How To Support a Loved One In Rehab

When a loved one enters addiction treatment it can be a big relief. However, it can also be nerve-racking for families and friends to know how to help. Here are some things to keep in mind when a loved one decides to start recovery.

Educate Yourself About Addiction Recovery

Addiction is a chronic disease. Just like other serious illnesses, addiction can be devastating for the person afflicted as well as the individual’s loved ones. It’s also not something that is easy to understand, which often causes people struggling with addiction to feel ashamed, and frustrates people around them who can’t comprehend why someone would engage in such harmful behavior. 

While addiction is not curable, it is treatable. It is never too late for someone to begin recovery and put their life back on track. You can take the time to explore resources for loved ones that are available through the treatment center. This will help you gain a better understanding of addiction and the path to recovery.

Encourage Them to Complete Addiction Treatment

When someone enters rehab, addiction specialists often recommend removing distractions and letting someone focus on their recovery. Part of this involves limiting outside contact. During medical detox, patients are restricted from speaking to anyone outside the facility. However, a Family Counselor will contact you upon entry and later provide updates. After detox, patients and their families are usually free to contact each other.

Showing your support and encouraging your loved one to complete treatment is vital. Research shows that to significantly reduce or stop compulsive drug or alcohol use, most people need at least 3 months of treatment. Families are also encouraged to attend family therapy sessions, which can help your loved ones’ long-term success as well as provide you with the skills and tools to support them. 

Be Supportive When Treatment Ends

When a loved one returns home after completing addiction treatment, they’ll need continued support to maintain sobriety. A supportive network and aftercare program should be in place. This type of support may include: 

  • Encouraging them to join a peer support group like a 12-step program or something similar. 
  • Attending events celebrating milestones in your loved one’s sobriety. 
  • Being a part of family therapy if needed.
  • Removing any drugs or alcohol from your home.
  • Planning activities that do not include drugs or alcohol.
  • Taking care of yourself. Loving someone that struggles with addiction is hard and, if you’re not careful, can cause depression and anxiety. Al-Anon and other support groups are available.

Recovery is a lifelong journey and relapse is often a part of recovery. Know the signs of relapse so you can help get your loved one back on track if they are struggling.

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