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Can I Force My Parent into Treatment?
You don’t live at home and you haven’t for some time. You trade phone calls with your mom and/or dad. There are family dinners, and you always see each other for birthdays and holidays. But, you don’t know everything that is going on in your parents’ lives, and that’s OK because you are busy, too.
Sadly, what your parent could be doing is developing a substance use disorder. Called an invisible epidemic, the rise of substance abuse among adults 60 and over is becoming one of the fastest growing drug problems in the country.
If your mother or father have a substance use disorder, they need treatment, but what do you do if they refuse to go? Should you involuntarily commit him or her? You may have to, but there are other avenues to explore.
Experts can give you the help you need. Call to speak to someone who can answer questions, provide resources, and direct you to appropriate treatment. Call 800-721-8114 to get started.
It’s not all that surprising when you logically examine it. Left to their own devices, many older people begin using drugs and prescription medications in unhealthy amounts. As older adults tend to receive more prescriptions than any other group, they often have the most access. Further, tolerances decrease with age, so keeping up the same amount of substance use as they had when younger can actually cause a problem to manifest.
Plus, the number of people in the age 60 and over group is steadily growing. Between the medical advances that allow people to live longer and the glut of baby boomers entering the age group, the numbers are booming.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) asserts, “In 1990, 13 percent of Americans were over 65; by 2030, that bloc will represent 21 percent of the population.” It is no wonder that the substance abuse problems of your parents’ age group are being noticed.
The reality is that you can have a parent involuntarily committed to treatment, but that shouldn’t be your first option, unless your parent is a legitimate danger to themselves or others. In fact, it is considered a violation of civil liberties to commit someone against their will.
However, should you take this route, the general period of time your parent will be in treatment is 72 hours. That may be enough time to partially detox and they may be more open to voluntary treatment at that point, but that’s really a best case scenario.
There have in the last few years been some state level laws that do allow for adults to be placed in drug and alcohol treatment against their will. In Kentucky and Ohio, there is Casey’s Law and it is for just such a situation. Casey’s law like all state laws of this kind is a lengthy undertaking that involves petitioning the court, showing reasonable cause, and producing the assessments of two medical professionals, one must be a doctor.
It is stressful to stand by and watch your parent surrender all they have worked for to an addiction. However, pressuring them and starting arguments may make it worse.
In place of involuntary commitment or negative behaviors, consider:
- Seeking the help of an addiction specialist, who can help move your parent past denial
- Approaching your parent during periods where you know they will be more receptive, usually during a time when they are experiencing the ill effects of their addiction
- Refusing to protect your parent from the consequences of their behavior
- Leaving recovery literature with them, so they can check it out at their own pace
- Offering to take your parent to a 12 step group for some low pressure help
Studies demonstrate that the “outcomes for those who are legally pressured to enter treatment are as good as or better than outcomes for those who entered treatment without legal pressure.” But, you need to know that applying legal pressure can sever your relationship for a period of time. You may achieve the same results by taking your time approaching the subject.
If you would like help learning about approaches that can succeed, give us a call. We are interested in helping you get your parent into treatment. Call 800-721-8114.