Does an Addict Have to Enter Treatment Voluntarily for It to Be Effective?

Individuals who become dependent on alcohol and drugs need to realize they need help. And voluntary treatment is indeed ideal when coming into the drug and alcohol rehab program. But that is not always the case. This leads us then to whether coerced treatment can work as effectively as voluntary treatment. Or does it work at all?
Several discussion papers have debated on this matter. Studies have been conducted to draw a direct comparison of treatment results. Some show that voluntary treatment is much more beneficial to the individual himself but more studies also report the effectiveness of coerced treatment.

Facing the Dilemma

Dealing with addiction can be difficult for the abuser himself but it is also straining for the loved ones that surround the addict. More often than not, loved ones are confronted by a dilemma involving how they can be of best help to the addict they care about. They witness the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs to their loved one’s well being, but they do not exactly know how to help. This is especially true for abusers who resist undergoing treatment.

For an addict to recover, he/she must have that desire and willingness to turn his life around. It can happen with intervention from family and friends. But there are unfortunate cases too, when the abuser is in denial of the truth and runs away from change.
Intervention can result in two possibilities. One is the abuser becomes enlightened and makes a resolution to turn his/her back from either drugs or alcohol. Another possibility though is that the abuser may only draw their self farther away from his loved ones who are trying to help.

The question is if you are a loved one who has good intentions of helping a friend, a brother, a sister, a parent or a child change his ways, would you wait until he realizes that he is self destructive or will you force him to seek treatment against his will? On one hand, people argue that those who have been subjected to coercion are less likely to become motivated to change. On the other hand, others argue that coercion can work with effective and longer treatment.

What is the best approach?

The answer is not as simple as one may want it to be. It is, as a matter of fact, a case to case basis. However, if you are someone dealing with a loved one who has fallen deep into alcohol or drug addiction, you cannot simply take it sitting down. You must do something about it. If they is not in his proper mind to save himself, you should take on the responsibility of seeking it for him through the drug and alcohol rehab program.
Coercion in some cases may be necessary in order to let an addict confront the same issues he/she is trying to avoid with drugs and alcohol. It can be much more difficult, but it is not entirely hopeless. Provided that treatment is administered in the proper manner, coercion can work successfully in helping the abuser realize his deep seated need for change.

What can you do?

The truth is there is no one effective approach to treatment. Different individuals with addiction require different types of approach. And this is recognized by any drug and alcohol rehab program  . And this is why they pay great attention to what each individual patient requires to be able to recover successfully.
Whether voluntary or coerced treatment is more successful, is a matter that also depends on the kind of rehabilitation program the addict is put under. With effective methods for treatment, there is no doubt your loved one can restore his well being physically, mentally, and emotionally; and finally turn his back from alcohol and drugs.

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