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How to Convince an Adult Child to Go to Addiction Treatment

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 48.7 million people struggled with a substance use disorder in 2022.[1]

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that causes people to have a hard time recognizing the negative effects of their substance abuse. Unfortunately, all they see is that the drugs and alcohol are helping them cope with uncomfortable emotions, underlying mental health conditions, and unresolved trauma.

If your adult child is struggling with addiction, you are probably wondering how you can help them. You have seen your child’s behavior shift from a capable adult to someone obviously suffering from drug addiction, which is heartbreaking to watch. Thankfully, there are ways to convince them to seek the help they need.

Before you begin working with your adult child, you need to educate yourself on addiction. Once you have the knowledge needed, you should begin setting boundaries, having important conversations, and considering hosting an intervention to get them into a treatment program.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How to convince an addicted child to attend treatment
  • How to stop enabling your adult child’s behavior
  • Ways to have sensitive conversations without starting an argument
  • How an intervention will help them accept the professional support they need

Ways to Help an Addicted Adult Child

Watching your adult children struggle with addiction is never easy, especially because you no longer have the legal ability to force them into treatment. Since they have to make their own decisions, all you can do is try and influence them to make the right ones.

When trying to help your addicted child, it’s important to avoid pushing too hard or letting your emotions take over, as this could cause your adult child to become defensive. Instead, approach them with a supportive and compassionate tone and stay true to your boundaries.

Educate Yourself on Addiction

Convincing an addicted adult child to attend treatment is challenging. That said, it will be even more difficult if you are not educated on how addiction works. This means your first step will be learning about the disease of addiction.

You can read books about addiction from reputable sources, look at official government or medical websites that discuss the disease, or attend addiction recovery support groups for family members like Al-Anon.

Doing this will help you learn all about how addiction forms and how it is affecting your child, including:

  • What causes substance use disorders
  • How different drugs affect people’s bodies and minds
  • How addiction can affect a person’s behavior
  • Why many addicts avoid seeking the help they need
  • Information about co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Treatment options, including levels of care and how rehab works

Stop Enabling Them

Once you are educated on addiction, you should begin taking steps to make it harder for your child’s addiction to continue. For example, if you have been enabling your adult child, it is time to set boundaries and stop doing things for them that make their substance abuse easier.

Examples of enabling behaviors include:

  • Giving your adult child money
  • Bailing them out of trouble at work
  • Doing their chores around the house
  • Letting them borrow your car
  • Bailing them out of jail or hiring lawyers

When you stop enabling your addicted loved one, you will allow your child to face the consequences of their drug and alcohol use. This makes them more likely to accept professional treatment.

Have Calm and Supportive Conversations

Since addiction can lead to financial issues, legal trouble, and life-threatening consequences, it’s easy to let your emotions get ahead of you. However, when you focus on having calm and supportive conversations with your addicted adult child, you become a safe space where they feel comfortable opening up to you.

A good rule is to always use “I” statements. For example, saying something like, “You make me feel angry when you continue to abuse substances” will only make your child feel attacked. Instead, you should say, “I feel upset when you use drugs and alcohol because I want you to be safe.”

If you are having a hard time controlling your emotions, you should seek therapy. Working with a therapist can make it easier for you to have productive conversations with your child, making them more likely to listen to you when you tell them they need professional treatment.

Plan an Intervention

Lastly, if your addicted adult child continues to refuse treatment, it might be time to consider an intervention. Interventions are like family meetings where your loved ones will read emotional impact statements to convince your adult child to enter treatment. It is always best to hire a professional interventionist, as interventions can be tricky situations that require expertise to be successful.

Planning an intervention involves:

  • Choosing the right people to be involved in the intervention
  • Choosing the right place to host the intervention
  • Deciding who will speak during the intervention
  • Writing down letters and practicing reading them before the intervention takes place
  • Researching treatment options and having a rehab program ready for your addicted child to enter
  • Agreeing on the consequences if your addicted adult child refuses treatment
  • Hosting the intervention and keeping the conversations from turning into arguments

By hiring a professional interventionist, you will never have to guess if you are doing the right thing. Every aspect of the intervention will be planned and rehearsed, making the process run smoothly. Additionally, an interventionist will ensure that a rehab center is on standby and ready for your loved one as soon as the intervention is completed, ensuring they do not have enough time to change their minds before they begin recovery.

Get Connected to a Top-Rated Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center

If your adult child is suffering from addiction, it’s time to start looking at your treatment options. At the Mandala Healing Center, we offer a combination of evidence-based services and compassionate care. We will create a space where your child feels safe to open up about their struggles with substance abuse.

Clients are taken on a journey of healing through complete immersion into evidence-based clinical modalities, multifaceted alternative therapies, and expert medical management, allowing them to fully detox and recover from drug and alcohol addictions. Through a program of care designed to encourage change, a foundation is created that allows clients to find their higher purpose and reclaim their lives

If your child is ready to begin their journey of recovery, we are here to help you get started. Contact us today for more information on how our drug and alcohol addiction treatment center works.


  1. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): HHS, SAMHSA Release 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Data