with rehab arrangements

Packing, booking, and transportation. Help them with jobs, expenses, and childcare. Reassuring, encouraging, and answering questions might assist the person in emotionally preparing for recovery to get an addict to go to rehab help them overcome any rehab-related worries.

Staying in touch

Refer someone to rehab and help the person stay in touch with you and other supportive persons during rehab. Call, text, email, or visit regularly. Sending cards, letters, or presents shows you care and are proud of them.

Step 5: Be supportive and offer encouragement

Last, support and encourage the person during and after rehab. Such as:


Celebrate their accomplishments, such as finishing a program, remaining sober, or accomplishing a goal. Even minor or slow progress can be acknowledged.

Positive feedback

Tell the person how well they are doing, how much they have changed, or how proud you are of them. Thank them for their bravery and dedication.

Being empathetic and patient

The person may still confront challenges and difficulties throughout and after recovery. If their choices are healthy and beneficial, you can support them.

Helping them manage triggers and cravings

You can assist them in managing triggers and cravings that may lead them to use again. You can assist them in identifying and avoiding substance use triggers like people, places, and situations. Help them manage their desires with distraction, relaxation, or hobbies.

Factors to consider when choosing a rehab facility

In 2020, over 600,000 people sought drug treatment, but only 20% were women. Some of the most significant aspects while choosing a rehab facility for your loved one. These are:

Treatment Methods and Philosophies

Rehab centers may treat addiction differently. Some prioritize medication-assisted treatment, while others emphasize holistic or spiritual approaches. Some offer art, music, or individual or group therapy. Find a recovery center that meets your loved one’s needs and has a successful track record.

Staff qualifications and credentials

A rehab facility’s staff might affect treatment outcomes. Find a recovery center with licensed and experienced addiction specialists. Check for Joint Commission or NAATP certifications.

Location and environment

A treatment facility’s location and environment can affect your loved one’s comfort and rehabilitation. Refer someone to rehab depending on their situation and support network.

Your loved one may benefit from a nearby or distant institution. Consider whether your loved one prefers a rural or urban area, a large or small facility, gender-specific or co-ed, etc. Your loved one needs a safe, clean, and comfortable rehab center.

Cost and Insurance

Rehab costs vary depending on the kind, duration, and quality. Find an economical, high-quality rehab center. Check your loved one’s insurance coverage and requirements. Ask the rehab facility about scholarships, grants, loans, etc.

Family and friends can help your loved one recover. For example, I have seen so far that family counseling, education, visitation, and other activities is being encouraged at a rehab center and thus people can be motivated emotionally. After treatment, a rehab institution should offer follow-up sessions, alumni programs, referrals, and other aftercare services for your loved one.

Why is it important to refer someone to rehab?

Addiction is a chronic condition that impacts the addict, their family, friends, and society. Addiction can damage a person’s physical, mental, emotional, and social functioning and enjoyment of life. Addiction can cause overdose, organ damage, infections, and mental illness. Addiction increases the chance of accidents, violence, criminality, and legal issues.

22.3 million Americans—9% of adults—recover from substance-use disorders. Rehab helps addicts conquer their addictions and recover.

Rehab can provide a safe and supportive environment where people can detox from their addiction, learn about its causes and effects, develop coping skills and strategies to prevent relapse, and receive counseling and therapy to address any underlying issues that may have contributed to their addiction.

Aftercare and support groups can help patients heal and reintegrate following rehab.

Referring someone to therapy shows you care and want them to improve. You also assist them in taking the most challenging first step toward recovery. You are restoring their health, happiness, and dignity. You save their life.

Tips for Referring Someone to Rehab

Rehab helps addicts start afresh. Here are some humane and successful rehab referral tips.

Be patient

Addiction is a brain-body disorder. It’s not morally wrong. The person may not want to accept help. They may feel ashamed, terrified, or hopeless. Don’t condemn the addict. Instead, sympathize and show you care.

Respect their choice

Rehab is a personal choice. They won’t do what you want. Even if you disagree, respect their autonomy. Don’t coerce them into rehab. Instead, convey your concern and hope they seek help.

Support without enabling

Addiction support requires emotional and practical presence without enabling. Enabling involves lying, funding, or covering up drug or alcohol use. Support includes resources, therapy, and accountability. Say you’ll support recovery but not addiction.

Answer rehab questions

The person may worry about rehab’s expense, length, quality, and impact on their life. Be honest about rehab, but emphasize the benefits and positive outcomes. Share rehab success stories. Offer to find out or refer them if you don’t know the answer.

People Also Asked

Can I put my husband in rehab?

Yes, you can. This depends on your state or country’s laws, the seriousness of your husband’s addiction, and his willingness to get help.

If your husband is dangerous, you may be able to push him to rehab. This option is rarely used and may not help your husband heal. By expressing your worry, offering your support, and demonstrating the benefits of sobriety, you can usually encourage your husband to go to rehab voluntarily.

How to help a friend who is an alcoholic?

By understanding alcoholism’s impact, Avoiding enabling or excusing their drinking, Limiting their drinking, Encouraging professional help and support group membership, and Helping people quit or rehabilitate, you can help your alcoholic friend.

How to help a family member with drug addiction?

By learning about drug addiction and its causes, symptoms, and treatments, finding a support group or a therapist for yourself and other family members, communicating with your family member in a respectful and non-judgmental way, expressing your love and concern for their well-being, motivating them to seek treatment and offering to help them find a suitable program, supporting them during their recovery and celebrating their achievements you can help your family members with drug addiction.

How to help a friend get off drugs?

By Being honest and open with them about how their drug use affects you and others, Listening to them without judging or criticizing them, Showing empathy and understanding for their situation, and Encouraging them to talk about their feelings and problems, you can help a friend get off drugs.

Remember that many people and organizations can help you and your loved one. Show compassion, understanding, and respect, and encourage your loved one to get professional help. Doing so can improve their lives and help them overcome addiction.

Tony McKenzie

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