Drug and substance addiction is a common problem that affects a large percentage of people worldwide. The option to go for rehab is often a difficult one to make especially for addicts. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that about 31 million people have drug use disorders.

In 2013, The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) released a report stating that 22. 7 million Americans aged 12 and above needed treatment for drug and alcohol addiction problems, and only 2.5 million sought treatment in rehabilitation facilities.

Addicts are often opposed to the idea of treatment and getting them into rehab requires the concerted efforts of family, friends and treatment specialists.

Watching your loved one struggle with addiction or substance abuse can be emotionally draining and difficult to deal with. But what is even more challenging is getting them to go for professional rehab when they are openly reluctant and unwilling to do so. So the question is; what happens when you’ve tried all the tricks in the book and they still remain adamant?

Do you threaten, force or just give up on them? If you choose to threaten or force them, you may end up causing more harm than good as it is nearly impossible to coerce a change in a person. Forcing or threatening a person with addiction problems into rehab will only produce short term effects because their heart is not fully invested in it. And of course, we already know that giving up is never a good option.

So how do you effectively persuade your loved one or make them understand that rehab will benefit them without resorting to force or threats? The answer lies in what experts refer to as INTERVENTION METHODS. These are methods you can employ to convince someone dear to your heart that they need to go in for treatment. Some tested and trusted intervention techniques include:

  • Motivational interviewing (MI)
  • Community reinforcement and family training (CRAFT)
  • A relational sequence for engagement (ARISE)

These intervention methods are designed to convince a person to go for the rehabilitation of their own accord without making it obligatory on them. They may be used according to the nature of the case at hand. For instance, the CRAFT method has been found to be an effective method of persuasion for teenagers battling drug abuse.

However, before adopting any of these persuasion techniques, it is pertinent to take into consideration the age of the affected person. The way you approach a young adolescent or teenager suffering from addiction should be quiet different from how you approach an adult.

While an adult may comprehend fully the nature of their addiction and how treatment can help them, a teenager might not have that mental understanding and may put up a stronger resistance. Let’s take a look at how we can use these methods to persuade a teenager and an adult that they need rehab.




Teenagers battling addiction often do not understand the negative impact the addiction is having on their health and relationships. Convincing your teenage child to go for rehab can be a daunting task. They may flat out deny having anything to do with drugs or question why they shouldn’t be allowed to do what everyone else is doing(namely their friends and peers at school).

In your desperation, you may be tempted to drag them by their hair if you have to and drop them off at a specialized facility. But this will only serve to bring out the rebel in them. They may accept the treatment only because they were forced to, and go back to getting addicted as soon as treatment is over.

The sad reality is, most teenagers will choose to take whatever their parents say with a pinch of salt. This means that you can be compassionate or tough in your approach and still arrive at the same result. In this case, the right and result-driven thing to do will be to stage an intervention by utilizing outside resources(the help of a counselor or therapist). This is where the intervention method called CRAFT comes in handy.

The Community Reinforcement and Family Training(CRAFT) is an intervention plan designed by Robert Meyers and Jane Ellen Smith to teach concerned family members effective strategies that help their loved one take the decision to quit an addiction.

It also helps the family members to handle the negative effects their loved one’s actions are having on them. All of these are done through multiple therapy sessions that entail 12 to 14 one – hour sessions twice a week for a month, and then once a week for six weeks.

It is mostly used when a loved one is being resistant to the idea of treatment. Aside from motivating the addicted member of the family to seek treatment, it also helps lower their drug and substance use before treatment commences.

CRAFT basically teaches family members beneficial skills that cut across all areas of their lives. These skills include self-care, problem-solving strategies, right communication approach, positive reinforcement strategies (giving rewards for non-using-behavior), precautions against domestic violence, identifying a loved one triggers for substance and drug use, and finally getting them to accept help willingly.

These skills have a life-long impact even after the loved one has been successfully treated.

A study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that 71% of adolescent substance abusers who were initially resistant to treatment gave in without coercion after attending 12 CRAFT sessions with their parents. CRAFT has proved to be a more effective intervention plan for treatment-resistant individuals and adolescents than any other intervention method.




Adults, either middle-aged or older may not put up as much resistance as teenagers when it comes to going for rehab, but in most cases, they also need persuasion to seek help. An adult may understand the negative impact of addiction unlike the teenager, but is often indecisive and uncertain where treatment is concerned.

In this case, they will need all the motivation they can get to bring them out of their shell. One intervention method that works to give the required motivation for treatment is motivational interviewing (MI). MI is a non-confrontational method that helps individuals seek treatment of their own accord without any form of coercion. This method requires the help of a professional therapist or specialist trained in motivational interviewing.

In this process, the therapist intentionally refrains from steering the conversation towards change and recovery but instead asks open-ended questions that push the individual to see the positivity of a changed behavior by themselves.

During therapy sessions, the therapist looks out for any change-related statements made by the drug or alcohol addicted individual to refer back to when topics of addiction curbing and treatment arise. This method aims to gradually make the individual recognize the negative effects of addiction in their lives and eventually build their resolve to seek treatment.

Studies have shown that motivational interviewing is an effective method of intervention for a number of lifestyle changes including drug and substance addiction.

Another method that can be used to persuade adults to go for rehab is the ARISE intervention plan. It is both a direct and an indirect method of getting a loved one to get help for addiction. It is similar to the CRAFT method which involves the addict and the family members coming together to seek a solution to the addiction problem.

In a study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, the ARISE intervention plan has an 83% success rate in getting people to go for drug and alcohol abuse treatment. The intervention plan is carried out with the full consent of the addict without any secrets.

In this process,  an interventionist is invited by the family to build a support network. Subsequently, meetings are held between the family members, the addict, and the interventionist at least one to five times.

These meetings usually proceed with or without the presence of the addicted family member, but if present, the support network is always there to provide a shoulder to lean on.

As the meetings progress, the consequences of not treating addiction is laid bare to the addict until he or she is finally convinced to take the bold step towards seeking treatment. Aside from the ARISE and MI methods of intervention, the CRAFT method is also applicable to adults.

In all, getting a loved one to make the decision to go for rehab requires a great amount of patience, empathy, compassion, and commitment on the part of the concerned family members or friends. However difficult it may seem, adopting the right intervention plan for your loved one can make the journey to recovery smooth sailing and successful.

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