Residential rehab is generally the most effective way to deal with a serious problem like addiction. The fact that you ‘live in’ as a resident at the rehab centre has a number of advantages compared to outpatient or community-based programmes. Firstly, it takes you away from the people and places, triggers and temptations associated with your drinking or drug use.
You will have round the clock care and support from a dedicated team of clinicians and recovery professionals. You will have access to a medically supervised detox clinic and will be able to participate in a structured and personalised treatment programme with no interruptions.
The very fact of going away for quite a long period – rehab programmes will often last for 28 days but may be shorter or longer depending on a number of factors – can be daunting, however. You may feel isolated at first and you might naturally be wondering if you can have visitors in rehab or visit a loved one as they undergo treatment.
Rehab centres tend to have a number of rules and regulations regarding visitors during a treatment programme. These rules can vary from one rehab to the next but in general you should be able to visit a loved one in rehab.
That doesn’t mean you can visit at any time or have free access. There may be times during the stay when visiting is discouraged or outright not allowed, such as during the first few days while the resident is settling in, or during parts of the detox process. There may also be certain times during the therapeutic part of the rehab programme when the therapist working with the resident will decide that a visit form a particular person – or anyone at all – might not be in the client’s best interest.
This could be because they are working through a particularly delicate part of their therapy dealing with the root causes behind their substance misuse, for example. Families and other relationships can have very complex dynamics at play and the therapist will make any judgement or decision based on what they deem to be the best interests of the person in recovery at that time. If you are asked not to visit at a particular time, try not to take it personally. Some contact with certain family members might also be better done in a structured and supervised environment such as family therapy.
Visits from some people might not be deemed beneficial or appropriate at any time. These could include problem drinkers or drug users who are not trying to address their substance misuse and people with whom the resident has a particularly poor or problematic relationship.
Even when visiting is allowed there are likely to be set visiting times, just like you would expect at a hospital, care home or any other residential facility. Rehabs are not prisons but they do tend to be very structured places as routine and structure can have a beneficial effect on recovery, as well as ensuring the drug or alcohol treatment programme itself can be delivered in the most efficient way.
For out of hours contacts, most rehabs will allow personal electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones – although others may have stricter rules asking residents not to bring them at all, or restricting use to certain times. While treatment programmes will be very regimented, there will be designated free time when you may be able to text, message, call or video call instead of visiting face to face.
It is likely that you will need to book an appointment to visit, even during set visiting hours. Therapists will want to know who is coming in to see their clients and the facility as a whole may need to restrict numbers to reasonable levels. Again, the arrangements can vary so check with the rehab to make sure you know what you need to do to book a visit.
It almost goes without saying but the most obvious things that you absolutely should not bring on a visit to rehab are drugs and alcohol. On rare occasions, residents who are struggling may ask a friend or other person to bring them some of the substance they are addicted to and this is the absolute worst thing you could do.
There might even be things that have not occurred to you could be problematic, like toiletries containing alcohol and non-approved medications.
Some places will have restriction son food and drink, as a strong nutritional programme is seen as a key part of the recovery process.
Another thing you shouldn’t bring with you is a negative or judgemental attitude. People in recovery are there because they want to get better and may be dealing with a lot of difficult things – both due to the lingering effects from withdrawal and to issues they may be exploring in therapy. While in rehab, people are often encouraged to live in the moment, so try not to put too much focus on what they will do when they leave.
People other than family may be encouraged to visit if their doing so is seen as beneficial or at the least not counter-productive. Visits from partners, friends and even colleagues can all have a positive impact but again, the therapist will provide recommendations on who should and shouldn’t visit.
One aspect of treatment that may be offered is family therapy. As mentioned, families can have very complex dynamics and relationships at play. These can be even more complex and difficult when substance misuse and addiction is added to the mix. Sometimes it can be useful to explore these dynamics in a guided way with the help of a neutral, experienced person like a therapist.
If you have any queries about visitation or any other part of the rehab process, contact us today for completely confidential help and advice.