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The simple answer to whether you can visit someone in addiction rehab is ‘yes you can’ and if you feel able to, ‘yes you should’.
Not only is it possible to visit someone who is in rehab, your continued contact and support can be extremely beneficial to their recovery.
Effective clinics will want to involve willing family and friends in a person’s recovery to help them understand how they can support and promote it.
In addition, it can be extremely beneficial for family and friends to understand and explore the feelings and potential personal problems they are experiencing in relation to the addiction of someone they care about. This can include upset, worry, fear, anger, frustration, feelings of guilt and relationship problems.
Department of Health ‘Drug misuse and dependence UK guidelines on clinical management’ said: “Involving family and social network members in the treatment process can be beneficial to both the individual and their concerned significant others.”
It identifies positive networks as a potential strength to increase the likelihood of sustained recovery.
Delamere’s family support services ensure this is the case wherever possible and appropriate.
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Clinics should provide guidance on the specifics of how involved family and friends can be in the rehab process.
There may be times when it’s agreed that it’s best for you to step back to allow some space and time for the process to take effect – and others where your involvement and contact will be encouraged.
Delamere seeks to involve, educate and support family throughout the process of admission and treatment as well as in the successes and progress made by their loved one via a graduation ceremony – an important opportunity to mark all that has been achieved.
As with other family members, involving children in and informing them about addiction and recovery is helpful for them and the person who is undergoing treatment.
Having someone in their lives who has experienced addiction, especially a parent or someone they live with, can lead to complex emotions for children, who may well need support themselves to cope.
Deciding whether a child should be allowed to visit someone in rehab is a decision for caregivers and the family, but should the child wish to attend it may well be very positive for everyone involved.
The Forward Trust charity explained: “Although it might be considered important to protect children and young people from experiencing some of these negative feelings, it is often healthier if they are given appropriate and accessible information about addiction, as well as given an outlet to express how they feel.”
Children may be reassured by knowing that the person they care about – whether it be a parent, sibling or someone else – is getting help and it can help allay fears to see where their loved one is.
Parents can worry that seeking addiction treatment may mean their children will be taken away, but seeking treatment is likely to be seen as a good thing by authorities.
Forward Trust, which works in the arena of addiction and crime, says: “Drug misuse is not sufficient reason for a child to be removed from a family. In fact, if you ask for help and are seen to be acting in your children’s best interests, the authorities are likely to support you.”
Speak to your clinic in advance to ensure any advance planning is done to ensure the experience is as positive as possible and perhaps discuss where on site it is best to take place.
Animals can have hugely therapeutic effects for people, and can become very close companions especially in times of difficulty or trauma such as during addiction. Equine therapy, used to great effect in addiction recovery, recognises that fact.
The thought of being away from a dog or pet for a period during residential rehab can be a legitimate concern for people.
While taking a pet in to stay with you in rehab is unlikely to be possible, it may well be possible to organise for it to visit. Speak to your rehab clinic to see if this is plausible in their setting.
Drug use, alcohol dependency and addiction can have hugely negative and detrimental impacts on family members and friends.
Gaining information on and accessing support when you care about someone who is experiencing addiction or in treatment can be vital to keep you well. It’s important for you and for the person facing addiction that you have all the help and support you need too.
Addiction is commonly referred to as a ‘family disease’ because it affects everyone. Anyone close to someone who has an addiction is likely to have developed their own coping mechanism and may also have developed their own unhealthy behaviours in response to the stress, worry and uncertainty of being around addiction.
It’s not unusual for people who care about someone who is suffering an addiction to have become used to trying to control, protect, defend or change them. Understanding this and letting go of feelings of guilt, addressing anger, upset and hurt, will all be beneficial to everyone.
Our programmes include family conferences due to this and we’re happy to signpost you to further support.
Mandy manages our admin, HR and finance functions here at Delamere. Find out more about Mandy on our team page.
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