The effects of addiction touch the entire family, not just the person struggling with addiction. When a person decides to go to rehab, the whole family is affected.
The good news is that there are ways to assist a family member in rehab. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration advocates for family therapy being part of every person’s recovery.
Including family in recovery can make a huge difference in the person’s overall success. It allows the entire family to examine damaging patterns and behaviors, improve communication skills, and repair relationships.
It helps to understand what your family member or loved one will go through in rehab during their stay or with their visits if they are in an outpatient program.
Writer Beth Leipholtz relayed her rehab experience to The Fix in February 2016. Leipholtz was in an outpatient program. She said there were moments when she felt uncomfortable during the program because she had to deal with emotions she had not dealt with before.
She also said that people in her program felt comfortable openly challenging each other to be better people, and this can take some getting used to. She wanted to give up at various points during treatment, but she didn’t.
Everyone can expect the following basics during rehab:
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says you can expect treatment to be personalized. Each client’s treatment plan will be different, and you can expect your family member’s treatment to change if and when needed.
Relapse is common, and it does not mean your relative has failed. Instead, your family member should be encouraged to seek treatment again or to make adjustments to their treatment plan. Their therapist will be able to tailor the changes to the situation.
According to NIDA, it is best to ask your relative’s provider for the best ways to offer support. Depending on your family member’s needs, you may be advised to do some of the following:
If the client is a teenager, NIDA says that family involvement in therapy is even more important.
Even though you want your family member to recover, it may be difficult for you that your loved one is going through changes. You must come to terms with your feelings about your family member’s choices.
It can be tough to have your family member in rehab, particularly in the beginning. But as you see them progress in recovery, the process gets easier. At the end of rehab, you may find that you have a stronger, better relationship with your family member than you’ve ever had.
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(January 2016) What to Do If Your Adult Friend or Loved One Has a Problem with Drugs. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment/what-to-do-if-your-adult-friend-or-loved-one-has-problem-drugs
Supporting a loved one. Alcohol and Drug Foundation. Retrieved April 2019 from https://adf.org.au/alcohol-drug-use/supporting-a-loved-one/
(January 2018) Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): How can family and friends make a difference in the life of someone needing treatment? National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment/frequently-asked-questions/how-can-families-friends-make-difference-in-life-
(April 2019) Addiction Treatment Should Include Family Therapy. Verywell Mind. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/addiction-treatment-should-include-family-therapy-67293