How to Motivate Your Young Adult to go to Rehab

Sep 9, 2016 | Behavioral Addiction, Blog

Addiction treatment for young people involves its own unique set of challenges. Are you having a hard time motivating your young adult to go to rehab?  We offer some advice on what to consider and how to get help.

how to get your young adult into rehab


  • When it comes to addiction, it’s common for young people to be more open with a trained professional than they would be with their family members or friends.
  • What to consider, and how to get help, for getting your young adult into rehab.

It is no secret that the number of people receiving addiction treatment is far below what it should be. This is known as the ‘treatment gap’, and some studies have shown that as few as 10 per cent of those in need of treatment are actually receiving it.

And this is only for the general public. If young people were segmented out of this population, it is likely that an even higher percentage of cases go untreated. Motivating a young person to willingly accept the addiction treatment they need can be difficult, which is why it is so often necessary to compel rather than persuade.

However, it is always preferable for a person to willingly seek treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction. With that in mind, here are a few ideas for motivating your loved one to get into addiction addiction treatment.

Creating Incentives for Young People to get Addiction Treatment

Realistically, most young people who are still being supported by their families are only going to enter into drug rehabilitation if they are compelled to do so. The pressure to enter rehab may come directly from the family, or the mandate to do so may come down from the court system.

There are, of course, exceptions. However, it is uncommon for a teenager to willingly enter into addiction treatment without encouragement from an authority figure. But when it comes to trying to compel a young person to willingly enter a drug addiction treatment programme, there is much to be said for the way you approach the issue.

With that in mind, we will begin by saying that it is always preferable to create incentives to entice the person into willingly entering treatment. The type of incentive will naturally depend upon the person – their age, personality and interests.

For example, parents may offer to continue supporting their child’s higher education if they attend a drug addiction treatment programme and maintain their sobriety. There are many variables at play here, and it is important for parents or guardians to carefully consider how best to motivate the person to participate without coming off too strongly.

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Drug Intervention for Teens and Young Adults

We should also note that a confrontational intervention – similar to the type that is often portrayed on television – is unlikely to be effective.  Remember, it is okay to show emotion, but expressing intense anger and resentment towards the addict can be counterproductive.

Keep in mind that, depending on the young person’s state of mind, a confrontational intervention could even escalate out of control. In this case, it could backfire or – even worse – result in violence.  Never try to stage a surprise intervention without a plan for support, anticipating consequences and follow-up.

Ideally, interventions are most effective when carried out under the supervision of a trained professional.

Seek Youth-Specific Addiction Treatment to Ensure a Successful Recovery

Addiction treatment for young people involves its own set of challenges and complications.  This is why it is crucial to seek treatment from a centre that has experience treating addiction in youth.

Any type of addiction treatment must be tailored to the individual. In the event that a young person is the one struggling with addiction, there are several unique principles that need to be taken into account.

  • Treatment needs to address the young person’s life needs, such as their social wellbeing, housing and schooling.
  • Behavioural therapies such as providing incentives to abstain from drug use or replacing drug use with other constructive and rewarding activities are often most successful.
  • Young people respond especially well to treatment programmes involving intensive physical activity.
  • Strengthening family relationships and community ties can play a major role in a successful recovery.
  • The young person must remain in treatment for an adequate period of time.
  • Drug use must be monitored during treatment, as teens and young adults are unlikely to report relapse when one occurs.

The exceptional needs and challenges that present with teenage addiction make it all the more important that a qualified specialist plays a leading role in the recovery process. It is also common for the young person to be more open with a trained professional than they would be with their family members or friends. This can work to their advantage over the course of their recovery.

how to perform an intervention

Early Intervention is Key

Drug use is particularly dangerous for young people. As their bodies and minds are still developing, the substances that they use at this stage in their lives could have a magnified negative effect on their future health, wellbeing and life prospects.

Due to the sensitive nature of treating addiction in young people, it is particularly important that you consult with an addiction treatment specialist as soon as possible if you suspect that a young person under your care has a substance abuse problem or behavioural addiction. This ensures, first and foremost, that the appropriate steps are taken in properly confronting them and creating incentives to enter an addiction treatment programme.

If your young loved one is struggling with substance abuse, the time take action is now.  Contact us today to find out how we can help.