What to Expect When Someone You Love is in Rehab

What to Expect When Someone You Love is in Rehab

If you love an addict, you’re probably already familiar with the pain of constantly worrying, waiting, and hoping that your loved one will eventually seek treatment. Inpatient rehab can feel like a foreign culture with its own unique language and customs. Because medical privacy is of paramount importance at these facilities, you may struggle to get information, particularly in the early days. Although this can be scary, it’s also temporary. Knowing what to expect can prepare you for the challenges of rehab, while also helping you provide support to the addict in your life.


Can I Talk to Them?

Most rehab facilities allow addicts to call and write loved ones. If the addict in your life is in detox or was placed into a psychiatric hospital against his will, though, you may wait up to a week before you can talk to one another. Rarely, the facility may prohibit contact with some people if they believe it’s not in your loved one’s therapeutic interest.


Can I Visit Them?

Most, but not all, rehab facilities have weekly visitation hours. Your loved one may not be able to receive visitors in the early days of treatment, so talk to the intake coordinator before showing up for a visit.


Can I Help?

You cannot force your loved one to get sober. You can, however, help the process of recovery in several ways:

  • Educate yourself about the disease of addiction.
  • Learn as much as you can about the rehab facility your loved one has chosen.
  • Get your loved one’s permission to talk to his treatment team. They may be able to offer insight into what else you can do to help.
  • Offer words of encouragement when the going gets tough; rehab isn’t easy, but it does work.
  • Avoid putting pressure on your loved one or overwhelming him with stories of stress and chaos at home.
  • Remain positive with your loved one even when she feels hopeless or overwhelmed.


How Long Will They Be There?

Every rehab facility is different, and your loved one’s treatment team is the best source of information on how long the process will take. In general, most people stay in rehab four to eight weeks. The length of your loved one’s stay depends on how quickly he makes progress on his journey toward recovery.


Can They Leave Early?

Unless your loved one was checked into a psychiatric hospital against his will, rehab is typically a voluntary process. This means that the addict you love can check out early if she so desires. Most rehab facilities strongly discourage this practice, and will work with your loved one to try to convince him to stay. If the addict you love does attempt to leave rehab early, know that he may immediately return to the addiction. If you can do anything to convince him to stay – even for just another day or another week – be sure to do it, since checking out early almost always precedes a relapse.

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