May 26, 2022

The Guide on How to Support a Loved One in Rehab

The recovery process is hard for both the affected individual and their family. Whether the sufferer opts for an inpatient rehab or an outpatient recovery program, they need support from their loved ones.

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Table of Contents

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Susana Spiegel

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Last Update on July 5, 2023

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Supporting a Loved one in Rehab

Substance abuse  affects a massive part of the globe. According to a report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), over 36 million people suffered from substance use disorders in 2021, which is 30% higher than in 2009. Another report shows that only 1 in 7 people affected by substance use disorders receive treatment.
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Understanding the Big Picture 

The recovery process is hard for both the affected individual and their family. Whether the sufferer opts for an inpatient rehab or an outpatient recovery program, they need support from their loved ones.

There are many things that families have to worry about when an individual enters a rehab, such as finances, childcare, and contacting the loved one throughout the treatment.

If someone you care about has decided to enter rehab, you must take definite steps to support them. When a loved one enters rehab, family members and friends experience a flurry of emotions.

Individuals affected by substance use disorder themselves experience a roller coaster of emotions when they plunge.

Entering an inpatient rehab program can be more daunting as the patients have to stay away from home for an extended period.

You can do many things to make the recovery process a bit easier for your loved one. Here are some common things that you can do to support them in rehab:

Avoid Blaming Your Loved One 

It’s natural for family members or friends to feel angry, hurt, or betrayed when a loved one deals with a substance use disorder.

The best thing that you can do to support your loved one in recovery is to ditch the blame game and not take their condition personally. You must understand that whatever happened was not done to hurt you.

Some people blame themselves for the condition of the loved one with substance use disorder. You need to understand that wondering what you could have done to prevent this will not help.

Educate Yourself About Substance Use Disorders

The best way to empathize with and help a loved one in rehab is by educating yourself on substance use disorders. Substance use disorders are complex and multifaceted.

You can be more supportive of your loved ones you understand everything about their condition, from the signs and symptoms of the disorder to the recovery process.

There are plenty of books, websites, and videos on the internet to help you with this. You can also participate in family psychoeducation sessions to make yourself better equipped to support your loved one.

How to Offer to Help Your Loved One

The stress of leaving behind important responsibilities can negatively impact the treatment of your loved one. Regardless of what kind of rehab they are in, they will need your help with chores and other practical responsibilities.

Ask your loved ones if they need help with babysitting, housekeeping, shopping, pet sitting, or childcare. Individuals in inpatient and outpatient rehab programs are likely to need help with their daily responsibilities.

By shouldering the day-to-day activities of your loved ones, you can alleviate their stress and help them focus on recovery.

Attend Family Days and Workshops

There are many ways to get involved in the recovery process of your loved one. In addition to getting family psycho-education, you must also attend all family days and workshops.

Treatment centers invite families now and then to hang out at the facility. While family days are mostly devoted to spending time with loved ones, there may be therapy sessions. By attending family days, you can show your loved ones that you are there to support them.

Rehab centers also organize family therapy drug rehab programs and family psycho-education sessions to help family members deal with their emotions while a loved one is in recovery.

Stay in Contact, Build Connection 

Staying in contact with your loved ones will help you keep track of their progress. It will also show them that you care about their recovery.

If your loved one is in inpatient rehab, keeping in contact with them will help you look for any changes that may indicate a relapse.

You must also always be available when they need someone to listen to them. However, you don’t have to be the sole source of support for them. You can ask other family members or friends to check in with the loved one in rehab.

Encourage them through letters, phone calls, care packages, and visits.

Knowing that they have the support of their loved ones goes a long way in recovering people with substance use disorders.

Most rehab centers do not allow phone calls during the initial phase of the treatment. However, patients can receive phone calls from family members after they have passed the withdrawal phase successfully.

Sending them care packages and letters is one of the best ways to encourage them during the program.

Communicate With the Treatment Team, if Possible

Often, family members disappear after sending a loved one to a rehab facility. To fully support your loved one, you must contact their treatment team.

They’ll provide you with input on their recovery. You can use that input to help your loved one navigate life without drugs and alcohol when they get back home.

Keep in mind, you need permission to speak with any medical or clinical healthcare providers about your loved one’s treatment. If being able to communicate with your loved one is important to you, it’s best that you ask them to sign a medical release granting you permission. 

If your loved one does not wish to grant you this type of access, respect their decision. Sometimes, rehab brings up difficult traumas and secrets that your loved one may not want you to know. 

How to Get a Family Member Back into Rehab

People with substance use disorders are often not ready to enter rehab. They’ll do everything to avoid rehab, from emotionally blackmailing the family to pretending they are not dependent on the substance.

An intervention is needed when an individual affected by substance use disorder refuses to enter rehab.

It’s better to hire a professional interventionist as they can perform the job better due to the absence of any emotional connection with the individual. You can also perform an intervention with the individual’s close friends and family members.

After the individual with substance use disorder agrees to enter rehab, you should immediately choose a rehab facility and get them admitted.

The rehab center can also recommend an inpatient program based on the condition of your loved one.

Regardless of what program your loved one enters, make sure you are there for them every step of the process.

Sources

[4] UNODC World Drug Report 2021

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Author & Reviewers

susana spiegel recovery writer and SEO expert
RECOVERY WRITER & ADVOCATE

Susana is a recovery writer and advocate with over 8 years in addiction recovery. She is passionate about sharing accurate and helpful information about mental health, addiction, and recovery. She holds a Bachelor’s in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University and has over 7 years of working in the addiction field. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director
CLINICAL DIRECTOR & REVIEWER

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges; he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues.

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