When a family member is in rehab for drugs or alcohol, they inevitably face many concerns, questions, and possibly some misunderstandings about how professional treatment works.
Things to Consider When Your Loved One Is Treated For Addiction
Some of these questions may be answered below.
You are in good hands
Relax and take a deep breath. Your family member is not being held against their will and you are not imprisoned. Apparently they had a drug problem and decided to get professional help. If so, they are exactly where they need to be to get the help they need.
They are in the hands of professionals, including medical and nursing staff, who have received specific training and education to help people with alcohol or drug problems. You will also be surrounded by peers who are or have been in the same situation as your family member, providing them with an extra system of support as they begin recovery.
You will receive group therapy, individual advice, medical care and a balanced diet. In other words, your loved one is in the hands of exactly who they need to get the help they need to solve their drug problems.
do not take it personally
Your family member is in a healthcare facility. Due to confidentiality concerns and federal data protection laws, facility staff are prohibited from giving you information about their situation. Your loved one has to tell you by himself.
No, you can’t speak to them right now, but don’t take it personally. In the early days of your rehab program, contact with the outside world will be severely limited. They also usually don’t have access to the media or the internet.
This is necessary so that they can focus on getting sober and staying sober with as few distractions or outside influences as possible. In the early hours and days of treatment, your entire focus must be on doing what you need to do to maintain abstinence.
Your involvement can be helpful
A point will come in your loved one’s rehab when you are asked to be involved. Most professional alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs involve the patient’s family in the recovery process, as research has shown that this reduces the risk of relapse...
Typically, during the first month of rehab, you will be invited to a “family education program” or family day at the treatment facility. During this time, you can express your concerns, questions, experiences, and feelings about your family member.
The advantages of family involvement
Participation in the family workshop is beneficial in several ways:
- It enables rehab counselors to receive input from the family, observe family interaction, and learn more about family dynamics.
- It can encourage your loved one to continue with their treatment program knowing that the family is supportive.
- It is an opportunity for your family member to learn how their addiction affects the entire family.
What to expect in family workshops
The main purpose of inclusion in the workshop is to educate you about the dynamics of alcoholism and addiction, and how family members can be affected by other people’s substance abuse. The aim is to reduce the stress on the family, improve helpful behaviors, and decrease unhelpful behaviors...
According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, the following topics are often covered in the family workshop:..
- An overview of substance abuse and addiction, including prevalence, symptoms, causes, and basic concepts.
- Effects of substance use disorders on the individual, the family system and individual family members, including children.
- Overview of recovery problems for the affected person (physical, psychological or emotional, social, familial, spiritual and other) and how the results are measured.
- How the family can help, including facilitating behaviors that the family can avoid and behaviors that aid your family member’s recovery.
- How a family member can heal from the adverse effects of a close relationship with a person with a substance use disorder.
- Self-help programs for family members and how they can help.
- Common warning signs of relapse, the importance of planning for relapse prevention, how to involve family and how to deal with an actual relapse.
Family workshop is not therapy
Although there are many benefits to attending a family education workshop while your family member is in rehab,.These sessions are not therapy. Often times, these workshops will evoke strong feelings in family members and they can become emotional. From the treatment center’s perspective, however, these sessions focus on support and education, not therapy.
The aim of the rehab program is to help the family member. If you feel that you or other family members are mentally or emotionally affected by alcoholism or addictions by your loved ones, you need to seek additional help yourself.
Consider seeking help for yourself
You can seek professional marriage counseling, family counseling, or individual therapy for yourself. For further support, you can join mutual support groups like Al-Anon or Naranon, and your children can join Alateen. Many family members of people with substance use disorders have found that joining an Al-Anon family group can be a positive, life-changing experience.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use or addiction problems, contact the National Drug Abuse and Mental Health Authority (SAMHSA) helpline at 1-800-662-4357 Information about support and treatment facilities in your area.
Additional mental health resources can be found in our National Helpline Database.
You can also start learning about alcoholism and addiction and how it can affect each family member. The more you know about the dynamics of an addictive family, the more you can offer understanding and encouragement to your family member.