When you have a close friend or family member who struggles with addiction to drugs and alcohol, you might be at a loss for what to do once they enter rehab. Chances are good you’ve spent weeks, months or even years waiting for them to finally decide it’s time to deal with their substance abuse issues, and that can leave you with a host of conflicting emotions.
You may want to take a break and completely cut off all communication while they’re working through their treatment program. You also might want to know how they’re doing, encourage them and keep the lines of communication open so they know they’re loved and supported. Whether or not you decide to contact your loved one while they’re in rehab is entirely up to you, but if you do choose to keep in touch, it’s important to understand that most treatment centers have rules and restrictions around phone calls for patients.
The amount of outside contact our patients here at FHE Health can have varies with each stage of rehab. Here’s what you need to know about contacting your loved one, what you can expect and the reasons behind the restrictions on calls during our detox, residential treatment, and outpatient partial hospitalization (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP) at FHE.
Contacting a Patient During Detox
Our medical detoxification program is a highly structured and closely supervised environment that gives patients the medical and psychological care they need to safely detox off of alcohol, opioids, cocaine, heroin or any combination of prescription and street drugs.
While your loved one is in detox, they may be dealing with a number of difficult challenges. They could experience a wide range of uncomfortable physical detox symptoms that could make them feel quite ill, but they will also be confronted with the flood of emotions that are an inevitable part of getting sober.
During detox, it’s common for outside contact to be restricted in order to give the patient time to focus on themselves, their wellness and their goals once they enter the next stage of rehab. In some cases, patients may even be placed on a temporary “blackout” — a short period of time during which they aren’t allowed to have any outside contact except in an emergency. This is something that would be discussed during intake and clearly communicated with the patient and their loved ones.
Family Contact During Residential Addiction Treatment
Once your friend or a family member has completed their detox protocol and moved into residential treatment, they’ll spend the next 21 to 90 days or more working hard to address the root causes of their addiction. Their days will be highly structured and filled with programs, classes and therapy sessions that are designed to help them learn the skills they need to understand their addiction, take responsibility for their own actions and start their recovery journey.
During the residential treatment component of the FHE program, we schedule set times daily for patient phone use so our patients can interact with friends and family members. It’s important to understand that at this point in the rehab process your loved one will be focused on their own healing and recovery. They may come across as being disinterested in you and your family, or they may even choose to opt out of making phone calls for a while.
We also offer family workshop classes during treatment where patients and their loved ones can meet together with a therapist to deal with conflicts, address concerns and learn how to resolve issues related to the addiction.
Contacting Friends and Family During Outpatient Treatment
Following completion of our inpatient treatment program, patients transfer to our outpatient addiction care program, which includes our partial hospitalization program and our intensive outpatient program.
At this stage of rehab, your loved one will have access to their own personal phone, and they’ll be free to make and accept calls whenever they aren’t participating in a class or session. Keep in mind that our outpatient patients continue to maintain a full, structured schedule, so the amount of time that’s available for outside contact may be somewhat limited.
Respecting Boundaries During Rehab
One of the most common questions we’re asked by friends and family members of our patients here at FHE Health is whether they should reach out to their loved ones in rehab or simply wait for the patient to contact them.
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question.
Addiction is a complex disease that affects everyone close to the addict, and it often involves conflict, unhealthy communication patterns, and negative behaviors. While your loved one is in treatment, they’ll be expected to identify the complex factors that led to their substance abuse, and they’ll also be learning new ways to manage their emotions and interpersonal relationships.
For some patients, working on their issues during treatment means they need space and time away from their outside lives, and that includes taking a break from their family and friends.
If your loved one chooses to take a break from talking with you during treatment, it’s important to know that their desire for distance doesn’t mean they’re pushing you away, rejecting your support or even blaming you for their problems. It simply means they’re making the most of their time in treatment by focusing on themselves, their issues and what they can do to be successful once they leave rehab.
Need More Info About Contacting Your Loved One in Rehab? Call Us
If you’re looking for information about how you can help your loved one while they’re in treatment for addiction issues, call us here at FHE Health. We know that substance abuse and addiction impact the entire family, and we’re committed to providing support to everyone through our cutting-edge, research-based addiction and mental health recovery programs.