The Top 5 Mistakes Parents Make When Trying to Get Their Kid to Rehab

Mother is worrying about her daughter.

Figuring out how to help a loved one get treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction can be daunting. For many families, this will be the first time ever that they are dealing with addiction. They will struggle to make the right choices and even struggle to figure out what are the right choices to make.

We have made this guide to help families who are looking to get their loved one into treatment and avoid some of the mistakes that can make it harder.

1) Do Your Research First and Find a Good Drug Rehab Program.

Before you confront your son or daughter about their addiction and ask them to get help, you need to be prepared.

Do your research first and find a good treatment center.

A great treatment center will help guide you through the process of getting your loved one into treatment. Don’t try to do it alone, let professionals with experience help you.

The program you choose matters.

Outpatient programs or programs that rely on medications or occasional counseling sessions are not likely to have a positive outcome.

While meetings, 12 step, and self-help groups provide help for those who may have no other options and are appropriate for some people who have successfully completed treatment, for someone with a heavy drug or alcohol addiction, meetings are rarely enough to see them through to complete sobriety.

Try to find a longer-term program that focuses on results and not merely a length of time. We believe a holistic approach which handles both the physical cravings and the underlying issues which created the problem in the first place is best.

Many treatment centers are only 28 days. 28 days is seldom enough time to overcome a serious addiction. Chances are that there are years, if not decades, of events that lead up to your loved one struggling with substance abuse. The idea that one will be able to turn their life around in a month is unrealistic and not fair to your loved one. For many heavy drug users, they are barely feeling normal after 28 days of being clean.

So if possible go with longer treatment options.

2) Be wary of treatment centers that say “It will be free because of your insurance.”

In some cases, this could well be true. However, there are treatment centers out there that will bring a person in on that promise and, after a week or two, the insurance stops covering. Or the treatment center will tell you they will pay for the cost of the flight and all your loved one has to do is show up and everything is covered. This may then result in the rehab calling you saying that because your insurance is not covering anymore you will have to pay a large amount for them to be there any longer. Or you land up with a bill for the flight, treatment and other expenses that you now have to cover.

Ask the facility what the cost will be if the coverage is stopped mid-program, or if there are any additional hidden fees you may be billed for later.

3) Do not leave it up to the person struggling with substance abuse.

It is understandable if you are frustrated with the whole process and feel like the person with the problem should figure it out. The problem is that for the most part, the person with the problem is not thinking straight and will often make decisions because of ridiculous reasons like the treatment center having a pool or being in a fancy location. That is, if they manage to make a decision and push through their own fear of leaving their old life behind.

If an addicted person were able to make sane and rational decisions, they wouldn’t be in the position they are currently in. Drugs alter a person’s awareness and perceptions and impair decision-making skills. Don’t leave it up to the person to make key decisions or decided when, how and where to get help. You can listen to their input and what they have to say, but do you own research and help them through.

4) Don’t be afraid to lay down the law.

It is far from uncommon that a person who needs treatment will back out or outright refuse. They may come up with excuses to put off or postpone going to treatment. “I’ll go after the holidays,” “I don’t want to miss grandma’s birthday,” “I have commitments I need to take care of first, then I’ll go. I promise.” No matter how plausible the reasons are, you have to recognize them for what they are—excuses.

You have to protect yourself and use the tools at your disposal. Don’t be afraid to give ultimatums about what you will have to do if they won’t go get help. If you are going to do this you need to follow through, at least until the person decides to go to treatment.

5) If all else fails, hire a professional interventionist.

A professional interventionist can make the difference between your loved one changing their life and things going on the way they have been until something bad happens. Interventionists do this professionally and can help you get your point across and get through to your loved one who is often in a haze of drug abuse and regret.

You may have tried to do a family intervention without a professional based off of the TV shows, or what you have read on the internet. Without the help of a professional, these types of interventions often do not get the intended product. As family members, you are too emotionally invested and have a lot of history with the addict. Interventions are very emotional affairs and tempers and words can fly. It’s easy to get in the heat of the moment and say or do things that will make the situation worse. Having a professional there to coach you through what to do and say beforehand, and act as a “referee” during the intervention can make all the difference between success and failure.

If you have any doubt whether your loved one will accept help and get treatment, best is to get a professional interventionist with experience who can help you.

I hope this article helped you on your way to getting help for your loved one. If you like this article please check out some of my other articles and some of the amazing success stories of those who have done our program.




Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.